Take a look at one of the world’s rarest instruments.
The Octobass, originally produced in France in the 1850s, is a giant version of a double bass and can often be over twice the size – usually requiring two players to operate the behemoth string instrument. Its lowest note produces a tone of 16Hz – below the level of human hearing and is played using a platform, two bows and a combination of foot and hand powered levers due to its sheer size.
Since the original, only a few replicas have been produced and most have been kept in museums, but a German luthier recently took over a year to build one having been commissioned by the Only Connect festival in Oslo, Norway. Guro Moe, a bassist and one of Norway’s most respected improv composers, has given a demonstration of how to play the four metre high Octobass ahead of her performance at the avant-garde music festival in June.
Here’s what Guro Moe had to say about the impressive instrument:
‘The overtones it can produce are so heavenly rich – It feels very much like a thunder storm playing the low C and G with two bows! The overtones this monster creates enriches the whole sound in a way I was not prepared for.”
The Only Connect festival runs from 4-6 June – check it out here.