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Simandl "white" book

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by Andy Mopley, Dec 26, 2017.


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  1. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    For some reasons (unbeknownst to me, hence the question) Simandl Book II doesn't seem to get a mention as much as the first one, and there are many other methods that people refer to (eg Petracchi) when dealing with the higher positions. Is there a reason why people don't use book II as much or prefer other methods to it? I own both, but I must admit I have rarely looked at book II.

    Regards to all
     
    damonsmith likes this.
  2. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    I have it. I am going to crack it open again. The notation is not the most efficient for what I remember. Petracchi is much faster and more updated - there is a reason it is called "Simplified Higher Positions". The Simandl would make you a great player, that is for sure. To be honest, I found it too difficult for the return - it was about as tough as playing Bach at pitch, so I focus on that when I need a challenge at that level. I am going to check in and see what I think now.

    The actual white book, 30 Etudes is fantastic and really gets the low end in shape!
     
    bskts247 and RRR like this.
  3. DrayMiles

    DrayMiles

    Feb 24, 2007
    East Coast
    I own the book...

    I also have the Petracchi book as well...

    I'm going through the Petracchi and when I have time, I'll go through Simandl II.
    Look bro, when you're busy, you get to the stuff when possible. If you're working, the
    first few positions is enough to work. I'm interested in the entire neck, so I've got a multitude of
    books, but I would be happy playing in tune more consistently in the lower positions first...

    The higher stuff is a work in progress...
     
    RRR likes this.
  4. ILIA

    ILIA

    Jan 27, 2006
    You don't hear as much about Simandl Book II because it is not as satisfying in terms of feeling like you are making progress. Petracchi's Simplified Higher Technique really hammers home the upper register positions (as well as solidifying the lower positions) in a very efficient manner, if practiced properly. The problems with using Simplified Higher Technique instead of Simandl Book II, is that it is very abstract and very mechanical in its organization and approach (& as a result are often not practiced properly). In other words, the Petracchi's method is written completely outside of a musical context. It is pure programming of the muscle memory of finger spacings and execution. It's bass calisthenics. If you use Petracchi's book, you have to use it with highly critical ears, but many don't. So many people mindlessly blast through the Petracchi exercises without realizing they are playing sloppy and out of tune and are cementing the finger spacings & motions that only make one play out of tune & sloppy. That's because the abstract structures are hard to hear because they are completely devoid of musical context. Yet, these same people feel like they are progressing. I've seen the same sad phenomenon with a few of the exercises from the third Nouvelle Technique. Simandl Book II is written within musical context, so there are intonation guideposts, but the technical demands are so damn hard, that it seems easier to use the Petracchi. In the end, for many people, the Petracchi seems to give more return for the investment of time. And it can, if used properly. What I fear, though, is that for those many people, they aren't really listening to the out of tune sloppy playing that is coming out of their bass, even though they think they are progressing. Now I know the same can be true for the Simandl II users, but at least with the Simandl II, the musical context of the exercises, have a better chance of alerting the player to their crappy playing. And perhaps, that is why Simandl II is not too popular. It is certainly not a feel-good textbook for learning the upper positions. BTW, Simandl II, Simplified Higher Technique, and Nouvelle Technique III were all part of my training. I can't imagine myself not ever having gone through one of them. Give Simandl II an honest work-through, since you already own a copy. I think you would gain something, even if it may not feel like it at first.
     
    RRR, Les Fret and DrayMiles like this.
  5. neilG

    neilG

    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    Simandl is abstract and mechanical, and Petracchi is not?
     
  6. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    The best Petracchi exercise is thirds and seconds. Easy enough to hear and not un-musical. I am a big defender of Simandl, however Book II lacks the strength and simplicity of book I. Any method in a vacuum is just not enough. The Petracchi positions when applied to scales arpeggios and actual music are extremely solid and do simplify the process.
    Still, I plan on revisiting book II!
     
    DrayMiles likes this.
  7. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    I agree both Simandl book 1 and Petrachi are mechanical. Book 2 is less mechanical. But there lies the essence. When you are on that level there are much better and nicer things and compositions that you can play instead like Koussevitzy or Bottessini and so on. They are nicer and just as good for your technique. They don't sound like exercises. My last teacher never let me play those books. Only 'real' pieces. Exactly for that reason. Although I like to play from those books myself.
     
