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'Newbe' to the bow------

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by mikejdexter, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. mikejdexter


    Jul 9, 2009
    Hi everybody--a few questions from a 'newbe' to the bow. Your expertise most welcome.

    a) Do cello / violinists / double bass players use the same bowing technique?
    b) I notice that cello players seem to use left hand vibrato more than double bass players--is that so?
    c) If you were playing a slow piece of music--say 50bpm--would you tend to use more vibrato than say 100bpm?
    d ) When playing in an orchestra how often do you look at the conductor? How do you manage this by taking your eyes off the music and not getting lost? Try to look at both at the same time? Know the piece before-hand?
  2. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired???

    A. Yes, sort of.

    B. Yes

    C. Yes

    D. 1. Most all of the time.

    2. Peripheral vision.

    3. That helps.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  3. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired???

    Maybe we need Don Kasper to weigh-in here.
    Tom Lane likes this.
  4. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Nope. You're doing just fine without me, Rick.
  5. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    usually....apparently not everyone is a fan of my "biting wit".
  6. slappahdabass


    Feb 16, 2013
    Denton, TX
    A) in a way. The grip is a little different, but cellists and French bow bassists generally go for similar muscle groups for similar bow strokes.
    B) I'd say using less vibrato is a more old school thing. At least myself and most of the bassists I've played for/with/studied under believe bass should be of the same sound as the rest of the strings I.E. using the same vibrato, same part of the bow, same color/tone, etc.
    C) vibrato is a tool to vary tonal/projection intensity. I would use whatever vibrato helped the phrase move forward or close as appropriate.
    D) practice the part plenty beforehand. And the conductor is only there to guide the entire group. You'll get better clues of tempo and style by watching your principal bass, the principal cello, and the concertmaster, which should all be easily visible. Your ears are just as important as your eyes, so it's just as important to listen to many recordings as well before first rehearsal.
  7. slappahdabass


    Feb 16, 2013
    Denton, TX
    TL;DR of my previous post
    A) yes-ish - you can easily watch a cellist and learn a whole lot
    B) defer to your section and upper strings - match them
    C) vibrate as the phrase necessitates
    D) learn your part and listen to everyone else's
  8. mikejdexter


    Jul 9, 2009
    Thanks everybody for your replies---most helpful. Mike.

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