what's up loyal listeners?<P>EJA... i have to agree with Nicole, what you saw was more likely than not, a C-extension. the link Nicole posted shows a side view, which looks pretty different from what you would see sitting in the audience. in order to corroborate, i'll have to start with a little history lesson...<P>the double bass started out as a five string instrument, doubling the low c of the cellos (one octave lower). that's why in a lot of classical to late romantic stuff there's low c's (and everything between c and e) in bass parts. however, the tremendous tension that this created would eventually cause instruments to collapse (basically implode), so the bass was a three string instrument for a while, before settling on the more standard four string version (tuned in fourths) that we know today. this presented a problem though, becuase there were all of these orchestral parts that called for the low c, so instrument makers devised the c-extension, which is just that... an extension of the fingerboard allowing the e string to run back a few more inches and vibrate a low c (again, one octave lower than the cellos... the double bass is actually a transposing instrument, or more specifically a doubling instrument because all of the notes the player reads sound one octave lower than written). anyway, there are two types of extensions... fingered extensions: which have a flat piece of fingerboard and a device at the nut (the normal end of the fingerboard) to close off the string at the low e. mechanical extensions: like the one you probably saw EJA, they have mechanical "fingers" at every half step between e and c. the player presses keys just around the nut that trigger the different mechanical fingers. <P>the orchestral parts that call for notes below the standard low e assume that the player has a whole other string to play on and require a facility that could not be met by detuning the low c. most instruments are also a little too "touchy" to take that kind of fluctuation in tension. if you've ever seen or heard a bass bridge snap, you'd know what i'm talking about... there's few instruments in the percussion section that can make an explosion that loud.<P>anyway, i digress. i hope that rambling response approached something like a useful answer.<P>davec<P>p.s. just for the curious... if you want to hear exactly what that low c sounds like, check out the first movement of Mahler's 2nd.
dc<P>"The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity."<BR>-Glenn Gould