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Thesis on "The Bass as a Solo Instrument"

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Guitarrista, Mar 20, 2003.


  1. I'm currently considering of writing a thesis under this topic and I posted up a thread on:

    Bass Guitar > Miscellaneous > Thesis on "The Bass as a Solo Instrument"

    I was wondering if you contrabassists could also give me some of your wisdom, for I need all the information that I can muster for my research.

    *Are any of you familiar with the solo recordings of Rob Wasserman, David Friesen and Renaud Garcia-Fons just to name a few?

    *Has any of you composed and/or performed solo works for the double bass? If so, how was it like? What did the audience think?

    *Has anyone played with a curved bow before?

    I'm eagerly looking forward to anything you guys have to say. Remember to post your replies on:

    Bass Guitar > Miscellaneous > Thesis on "The Bass as a Solo Instrument"


    Guitarrista
     
  2. Gabe

    Gabe

    Jan 21, 2003
    Is there such a thing as an uncurved bow?
     
  3. Hey Gabe!

    The bows that people play with today are "Italian" bows. Back then before the Classical era, people played with the "German" bow.

    Check out Bach Bogen's website on:

    http://pro.wanadoo.fr/bach.bogen/home-e.htm


    Guitarrista
     
  4. I guess we're boycotting "French" bows today.:D
     
  5. Gabe

    Gabe

    Jan 21, 2003
    Oh, I see. Curved the other way. I was wondering... Thanks for the clarification:)
     
  6. You're right - I forgot!
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    But there should be a disclaimer like - don't dare to disagree in any way, or you will get a load of personal abuse!! :meh:
     
  8. Thanks for that Ed!

    ------------

    I wrote a letter to a local Sydney bass guitarist named Steve Hunter just recently. He released a solo bass album called 'Night People' and is currently finishing an upcomming book on pieces for solo bass guitar. You can check out his site at: www.stevehunter.com


    received on 03/30/03

    I guess if it's a bass guitar, then the guitar element comes more into play for me than if I'm playing bass in a group. It might be worth keeping in mind that the double bass has it's origins in the viol family, whilst the electric bass , although tuned the same and functioning the same in much music, actually has it's origins in the lute family. So the 'lute factor' is more present for me in solo playing. I think the way to go is to play alot, learn about harmony and what kinds of chord voicings work in the low register, hear a personal point of view, and play that.

    received on 04/02/03

    I'm going to finish the book later this year. It's actually going to be a book and disc in conjunction with the Australian Music Center. I don't know if you know or not, but I did an album called 'Night People' a few years ago, it's half purely solo bass and half multi tracked bass. I got a lot of enquiries about sheet music for the solo tunes especially. Only problem was that it was written for, and played on a 5-string bass with a high C string. So what I'm doing is writing 20 short pieces for solo 4-string bass (16 finished) then there will be a book of the sheet music & performance notes etc available for those interested too. I think I'm going to call it,....

    "20 poems for standard bass guitar"

    ..............something like that.

    All the best,

    Steve

    ------------




    On another note, there's also a solo double bass compilation called "A Family Album" vols 1, 2 and 3. The pieces inside are all composed by DBassist performer/composers.

    I found it on www.liben.com/Chamber.shtml#S13.

    When you go to this address, you will see a menu. With this particular topic, you can click on number 13 for 'Double Bass Alone'. There's even free sample pages as well in PDF format to download. Apparently there's also an "International Solo Bass" competition for solo double bass works. I'm not sure though, I still have to investigate on this some more to clarify it. I might also email Double Bassist magazine and ask. Has anyone of you guys heard of this competition?

    As with the solo bass concept, I've talked to a few more people from around Sydney. Now I am fully convinced that 'solo bass' is not as obscure as I originally thought it was. I don't think that I would even call it 'obscure' now because of what I know.

    -Jerome the guitarist

    Ps

    What intervals can a DB pull off with pizzicato in terms of double stopping without sounding too muddy? Are 7ths, 9ths and 10ths used?

    and -

    Why is it that the low(er) register of the cello and double bass sound more "fuller" when played solo over a violin played solo? I was listening to solo works played by Yehudi Menuhin on violin, Yo Yo Ma on cello and Edgar Meyer on double bass. Because of the DB's lower register, does that necessarily contribute to the 'atmospheric' quality of a solo bowed double bass performance? I listen to the DB play renditions of Bach's solo works for violin and cello hearing a monophonic melody, but yet, it sounds so complete and so full. Maybe it's the way the single line melody "implies" a bass and treble part. Is it psycho-acoustics on a horizontal plane (ie, "faking" homophony with just a monophonic line) just like Michael Dimin using psycho-acoustics on a vertical plane (ie faking 13th chords etc on four strings)? Does the low register contribute to this "fullness" when unaccompanied?
     