  8. neilG

    neilG

    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    I think it's a problem if you can't make music out of Simandl etudes. They're really square and easy to figure out musically. Personally, I can't stand Bottesini and avoid it whenever possible.
     
    damonsmith likes this.
  9. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    I'm self taught and I've used nothing but Simandl I, all my life. I bought it at the recommendations of several prominent bass players. It was then THE bass bible. At the same time, being incurablely optimistic, I bought Book II. I wore out Book I, and now have a new Japanese edition. However, Book II is still in near pristine condition in my file cabinet. I only used it as a reference for thumb positions and bass/tenor clef questions. It was just too difficult for me to do it justice by my self. Bowing is very difficult without a teacher. Pizzicato was never a problem with me.
    Years later, I was subbing for Gary Newman at the 82 Club in NYC, and I saw he had the Simandl 30 etudes on his stand. Monkey see, monkey do, l bought a copy and found it very helpful. Now, in 2017, you can hear how they are supposed to sound, on YouTube.
    One other very useful book to me as an autodidact was Rhythms Volume 1 & 2. (For all bass clef instruments) by Dr. Charles Colin and "Bugs" Bower. I still have it, too! It was recommended to me by Russell George who said he used it to sharpen his reading chops. It must have worked since he did get a lot of studio work at the time.
    Happy New Year
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
    IamGroot and Gsten like this.
  10. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    I played out of Book II yesterday. It was great for me, I think it is a bit too advanced for beginners. The music is more complex. It is written in a way that suggests an advanced student would be working on thumb position, which was probably true when it was written.
    Now everyone needs to learn TP, I think more simple etudes like in book I and Petracchi are more effective. Early etudes in book I an octave up are even better.
     
    gerry grable likes this.
  11. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
     
  12. Anonymatt

    Anonymatt

    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    30 Etudes' progression is great. I felt a great deal of thought was put into it. The variety of keys and time signatures is good. Just finished it after working through it for a few years. Continuously!
    Just started Book 2 and it's very exciting. Some of it looks hard but I think it's ok if you haven't glossed over the previous materials.
     
  13. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    I just noticed this post. Sorry. I think Anonymatt (see above) sums it up for me re Book II.
    I think the etudes do appear in degrees of difficulty, at least for me. However, I have the feeling that they are not very difficult or challenging for advanced players.
     
  14. oldNewbie

    oldNewbie Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2016
    Question , and not to hijack the thread, so send me away ...
    Are thumb position fingerings from Simandl II still valid ? enough ?
    A join-the crowd background - after a raising-kids etc 20+ year layoff from decent-amateur level, gone back to practicing to eventually play- including new chamber music, for which I'll need something like actual chops. One year later , having finally wedged some real time into my schedule, scales and bowings are almost useable and so also going back to method books. Yesterday I pulled out Simandl II to review harmonics and found among other things due dates of 1983 for some exercises in a teacher's handwriting. I don't usually feel old, but jeez !
    Anyway after Simandl and that teacher, the next one had me working out of Bille with Italian fingerings so I got the impression that Simandl fingerings especially thumb-position were "old fashioned" . So now in the process of re-learning , I'd been guessing that there are new,better, easier, whatever, fingerings and entire new schools. Votes ? Point me to a thumb-position-schools-of-thought thread ?
     
  15. damonsmith

    damonsmith

    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Simandl and Billie are just two versions of the same thing - one is not more modern than the other. Petracchi's simplified higher positions is probably still the best for TP. Book II is OK, but the complexity clouds the issue. The Simandl TP fingerings still work, but there are more options now.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
    oldNewbie likes this.
  16. oldNewbie

    oldNewbie Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2016
    Thanks ! time to get a copy .
     
  17. neilG

    neilG

    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    Almost any fingering could be shown to be "valid" in some context. Some of the approaches in the older books ARE old-fashioned, but you'll still learn something, and there's no rule that says you can't change them. As for new and better, there's really nothing new. You still have to find the best way of putting your fingers down in the right place at the right time, and no single method can teach you that.
     
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