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Getting into Classical Music

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by d8g3jdh, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    Ok, so I want to start getting outside of my realm of rock and metal, and I think I want to start learning about Classical music next, stuff like Mozart, Beethoven, etc. I was wondering if anyone could offer me some advice as far as songs, places to learn, resources, etc. Really just any information about classical music as it relates to the bass.

    And if I've mislabeled either classical music or Beethoven/Mozart, then forgive my ignorance, I'm only 17.
  2. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    I suggest listening to Wagner if you're into Metal.

    Also, I got started listening to classical by listening to the soundtracks of my favorite movies. Bach has a lot of dark and brooding songs. I love it.

    Also, if you like stuff like that, there's a classical compilation cd called Classics from the Crypt...I definitely recommend it as a primer.


    You can take a listen to the songs here..
  3. I too am doing the same thing. I'm taking a class at college about Classical Music Appreciation. I find that a lot of times I get bored with it, but something to keep in mind is the historical context in which the music took place. When you look up composers and start listening to their stuff, get a little bit of background information about when it was composed and where, as well as a general overview of the composer's life. If you understand the society in which they were living, I find that it gives me a much better appreciation for what they were doing. If you look up the main classical periods such as romantic, baroque and all that good stuff you can learn about how they were new and cutting edge compared to the previous period. I don't know that many names aside from the big guys, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Vivaldi and all them, but it's something to keep in mind whenever you're listening to classical music. Hope it helps.
  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Listen to a lot of NPR. They tend to play the "chestnuts" ad infinitum, so you'll pick up on what's what after a few listens.

    This NPR program, in particular, is aimed at educating classical neophytes:

  5. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    If you're in to metal check out the Paganini Caprices. I've got a copy of a Itzhak Pearlman playing. There probably some of the most complex violin pieces there are. As far as bass Domenico Dragonetti was the super star I believe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domenico_Dragonetti I haven't heard any of his pieces played but I think there's probably some discussion on that in the DB section.
  6. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    Aaron Copland, the composer, wrote a book years ago, called "What to listen for in Music". Amazon has it.

    An excellent introduction to Classical Music.
  7. Diego


    Dec 9, 2005
    San Francisco, CA

    +100. GReat book IMO

    Also I would recommend studyng Bach's suites for unaccompanied solo cello in the bass.
  8. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Lots of good suggestions already.
    There's got to be a "Classical Music for Dummies" book (no offense)! :D
    Also, I'd recommend giving a listen to the ballet "The Rite of Spring" by Igor Stravinsky. (Original name: "Le Sacre du Printemps.") It seems that a lot of rock people have gotten into classical orchestral music via this piece, mainly because it has awe-inspiring, seriously primal rhythmic power and some incredible dissonance. (There are some places where different sections of the (enormous) orchestra are playing stuff that's distantly related, harmonically, and they crash into each other in slow motion.) It also has incredible beauty, though.
    There's an interesting history to it, too-- at the premiere in Paris in 1913, it provoked a riot, literally.
    My favorite recording of it is the one by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa.
  9. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    The Firebird Suite is another cool one by Stravinksy who influenced non other than Frank Zappa.
    Also check out Rachmaninoff's prelude in c# minor. It's awesome.
  10. Bach is another good composer to listen to...he wrote a lot of pieces for low-end strings IIRC

    although my favorite classical music composer is Erik Satie
  11. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Listen to anything that sounds good to you. Try everything.

    Here's a list of my "can't live without favs"

    Bach- Cellos Suites (there are 6 of them not just the one famous one) Brandenburg Concertos 2,3 and 6. Both the violin concertos.

    Mozart- Symphonies 29, 35, 40, 41. And if you want to hear one of the most perfect harmony "Ave Verum Corpus" its only 46 measures long and if anyone can do better, they have it made in music.

    Haydn - Symphony 104

    Beethoven - Symphony 3, 5, 6, 7, 9. Piano concerto #3. Violin concerto

    Schubert - Symphony 5, 8, 9. Schubert wrote hundreds of songs but only a few are still famous outside of the vocal art community.

