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Interpretation of Dragonetti

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by Dragevitzky, Dec 1, 2002.


  1. In the 8th bar after the Solo Bass comes in (the beginning of the Dragonetti Concerto, movt. 1, where there is a broken G chord), I've always been taught to play this on the G-string. My Instructor (member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic) and so does Gary Karr play it this way. But I DON'T like it. Although it is the easiest way there are atleast two other ways that are more clean and clear.

    The FIRST suggestion is to finger the "B" with first finger on the D-string. You play open G, then move to the string to play "B" and harmonic "D" (3rd finger), then play the last harmonic "G". This way your left hand barely has to move and all the notes will ALWAYS come out clear. it's not as much as a guessing game. I will admit that it makes things harder for the bow crossing back and forth.

    The SECOND suggestion is not only the easiest (depends on how advanced you are) but it even looks and sounds more impressive to an audience. You finger the whole chord across all 4 strings and bow across in one easy stroke, looking and sounding like a virtuoso violinist, or a guitarist ripping a chord. Here's what I mean: You place your 2rd finger on the E-string (thumb position, G-note), first finger on A string (thumb position, B-note), then bar the D and G string harmonics (thumb position, G and D harmonic) with the length of your thumb. Then just bow across all the strings. It's easy for the left hand because it doesn't have to move AT ALL and easy on the bow since you just use one bowtake across the strings. My teacher approved of the first one I suggested because the notes came out clear but the second one he didn't because it was more difficult to play the notes all in tune since you have a split second to position the whole thing. I have two advantages over him though. The action on my bass is WAY lower than his so it's easier to press down on the thicker strings at such a relatively high position for them, and I play guitar soI've aquired the skill of fingering chords in a split second...not a problem. I have stuck with the second option I suggested and NEVER have a problem with intonation with it.

    I must say that the knownledge of guitar playing is a big PLUS because you'll learn that many of those chords can be played on the bass. Plus you'll be able to use the finger-picking guitar method on the bass that many Professional Orchestra Musicians lack. Not so much because you don't learn it on bass but because there isn't much (if any at all) music that has this style of playing (finger-picking that is, not chords, chords are EVERYwhere in advanced bass playing). I'll change that!

    So which method do some of you prefer (unless you stick with the original way)? I like playing alot in the higher positions so the SECOND way is my favorite.