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Orchestral Technique & Method Studies Thread

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by KSB - Ken Smith, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I am starting this thread to compile a list of method books and fingering styles as well as Bow Techniques for the Double Bass student. I myself am still a student after starting slightly over 40 years ago.

    Here's one brief story and my inspiration why I have most recently begun to study again. I played professionally in NY for about 20 years. In that time I had a few private Bass teachers formally. One of them (a top student of John Schaeffer, NY Phil. Prin.) worked mainly with my Bow hand to correct bad habits. After he had left NY for an Orch. Job I found another teacher in the NY Phil.. He said my bow hand was good now and we worked on technique. I also did the Dragonetti, Eccles and a bit on the Marcello. After a few years on and off as our work schedules allowed he told me that unless he trained me through Orchestral Repertoire he couldn't teach me anymore. At that stage I would get up in the morning and play some the Dragonetti before breakfast and some of it from memory. I was at a peak at that time. I will mention that prior to this teacher, another in the NY Phil. turned me down as a student for the same reason as far as goals go. Some teachers would only work with students training for an Orchestral career.

    After retiring in 1988 officially I gave up playing for the most part and eventually sold all my Basses. After a few years I got the bug and bought a new Bass. A few years later I bought 2 more. Then I just had to play. Shortly after I joined a local Orchestra and then another. The music seemed so hard to me as I usually would avoid playing excerpts or pieces that I didn't like. In Orchestra, you have no choice but the play the program they choose for each concert. Now it had me pulling out all my old books and practicing again. I soon realized I had made a HUGE mistake turning down my teachers offer to train me with Orchestral studies. Since playing about 4 years now in 3 Orchestras as well as some chamber groups I have developed a new found respect for the difficulty of playing the Double Bass as it had been intended (Jazz etc excluded).

    Here’s is a list of some of the Books I have as well as methods I know of. Please feel free to discuss these and add to my list. This will become the official TB ' Orchestral Method' thread for the Double Bass. I may also start one on the Regular Technique to discuss the non-orchestral styles of the Double Bass.

    Books and methods; Simandl - Zimmerman, Simandl - Sankey, Simandl 30 Etudes (no available from MMO with CD and Piano), Classical and Modern Duets - Zimmerman, Kreutzer, Storch-Hrabe 57 studies I and II, Sturm 110 studies, Classical & Modern Works Excerpt and Contem. Bow Tech all by or edited by Zimmerman. Modern Methods by Hal Robinson, Eugene Levinson, Tom Gale, Rabbith and New Dutch School by Dalla Torre to name a few.

    I have some more books at my office as I am home now and will list them as well. Please feel free to contribute and discuss any Technique for the Orchestral Double Bass for the Left hand and French or German Bow as it applies regardless of your playing level. I hope the Bow thing doesn't clash with the Bow and Rosin forum.
  2. Machina


    Aug 1, 2005
    For the right hand:
    A contemporary Concept of Bowing Technique for the Double Bass by Frederick Zimmermann (The famous E and A book!)

    Sevcik Opus 2 School of Bowing (Most often used by violins and cellos)

    Both these will whip the right hand into shape.

    For the left hand:
    Flesch Scale System

    A great book for all ranges of the instrument.
  3. Kam


    Feb 12, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN

    As my teacher says, if you can make two strings sound good, it will improve your single note sound by leaps and bounds..
  4. PCPlod


    Sep 30, 2005
    Edouart Nanny: Complete Method for the 4 and 5 stringed double bass, pub: Alphonse Leduc, Paris, 1920.
    Doesn't linger, nice tunes at times.
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    That's a Book I want in my collection. I need some 5-string method books to shed at home with my 5er. Also, I did mention the Zimmerman Bowing book but didn't spell it all out "and Contem. Bow Tech all by or edited by Zimmerman.".. Sorry, was typing alot of titles there in my opening post.
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Machina, can you tell us more about this 'Flesch Scale System' you mentioned?
  7. Machina


    Aug 1, 2005
    Sure thing
    The Carl Flesch Scale System was originally for violins and has been adapted for double bass. I personally use it for daily study. It contains all major and minor keys and presents them one after another. (In other words it has C major and then the next scale is A minor) It starts with the scale, goes through appegs, thirds, chormatic scale, and double stops. It is listed in every octave of the bass (so lower, middle, higher) It then combines the exercises throughout the entire bass (so you can practice transitions from positions.)

    It's quite comprehensive and is an excellent warm up. It has a lot of other exercises with each scale, but I don't have enough theory to explain them to you yet. :bawl:

    Oh yeah Kam, true that! I recently got schooled by this book. I have a date with it all summer long!
  8. Allan Santos

    Allan Santos

    Dec 17, 2005
    Findeisen's technical studies....

  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I just found my copy of 'Giovanni Bottesini' 'method for double bass, part one'.

