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35

It is because the double bass, essentially, comes from a different family of instruments than the cello, viola and violin. This is a controversial assertion among music historians, as these things evolved continously, but many scholars do not consider the double-bass to be a part of the violin family at all. The argument goes like this: About two ...


25

With long open strings, the span to reach notes especially at the nut end would be too much for a lot of players if it retained the 5ths pattern of tuning. Making the tuning in fourths means that the left hand can encompass three notes in a scale and then move across to the next string in the same hand position. That said, it's not difficult to slide up a ...


9

I can think of two reasons: Bass is difficult enough the way it is. If you were to play it like a cello, you would need a) much more frequent position changes, and/or b) a strong, independent and wide-reaching (much wider than on cello with its shorter scale) pinky. I think most bassists never use the pinky on its own at all (or do they?), because a bass ...


6

The early history (from about 1500 to 1850) of bass tunings are very variable, with anything from 3 to 6 strings and tunings in anything from thirds to fifths. Reference. In the classical period, the virtuoso Domenico Dragonetti played a 3-string bass tuned C G D an octave below the cello, which was more or less the standard instrument that Haydn, Mozart ...


2

Many of the old traditional folk songs originated before the advent of recorded music. Typically folk songs were composed for the enjoyment of friends and family and neighbors with no thought of profiting commercially, thus there was no desire or need to copyright the songs or even write them down. Many folk songs became popular and were transmitted ...


1

The reason for tuning an instrument a certain way is always for playability reasons (and instrument construction/design/purpose). One could certainly make the argument that a particular instrument belongs to a certain family but it doesn't fully answer the question- the same question still applies- why does that family get tuned a certain way. "Just because" ...



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