    Brahms - Sym 1, 2, 3, 4. Piano Concerto #2. Haydn Variations. Violin concerto.

    Mahler - Sym 1, 3, 4, 5 Mahler believed that each symphony should be a world. He comes pretty close to pulling that off. Amazing music.

    Ives - Sym #4. Three Places in New England. 2nd Orchestral Suite. Very emotional music, very different.

    Stravinsky - All three of the Ballets. Firebird, Petruska, Rite of Spring. Each is very different from the others. All are fantastic, very visual music.

    Holst - Planets.

    Harrison - Symphony #3.

    Copeland - Appalachian Spring.

    Bernstein - West Side Story Dances. Age of Anxiety.

    Lets get a good list going here.
  12. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    Wicked list Basschuck, thanks.

    But where could I get some transcriptions of this? Sheet music, so that I can get off my butt and learn it. Or is it that hard to learn by ear? What should I do?
  13. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Buy a classical fake book. You'll only get the themes and chord progressions but it's definitely worth it.
  14. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City

    A truly good music store should have some composer anthologies. I have all of Brahms Symphonies in one volume, for example. Full scores,not like a fake book.

    You can learn by ear, but the dynamic is very different. Years ago I learned part of Copland's Appalachian Spring. The phrases and melodies were not that tough, but he changed keys very, very often, same patterns, but in different keys. Very good for the ear.
  15. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Dover Press has a lot of scores and I've seen them in the chain bookstores (Barnes and Noble, Borders etc or check Amazon). A lot of public libraries have scores for loan (and just a quick trip to Kinkos and, well..... ). Do a Google for Luck's music and you'll find a lot.

    As for playing along by ear that's a great way to learn all kinds of things. But, as noted they change keys often... very often. So if you are jamming with a classical recording, you'll be well served by getting away from 'scales' and key centers and listening for intervals. Great training.

    Oh yea... one really fun thing to do is get in touch with Luck's music (or Shar's music) and you can buy the bass parts for a lot of these recordings, and play along that way. Great fun, and wonderful training for reading. Also... you will gain a great appreciation for what DB players do in orchestras. Just be aware that tempo is a VERY flexible item in classical performances.
  16. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    love the Ives quote in your sig, BassChuck, Chuck Ives has been a big fave of mine for awhile. I even do something that is close to what he did for a living. A few years back I finished up the "Three Places in New England" tour when I got to the "Housatonic at Stockbridge", after having done St. Gaudens, and living not too far from Putnams Camp.
  17. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    I dig plenty of classical music, and my favourite by far is Chopin. If you like piano at all, get ahold of his work. Some of his more popular songs include "Waltz No. 7 in C sharp minor" and "Funeral March".

  18. predmachine


    Feb 23, 2006
    BassChuck---Man, you have unsuspected depth! Excellent!

    For Metal, I too recommend Stravinsky, especially Le Scare du Printemp (The Rite of Spring). My personal tastes run to the 20th Century and a lot of people don't like the dissonance, but if you're into Metal, it might just be up your alley. I'd recommend the Six Sting quartets by Bartok, especially the fourth. You might get a kick out of a lot of John Adams (a contemporary composer). For the really far out stuff---and this stuff makes Frank Zappa solos sound like Fisher-Price music--- try some Schoenberg or Ligeti or maybe even some George Crumb(especially Black Angels). My personal favorite, of all composers, is Anton Webern (even Stravinsky liked Webern and he very rarely paid complements to others). Much of this music is very chromatic, but if you listen carefully to every single note, it'll rip your mind apart like a claw hammer. If you can apply this stuff to your own music, you be the coolest bass player around.
  19. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    I'll second Chopin. A lot of the themes from his mazurkas and waltzes sound great on bass and aren't hard to pull off (unlike his polonnaises). To make a very general statement, opera arias are an easy place to start if you want to try playing classical stuff on bass... both the bass part and the voice melody.
  20. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    +1 i'm taking music history right now at college and although the class is pretty lacking (i mean i do go to a SCIENCE school afterall :p ) it still has introduced me to many composers

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