Bottesini Method/Studies

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by Rob W, Mar 9, 2003.

  1. I've finally gotten around to playing through the Yorke Bottesini method books. Every day I do 3 or 4 of the ones from book 1 and then do 1 or 2 from book 2. I like the stuff a lot but I have a few questions...

    Does anyone know if the fingerings included in the Yorke edition are actually Bottesini's?

    I'm also curious if anyone knows if there are any other editions currently available that are more complete and less edited since Slatford removed quite a bit of other material from the method?
  2. Shlomobaruch


    Dec 31, 2002
    Boise, ID
    No, the fingerings are not Bottesini's. The notes are barely Bottesini's. First, Bottesini used Italian fingering, which is 1-3-4 as opposed to Simandl's 1-2-4. Also, the exercises were originally written for three-stringed double bass. Slatford seemingly picked measures at random that could be transposed an octave in order to include the E string, often sacrificing the nature of Bottesini's melodic line. Here's the page with the first four exercises from Bottesini's Method. Compare for yourself. Bottesini's Method So by no stretch of the imagination do the fingerings resemble anything Bottesini intended. Ricordi has published an edition of Bottesini's Method as well, edited by Italo Caimmi, and that one also transposes notes/measures to include the E string, but the changes are much more agreeable. The method is entirely in Italian however, and would have to be special ordered from Ricordi. What's nice about that edition though is that the section on solo playing has the exercises written at pitch. At first I was very grumpy towards the practice, but when you're going into higher and higher registers, it's much easier to see exactly where you are without insane amounts of ledger lines. Well worth getting used to if you ask me.
  3. So I've finally received the Ricordi edition (special order from Italy) and it is in many ways an improvement over the Yorke.

    I do wonder about some of the passages included on the E string howver. It seems that the Ricordi takes a lot of things onto the E string - maybe more than the Yorke.

    The bowings are a huge difference, and not surprisingly. Slatford states in his preface that he changed a lot of the bowings. I think I would prefer to be able to see Bottesini's original bowings and see for myself whether or not they work for me. I'm actually a bit annoyed at Slatford for doing that - I think he did a great disservice to bass players by editing the method so much. It seems that his intent is to present the work of Bottesini in a clean an accurate form but then he completely dismisses the original bowings. Why can't he just present the material as the master originally intended and let us take from it what we will? Surely Bottesini knew a thing or two about playing the bass, no?

    So anyway, Shlomobaruch, or anyone else, how do the bowings in the Ricordi compare to the original if you have a copy? Right now I'm going under the assumption that the Ricordi is closer since Slatford already admitted to changing a lot of them.
  4. Shlomobaruch


    Dec 31, 2002
    Boise, ID
    As far as bowings... I'll compare the two (Caimmi and original) and get back to you.

    As far as Slatford... he thought he was doing a service to the bass community and in many ways he was. Knowing that the method as a whole was basically insufficient to the modern student, he at least sought to bring the exercises to the public. He edited them in a way that agreed with bass pedagogy at the time. The same applies with his editions of Bottesini's solo and concerto literature (also published by Yorke). I'm not sure exactly what the sheet music scene was like in the late-70's, but even today there aren't many other editions of Bottesini's work available. He at least wanted to get it out in a form as practical as possible.

    See another thread I started called "Hack Editions". I've discussed this same issue at length. Namely that when someone comes out with a "practical" transcription of, say, a Bach cello sonata for bass, you at least always have an urtext, or even a cello edition, to refer to for what was changed. When these pragmatisms are exercised on the bass literature, it is often without an urtext widely available and without other editions for cross-reference. Bottesini's catalog is a perfect example of this. There are publishers working to address this issue, but it takes time.
  5. What I would like to is to find his original hand written work rather than trusting all of these "editions".

    A friend told me that alot of Bottesini's footnotes and what not was removed in modern versions.
  6. While the previous fingering/historical critcism's of Slatford's Bottesini method books (vol 1&2) may be accurate, overall I think these two volumes fill a void in providing a progressive melodic method/etudes for the bass player.

    I've used these two volumes succesfully with my students, and I enjoy playing them myself. Melodically, they are beautiful. Technically, they offer the student study in various tonal centers and rhythmic variations.

    You cannot go wrong to have these in your music library, and on your music stand.
  7. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010