    Different that Bille but the melodic content of the two point to more Operatic playing than the Prague/German styles of Simandl and his school.
    Luigir likes this.
  10. Francesco Petracchi "simplified higher technique"
    damonsmith likes this.
  11. dannbass


    Aug 5, 2003
    Here are some methods and etudes:

    Pierre Hellouin

    - Treatise on the scales for double bass of 4 and 5 strings
    - Bowing for the double bass
    - Harmonics on the double bass of 4 and 5 strings

    Of course, François Rabbath and his
    - New technique for the double bass ( 3 volumes )

    Eduard Madensky

    - Don't remember the name... but it's about scales and arpeggios

    Barry Green

    - The fundamentals of double bass playing
    - Advanced techniques of double bass playing

    Hal Robinson and George Vance

    - Strokin' Sevcik school of bowing technique
    (I know this has been mentioned before, but let me something about this book, my teacher has this book and it's really good, but when I bought it a couple of years ago from Slava it was not the same. I guess, and I don't know the story, when they stoped working together George edited the book and took all the indications, because the first one is full of bow placements, and really makes the point of how execute every single stroke, which IMHO is a useful way to understand how one can take full advantage of the bow. Well, anyway... that's a shame that the book is no longer like that.

    - The Bass Project: Scales & Arpeggios

    Lajos Montag

    - Nagybögöiskola ( 4 volumes ) It's a good method, because it has the positions, the scale, an etude and orchestra excerpts for each and every one, so it's a good way to integrate the orchestra excerpts.

    Ludwig Streicher
    - My way of playing ( 5 volumes )

    And I'll add more as soon as I remember :p
  12. BGreaney

    BGreaney Guest

    Mar 7, 2005
    also see...School of Ajeeeeeelty.

    haha, this is my 3rd post in like 20 minutes....
  13. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    You not LISTEN what Ken said!!
  14. Anon2962


    Aug 4, 2004
    +1 for Sevcik (i have an edition by Neil Tarlton)

    Also great for orchestral-excerpt-a-like studies is
    Frantisek Cerny: Technical Study for Double-Bass.

    Some excellent studies in there.
  15. BGreaney

    BGreaney Guest

    Mar 7, 2005
    No! Listen to no one I do! People listen to what it is what I say!
  16. sibass89


    Jan 29, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    Jason, you try to make impression of me? I can't hear you. open mouth when talking. You do very bad job...no ageeelity. vibrato have 4 shakes per beat. not convulsion.

    On a more serious note.

    Some etudes I use are Kreutzer and Kayser. There are both violin etudes and have been transcribed for just about every instrument. Most of them are very pretty and all of them have great technical aspects to them.
  17. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    I officially wet myself.

    Etude is fix two things are wrong in playing: the left hand and the right hand.

    You must buy boooook. twenty four ninety five plus shipping.
  18. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    I feel I must make some meaningful contribution to this thread.

    Gary Karr has two (more?) volumes
    Dr. Mark Morton has a number of exercise books

    OK, time for a true Levinson story. (Disclaimer - I greatly love and respect Mr. Levinson. He has been like a second father to me and I'm thrilled to study with him for four more years, this story isn't meant to offend.)

    Up until about 2 months ago Mr. Levinson thought my name was Jason. He got me mixed up with a student he had long ago who apparently looked like me. Anyway last year I asked him to sign my copy of The School of Agility. He asked me how to spell my name and I said
    "J, U..."
    "IS NO 'U' IN JASON!!"
  19. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Sorry your Busy teacher can't remember your name. Some people have trouble calling their own children when they have more than one. It happens so deal with it. He's a great player and teacher so enjoy what you can from him.

    Now, please do not start arguments here. This is a discussion and listing of books and methods. Almost anything goes here with regards to Classical Bass playing but NO Disrespect to or from anyone please. If I have to, I will summon the Mods to delete the posts that need deleting and so on.

    I called my past teacher in NY Lew Norton on the phone a few times and left messages. I just want to say hello and thank him. It has been over 25 years since we have seen each other. He has now once returned my call. I dont' know why but that's just the way is is. It doesn't bother me that much but I can live with it.

    So, talk nice and share your knowledge or lack thereof and lets see what we can all learn, discuss and enjoy here. I go to rehearsal in a few hours playing all Mozart including Jupiter and Majic Flute. Some pieces are with Opera singers or a full Chorus.

    This is the program;
    MOZART, Overture to Cos? fan tutte, KV 588
    MOZART, Exultate jubilate, KV 165/158a
    MOZART, Symphony No. 41 in C major, KV 551, Jupiter
    MOZART, Overture to The Magic Flute, KV 620
    MOZART, Mass in C major, KV 317, Coronation

    Who here has played these with an Orchestra? I am using my Dodd Bass. Thick and plush as can be. Last night with another Orchestra we were doing Vieneese waltzes and stuff when the Condutor stopped and asked if I was playing an Octave lower (low Bb on the A-string and F on the E-string). I said lower? The Bass can't go an octave lower! He was referring the the thick fundamental notes coming from my Bass that he has never heard before in the section as this is the first concert with this Orchestra using the Dodd. So playing nice music is triple nice when the Bass does all the work and sounds so plush..

    Ok, back to topic...>>
  20. bierbass


    Sep 5, 2005
    Knoxville, TN
    Its okay Ken, I think they are joking. It is sort of tongue and cheek. Anyone who has spent any time around Levinson gets it. But you are right, back to the topic...
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    Primary TB Assistant

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