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Recommend solo bass pieces?

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Tom Lane, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2011
    Torrance, CA
    Sorry if this has been addressed before. I'm a jazzer and I'm looking for some classical solo bass repetoire, but there seems to be a lot available with lilttle detailed information.

    I will ask my teacher, but I thought I'd get a set of opinions too, editions, etc. Links to Amazon are particularly helpful.

    I'm an advanced-intermediate player but I don't read the dots very well, though I'm actively working on that shortcoming. My primary motivation to ask is for new ideas for my jazz solos, although I'd genuinely like to learn more of the classical repetoire because I think I'm starting to top-out on playing jazz heads.
  2. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    The Bach cello suites are always great to look at. They are fantastic and can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. There are editions in "bass friendly" keys, typically "up" a 4th or 5th but sounding down the opposite, or you can stick to original keys up or down the octave.

    There is a lot of great Bottesini rep out there ranging from extremely demanding to quite playable for someone who self identifies like you do. Thomas Martin and Joel Quarrington have both extensively covered his works in recordings, so you can have a listen and pick something you like.

    Otherwise, I'm not a big fan of solo bass repertoire. There is a lot of great cello music that can be borrowed, and it's really up to your preference. Several sheet music sights offer "previews" where they typically let you see the first page. That might help you get a sense of what the music is like. Likewise, if tenor clef isn't in your wheelhouse, you will want to find out if the editions you are looking at use it or not.

    Happy hunting.
  3. Tom Gale

    Tom Gale

    May 16, 2009
    I did a short solo piece called "Reflections" and it's FREE! Just go to asodb.org and hit the free downloads. You have to leave your name and address but it's worth it. There is also a nice duet and other stuff.
    Tom Gale
  4. neilG


    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    My favorite place to send people to to peruse music is www.recitalmusic.net. They have a huge catalog of bass music and preview pages for everything so you can check out style and difficulty. There's a lot more to bass rep than Bottesini.
  5. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2011
    Torrance, CA
    Thanks so much, fellows! I'll check out all of your suggestions! I've been making great strides with my arco the past 6 months and would like to try more of the classical repetoire to hone in on nuances.
  6. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Start with Progressive Repertoire for the Double Bass by George Vance, Vol. 1.
  7. jaff

    jaff Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2006
    Capuzzi Concerto for db and piano is something I'm working on. Also the Marcello Sonatas are really nice - especially I in F maj. Rabbath Book II is a nice collection of etudes. The Vance books are great.
  8. In addition to the above solo works, I'd recommend the Simandl 30 Etudes. I consider them the meat and potatoes of bass playing preparation. Once you finish that book, you are ready for anything you'd ever see in a community orchestra, should you ever decide to go that route.
  9. NicholasF

    NicholasF Guest

    Jan 17, 2012
    The Oscar Zimmerman double bass solo book might be good, it should help force you to read
  10. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    Ah yes, the "Pink Book" (previously the "Brown Book"). Highly recommend.
  11. samshreves


    Dec 12, 2011
    If you're looking for a real challenge, check out the Dittersdorf concerto in D Major. You can play it in either Viennese tuning (the preferred tuning, and the one that it was written for; therefore, it will be the easiest in that tuning), solo tuning (played either in D Major (using C major orchestral tuning fingerings) or E major (D Major orchestral tuning fingerings)), or you could play it in orchestral tuning in D Major.
    In my opinion, in any tuning except for viennese tuning, it's an absolute B*TCH to play well. Lots of awkward passages with regards to string crossings in particular. But overall, it's a good challenge and you'll certainly learn a lot from it. Plus, European orchestras require a classical era concerto only (NO bottesini, Kouss, etc.) for their auditions.
  12. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    not entirely accurate. They tend to have two concerto rounds: one where you choose between a few classical concertos (usually dittersdorf and vanhal), and another round where you choose between a late romantic (Bottesini or Koussevitzky).
  13. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    +1 for the Marcello sonatas and I also love the Vivaldi sonatas and Bottesini's Reverie is a lovely piece.
  14. NicholasF

    NicholasF Guest

    Jan 17, 2012
    Reverie might be a little too hard, what no Eccles love? The 1st and 2nd movement are easy and you can do so much with it. You also might want to try the gigue from the 3rd cello suite
  15. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Great piece for practicing (playing the 1st and 2nd movement right now) But not much use playing in Viennese tuning. First of all you will need a 5 string bass and also this tuning is not not what you will use normally. So I would suggest using the normal tuning (solo or orchestral doesn't matter).
  16. neilG


    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    You don't need the 5th string to play these concertos.
  17. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    But still. I see no use for retuning the strings just for this concerto (or any other piece).
  18. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2011
    Torrance, CA
    Thanks again for your generous comments. I'll check out your suggestions and discuss them with my teacher. I'm jazzed! if that's the right word...
  19. Will Yager

    Will Yager Supporting Member

    May 7, 2006
    Knoxville, TN
    All of the suggestions are great, but I would suggest maybe looking more closely at Baroque or Classical literature if you are primarily interested in upping your reading while looking for vocab. The scalar/chordal nature of a lot of the bass rep from these periods makes for easy plugging in over changes.

    My old teacher once reharmonized the first movement of the Corelli sonata for fun. It was pretty hip if I recall.
  20. fatgoogle


    Jun 15, 2008
    The Eccles sonata is fun to start with along with Bottesini's elegy. The Elegy was the first real solo piece i tackled.

    Also get the 6 Vivaldi cello sonata's, there's a book with all six in it, great to work your way through for technique and for making music.