22. Big Strings

10 Feb

FACT: Paris, 1850: One of the largest string instruments ever was first produced, the Octobass.

It had the same proportions as the violin but stood at an impressive 3.5 metres(12 feet) in height. Designed to produced low and sustained notes for Orchestras it was built with a stool and a complex series of hand and foot operates pedals and levers to hold down the strings because they were too large for human hands to hold in place. In fact they often required two musicians working together to play, with one operating the levers whilst the other did the bowing.

Due to its immense stature the Octobass can produce the very low note of 16Hz, a note so low that it is beyond the range of normal human hearing. Unfortunately due to often requiring two musicians and its unwieldy size, there were only ever two of them produced.

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Posted by on February 10, 2011 in Trivia


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