  9. I also forgot to mention that on www.bassically.net, there's a transcription of Dave Holland's solo arrangement of John Coltrane's "Mr PC" for double bass. The music's part of Cliff Engel's solo bass series.

    -Jerome
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I found that - it looks very good - I shall try playing it - thanks for the link!! :)

    I love that tune and was thinking of suggesting playing it at Jazz class.

    I heard Dave Holland play a solo DB piece as an encore to a concert last year and it was truly stunning - jaws dropping all round the audience and huge applause!!
     
  11. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Dave Friesen did some solo stuff on some of the older albums with John Stowell, I think. I've seen him do it live as well. Nice.

    There's also a pretty stunning Marc Johnson solo thing on the end of the recording that comes with the Sher/Johnson book.
     
  12. With Ed's suggestion, now I realise that there is just too much to actually cover....on both forms of bass instruments. How do you guys feel if I do something along the lines of maybe:

    -An analysis of selected solo bass tracks and their reflection on the solo bass

    -Approaches to solo bass perfomance

    -or anything else you guys can suggest

    The problem is that I still don't know what to focus on, and it's annoying me. As with that "solo bass since Jaco", Ed pointed out that there are DBassists that have out dated him, and their recordings might prove vital. What do you guys reckon with that first topic at the top? It doesn't matter with just sticking only to tracks of original compositions since it's also good to analyse how bassists arrange pre-written tunes for a solo format (ie Manring with Purple Haze, Holland with Mr PC, Dimin with Autumn Leaves, etc).

    As for solo DB albums, I'm attempting to look into =>

    David Friesen: Colour Pool, Paths Beyond Tracing and Long Trip Home

    Dave Holland: Emerald Tears and One's All

    Rob Wasserman: Solo

    Mike Mulligan: Solo Flights

    Barre Phillips: Journal Violone, Call Me When You Get There and Camouflage

    Renaud Garcia Fons : Legendes

    Mark Morton: Thresholds

    and taking selected tracks off them. I still have to check out guys like Glen Moore who have recorded solo, but just as tracks and not full albums. Do you guys think that "An analysis of selected solo bass tracks and their reflection on the solo bass" is the way to go? I need a path to focus on more than anything else. Remeber that I have to start writing this in July, so if this focus doesn't work out, I'll have time to devise another topic to focus on the solo bass.

    And another thing...Since there are some of you who are more familiar with David Friesen's work than me, if I were to ask him questions via email, what would you guys suggest I should ask him? I might take time out from posting on this forum (but I'll still read it) to actually formulate some questions for him.

    Thanks for the help,

    Jerome
    reapercussions@eudoramail.com
     
  13. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    [*Are any of you familiar with the solo recordings of Rob Wasserman, David Friesen and Renaud Garcia-Fons just to name a few?

    I'm late to the game as usual. Anyhoo, I've only recently discovered Mr. Renaud Garcia Fons and am pretty sure that he's an alien. Honestly no one can really be that good. If you haven't heard 'Oriental Bass' or 'Fuera' or his recording with Sylvanna Deluigi, and you value great music and musicianship, then I suggest that you run don't walk to Amazon and purchase them immediately. This guy is simply astonishing. I am not a double bassist but to me this guy's technique is so great that his playing is completely devoid of any effort and you sometime miss the marvel of what he's doing. But the albums are NOT about his virtuoso it's always about the music.

    (Pedro gushing like a schoolboy over RGF.)
     
  14. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Who's this guy "Ed" you guys keep mentioning?
     
  15. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Jeff, don't worry so much about 'Ed' and concentrate on Renaud. You'll be glad you did.
     
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Oh the irony!! :(
     
  17. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Sorry, but my worry must be for Ed.
     
  18. Hey Pedro,

    Garcia-Fons is a freak isn't he. Maybe it's because he plays a five stringer giving his music extra resonance. He's Paganini's double bass counterpart if you ask me.

    I got a letter from Dave Friesen saying that part of the reason to why he plays solo is because back in the day, he just got fed up with other band members not turning up for the gig.

    What happened to Ed anyway guys?
     
  19. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY


    Ed who?
     
  20. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    [Garcia-Fons is a freak isn't he. Maybe it's because he plays a five stringer giving his music extra resonance. He's Paganini's double bass counterpart if you ask me.

    His playing is breath-taking IMO. I sure wish he would come and play in the 'States'.