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It's a simile. There are a few different types of similes and this one means "play the last notated measure again". So in this piece you will end up playing the measure before the simile marks 3 times, then play the next notated measure. It's pretty much a very shorthand way of saying "Play what you just played again".
It is short-hand for "play this measure the same way you played the previous measure". Sometimes it is called the "repeat bar" symbol. It is not particular to music notation for bass. It is frequently found, for instance, in fake-book charts and in notation for the "rhythm section" in jazz, meaning percussion, bass, piano and guitar (with guitar, ...
Use the sustain pedal and get the right hand out of the way. Alternately, you could make the executive decision to drop the B and E in the right hand; given that those pitches are already present in the left hand and will be coming in immediately on the next eighth note, this would be an almost unnoticeable change.
Of course you can. With modern harmonic practice, the underlying harmony can be almost anything you want. Since the melody is related to a minor, this could be relatively simple. If you previously were on an E7 chord and are going to a d minor chord, then you could put an a minor under this melody. Harmonies, though, occur in context. From the three notes ...
Yes, you play with both hands above the middle C. This is quite common for instruments that are written in both clefs, not only in piano. This will help you, because if the bass clef goes really high, it is really hard to read all those extra lines. So, since you are basically in the treble clef, the music usually shifts clefs.
Repeating what everyone else said: that symbol means repeat the last bar. Periodically, there are also ones that mean repeat the last two (or however many) bars. I don't remember off the top of my head what made that one look different, it was very similar, but I believe there was a number printed that helped with that conclusion. They can't just put in ...
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