Beethoven Musical Style

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The Baroque era saw the rise of the violin family and the peak and decline of the viola da gamba. Both families reached such prominence that virtually all other bowed instruments were thrust into obscurity. Early music for the viol was transcribed from vocal music like madrigals, masses, and chansons. These vocal pieces were usually very short and chordal. Progressing into the 17th century fantasias and viol consort music became increasingly popular; the viol consort consisted of 6 viols; two treble, two tenor, and two bass. Eventually the three standard viols sizes were insufficient to keep up with the new trends and as many as six different sizes were created, including the sub bass whose length was about seven feet tall. Musical styles …show more content…
“Before the time of Beethoven the double bass was… invaluable to the ensemble but possessing little individuality. Beethoven… used it for special effects, making it humorous in the scherzo of the Fifth Symphony and notably eloquent in the recitatives of the Ninth Symphony.” During the classical period the bass gained importance in chamber music and became an essential member of the rising secular and ecclesiastical orchestras where it supplied power, weight. Its new role was to provide harmonic movement and a rhythmic foundation while creating a sense of unity in the string section where it often doubled the cello an octave …show more content…
It isn’t until 1920 that most conductors require their bassist to have four strings tuned to E- A- D- G, and only later, that they have a C extension. “The more precise requirements of late romantic composers led to a desire for an instrument that could descend an octave below the lowest note of the cello, not only for new effects, but to satisfy the literal outline in the many passages in the concert repertory which go below C in the cellos.” The C-extension came into use in the late 19th century when it was believed that if the cello went down to the C so should the bass. The apparatus was created to extend the range of the E string down to a C instead of adding a new string to the instrument. The string is extended past the nut up near the scroll and a clamp that was fixed to the extension bar could be snapped on or off to switch between on open E or C pitched string. Mahler himself instead that at least a few of the bass players in his orchestra have this

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