Sunday, 29 April 2007

Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog: Bass Video

Originally uploaded by oceanskies79.

There is one blog that I would like to recommend to double bass players and folks who would like to know more about the double bass. It's the Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog. "Jason Heath lives in the Chicago area, USA. He is an active double bass performer, educator, and blogger." (source: Jason Heath's blog)

Do check out the double bass videos that Jason has posted on his blogs. Some videos are simply fabulous. Here's the direct link to these videos:

(Links have been updated on 17 Mar 2008)

Friday, 13 April 2007

Nicholas Hart's post on the Mental Aspects of Double Bass Playing

While I was at Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog, I came across a noteworthy post titled Mental Aspects of Double Bass Playing written by Nicholas Hart, a double bassist from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Here's a quote from the post that I think summarises the essence of the article:

"Basically, when playing, we need to stay as positive as we possibly can. Say to yourself that I am going to play my best and whatever the result is will be just fine. If we can break down that barrier and just play the bass, we will be the best players we can be and as successful as we possibly can."

Read the complete post here: Mental Aspects of Double Bass Playing

Nicholas' post reminded me of the post Yes! on the blog, Hella Frisch. Do check out Yes! too

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Attempting: Bossa Nova

Photo taken at Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, in Mar 2006.

In case you are wondering why d'Bassists have been quiet of late, it is because we are now taking a month's break from our quartet rehearsals. A number of the members of d'Bassists are undergraduates from the National University of Singapore, and since the university's examinations are on their way, it makes good sense to take a break so that the undergraduates can find the time to catch up on their examination preparations and academic demands.

In the pipeline, d'Bassists have planned to rehearse Sentimental Bossa, a double bass quartet by Murray "Doc" Solomon (2002) in about a month's later.

According to the notes found on the scores:
Sentimental Bossa is a tribute to Jobim, King of the Bossa Nova. The melody line starts pizzicato in the upper register and then supported an octave lower by a second bass, while the Bossa rhythm and countermelody are in contrast. The middle portion of the Bossa is arco and legato and lastly, the melody becomes fully developed in a sequential manner...

QH likes listening to Bossa Nova, and I am hoping that she can enlighten me on how I should feel the Bossa rhythm in my bones.

On the side, I have this idea of finding people to dance to our quartet's rendition of Sentimental Bossa if we were to perform this work in public. I think it would be cool to present Sentimental Bossa together with some dance performances. Would anyone like to be part of the dancing team?

It would be nice to have a drummer to play Sentimental Bossa with us too. Won't you think so?

Whatever it is, playing this work, Sentimental Bossa, sounds fun.

Monday, 2 April 2007

The tips our tutor gave us

Photo taken at Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, in Mar 2006.

Some learning points are useful and worth sharing, so I shall post some of these here. To do so, I shall let time unwind to 13 Dec 2006 (Wed):

That day, our double bass quartet was scheduled to have our very first rehearsal after a more-than-one-month break.

As one of the players from our quartet, XM, could not be present yesterday, we had the honour to have our tutor stand in for XM and play with us for the sectionals. I remember that Emily was impressed that our tutor could play and listen to each and every one of us at the same time. In addition, our tutor has to guide us to play as an ensemble.

Our dear tutor gave us helpful tips on how we could practise for the double bass ensemble. Here are some that I have listed down from whatever I had remembered:

1) Practise the accompaniment with the part playing the bass first. The bow strokes and articulation of the accompaniment should be the same. The strokes should be short, light, and clear. The bassline could be louder. The middle parts should generally play light strokes. After the accompaniment and bass are playing satisfactorily, add the solo (melody).

2) Observe the dynamic changes.

3) For works that involve synocopation, practise each section, part by part.

4) Players playing the melody and counter-melody parts should find time to practise with each other and learn to play as an ensemble, without the accompaniment.

The tips may seem simple, yet they require diligence and discipline to practise.