It's interesting. 3 pages of replies on the recent Mahler solo thread, and yet, I did a search and couldn't find a single instance of the word "folk" or "antecedent/consequent". Those would be two very helpful approaches to learning the solo.... My point is, and this is directed to the original poster and all younger students, that you'll encounter many opinions reflecting the mentally inbred attitude that the "bass world" carries towards this solo: the anxiety of exposure, judgment, and self-doubt that come from trying to create music BASED ON WHAT YOU THINK OTHER PEOPLE MAY THINK ABOUT YOU ----- VS ----- A THOROUGH EXAMINATION OF THE MUSICAL UNDERPINNINGS OF THE MUSIC. Most talk about the mahler solo is born of an audition-based world view, and will not serve anyone beyond the myopic microworld of bass auditions. I understand that winning auditions is important, but to the student: do you want to be a well-trained bass-monkey or a musician? I would rather hear Daniel Barenboim 'sight-read' this at the piano than hear Hal Robinson's rendition. Shed all this bullsh1t and take the opportunity to learn about Mahler: His folk-music influences. The fact that this solo is a clear quotation of a children's tune. As such, study his vocal writing - listen to some songs. Even better, his songs w/ orchestral accompaniment (there you have it!). Do you know the words yet? If you're playing a song originally with words - best to learn the words, so you hear the enunciation, the cadences, the breaths, no? If you seek out performative advice, I'd say go to singers, pianists, and conductors, in that order. Why would you ask a segment of the musical population that knows 1 mahler solo phrase, when you can ask a segment that knows many many many mahler phrases? Singers: breath, cadence, enunciation, tone Pianists: see how they deal with antecedent consequent phrases (ask them to play simple Mozart phrases. then listen.) Conductors: to contextualize the solo. It's not about the bass, it's about the symphony. MOST IMPORTANTLY - Do not be afraid to study the solo and develop your own *informed* way of playing it. It's not a license to be a crazyman, but you will stand head and shoulders above most instrumentalists, as an budding ARTIST. ------------------------------------------ From Grove Music: While the term Gesang was already signifying a more artful and expressively naturalistic lyric form, requiring a through-composed and less regularly periodic folksong style to that of the lied (e.g. Erinnerung in volume i of the Lieder und Gesänge), the dominant manner of Mahler's songs is defined by a rhetoric of arch naivety, masking considerable complexity of musical detail and symbolic meaning. Dance forms, serenades, children's songs, military signals and marches contribute to a complex vocabulary of signification in these songs, where stylistic and generic allusion is usually employed in preference to the establishment of a clearly defined and expressively engaged authorial voice [regarding the 3rd mvt of the 1st symphony] the most experimental of the symphony's four movements: an ironic funeral march based on the children's round Bruder Martin (Frère Jacques), whose trio-like interpolations include one of Mahler's most explicit evocations of the Bohemian street musicians encountered in his childhood; the pungent, chromatically inflected orchestral timbre is appropriately enriched (at a point marked Mit Parodie) with a percussion part for a bass drum with Turkish cymbals attached, to be played by a single musician. Only in the symphony's finale does Mahler mobilize all the resources of the post-Wagnerian orchestra in a large-scale dramatic narrative. ------------------------------------------ Don't mull over the minutae too much. Learn the big picture and then fit it in. Or you will end up like a woman who stares at herself in the mirror, trying to pedantically decide if she needs more lipstick here, a little more eye shadow here, oops, (need vibrato on every note!), (Avoid the D String!), and she leaves the house 5 hours later looking like an fvcking space creature. When you're a junior in college, you will have plenty of time to learn this in a non-offensive audition style. Until then, put the bananas down and play music.