Built by the French luthier French luthier Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, Octobass is a massive, enormous bowed string instrument, which we can freely dub” the giant of the instruments.” So, the ” the giant of instruments” Octobass has three strings and is generally an extremely larger version of the double bass. In the collection of Musée de la Musique in Paris, there is a specimen measuring 3.48 meters in length.
The musician plays Octobass using a combined system of hand and foot activated lever and pedals, because of the huge fingerboard length and string thickness.
Octobass is so large that sometimes two musicians work together to play it; one to control the lever and foot pedals and other on the bow.
The instrument has never been used by many composers or produced on a large scale. However, Hector Berlioz, a French Romantic composer was rather fascinated by Octobass and proposed its widespread adoption.
In his edition of Berlioz’s Treatise (Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 318) Hugh Macdonald lists another in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. He also states that Adolphe Sax created an ‘outsize double bass going down to C’ with four strings tuned in fifths.’
The instrument plays so low that human hearing can bearly register when its lowest string is played. In order to play it, a musician must use a footstool because of its massive size.