Wednesday, 27 June 2007

My encounter with L'Orchestre de Contrebasses


Cool music video of L'Orchestre de Contrebasses on stage.

In the year 2000, L'Orchestre de Contrebasses gave two concerts at the Victoria Concert Hall as part of the Singapore Arts Festival 2000. I have had the privilege to be there to listen to them. Their items combine music, visual and stage effects. To get an idea of their original and creative approach to playing the double bass, please check out the above video.

Seven years ago, days before L'Orchestre de Contrebasses gave their concerts in Singapore, it conducted a double bass masterclass at Young Musician's Society auditorium. Almost the all the then-members of the double bass section from our orchestra went for the masterclass. It was an eye-opener for me to listen to them share about their approach to making music on the double bass.

I wonder if anyone reading this blog have attended the masterclass or the concert by L'Orchestre de Contrebasses in year 2000?

Anyway, I have reasons to believe that they have in some way inspired the double bassists from our orchestra, and planted the seeds that would eventually lead to the formation of d'Bassists. If I remember correctly, that year after their concerts, we asked our double bass tutor for music scored for the double bass ensemble and things evolved from there.

Last but not the least, please check out the above video of two items performed by L'Orchestre de Contrebasses. It looks like a cool MTV.

Here's the direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BzaF9TAFlI

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About L’Orchestre de Contrebasses:

Created in 1981 by Christian Gentet, L’Orchestre de Contrebasses symbolises a most original and promising approach to modern musical creativity...

Please also visit the website of L'Orchestre de Contrebasses: http://www.musicaguild.com/odbc/index.php

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Where to buy a double bass in Singapore?

This post attempts to explore the answers to the question: "Where to buy a double bass in Singapore?"

Interestingly, the idea for this post came from a nice gentleman who was one of the members of the audience who attended d'Bassists' performance, Esplanade Presents: At the Concourse: Basso Bravo!

He came for our performance on 30 May 2007 and he took part in the hands-on session. I learnt that he plays the bass guitar, and he is very keen to learn the double bass. During my short interaction with him, I briefly spoke to him on where he could buy a double bass in Singapore.

Without further delay, below is my attempt to list the various places in Singapore where you can purchase a double bass from. This list is not exhaustive nor comprehensive, but I hope it will give people who are interested in buying a double bass in Singapore some clues to start off with. Here goes the list:

Synwin Enterprises
845 Geylang Rd, #03-01 Tg Katong Complex, Singapore 400845
Tel: 6743 7865
Fax: 6743 4862
Website: http://www.synwin.com.sg
Email: reubennsons@synwin.com.sg

6 Raffles Boulevard
#03-117/118/119 Marina Square
Singapore 039594
Tel: +65 6336 1366

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Gramercy Music
188 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 229856
Tel: +65 63453815
Fax: +65 6734 8948
Website: https://www.gramercy.com.sg
Email: info@gramercy.com.sg

Business Hours:
Tuesday to Sunday: 10.30 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.
(Closed on Monday)

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Salient Strings
321 Alexandra Road
#02-20 Alexandra Central
Singapore 159971
Tel: +65 9842 4984
Website: https://www.salientstrings.com
Email: salientstrings@gmail.com

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Bass Loft
Blk 17 Toh Yi Drive
#08-83
Singapore 590017
Email: http://www.bassloft.com

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Online sources:
There are online sources to buy double bass from. Here are the one that I know of:
Lemur Music
Bass Works
The Contrabass Shoppe

But for the purpose of this post, I shall not go discuss about online sources in greater depth.

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Others:
The other places to buy a double bass from would be from double bass players who for one reason or another are offering their double bass for sale.

If you know of any other places in Singapore where one can purchase a double bass, please email me at oceanskies [at] hotmail [dot] com to get it listed here.

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Disclaimer: The notes by yours found on this post is solely personal opinion. You are advised to use these opinions at your own discretion.

Before I end this post, I would like to point you to a series of posts by Jason Heath on the topic of Buying a Double Bass. Do check it out.

You may also wish to read the following:
Bass Buying Information by Bass Works.
Movin' on up...to a Better Instrument by John Floeter's Bass Studio

(Updated on 25 Oct 2017)

*****
Also see: Where to buy a double bass in Singapore? Part 2

Monday, 18 June 2007

Tony Osborne's Blues-Style (1981)


Courtesy of Tony Osborne and David Heyes/ Recital Music.
Tony Osborne's Blues-Style. Performed by Emily, XM and PY from d'Bassists on 31 May 2007 at Esplanade Concourse, Singapore. Esplanade Presents At The Concourse: Basso Bravo!
Video URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6egzs_Rx464



Tony Osborne's Blues-Style for 3 Double Basses, is an appealing piece of music. I find it lively and rhythmic. It's a fun piece of music to play! Enjoy the above video clip.

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Taken during one of our rehearsals.

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About Tony Osborne:
(adapted from notes by David Heyes, 2004)
Tony Osborne is an important double bass educationalist and composer who has made significant contributions to the double bass literature.

In 2001, Tony Osborne was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) for his pioneering and important work for the double bass.

For more about Tony Osborne, please visit the following websites:

http://www.ozzape.com/tony (Tony Osborne's website)
http://www.musiciansgallery.com (A-Z search, under "O")

***
Music available from:
http://www.tutti.co.uk
(sheet music/double bass - Publisher: Recital Music, UK)

***
Related posts:
Basso Bravo
Music for Trio

Saturday, 16 June 2007

The double bass solo in Mahler's First Symphony

Taken during one of NUS Symphony Orchestra's concerts. Photo credit: Jay.

Currently, members of d'Bassists are taking a break from ensemble playing. Instead, we are practising orchestral works.

This Wednesday, I was informed by the President of our symphony orchestra that our orchestra would most likely be playing the third and fourth movements of Mahler's First Symphony. There is a double bass solo part in the third movement of the symphony. Our dear tutor gave us a good overview to the double bass solo part this Wednesday during our double bass sectional, and I very much like his demonstrations of the various ways that various conductors would like that double bass solo part to be interpreted.

Coincidentally, one of Jason Heath's posts pointed me to an online article put up by National Symphony Orchestra's Principal Bassist Robert Oppelt. The article covers Robert Oppelt's approach to the double bass solo from the third movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D Major. Robert Oppelt also provides some historical context for the work.

I find Robert Oppelt's article an insightful read, do check it out here:
My Approach to the Bass Solo in Mahler's First Symphony (Robert Oppelt, June 10, 2007): http://www.robertoppelt.com/page6.html

Please also visit the following URL to catch a short clip of Claudio Abbado rehearsing the third movement of Mahler's First Symphony so as to listen to the principal double bassist play that very double bass solo part: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lI7icWPfoc

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About the photo in this post:
Taken during NUS Symphony Orchestra's concert held on 16 Mar 2007.
Photo credits: Jay


**
By the way, Emily has performed the double bass solo from the third movement of Mahler's First Symphony. You can read her accounts by clicking on this link.

Updated: 17 Jun 2007

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Performed on 31 May 2007: Bach's Air


Esplanade Presents At The Concourse: Basso Bravo!
J.S. Bach's Air (for Double Bass duet) (arranged by Buell Neidlinger). Performed by Emily and PY from d'Bassists on 31 May 2007 at Esplanade Concourse, Singapore.

(URL of video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boLqoK5Er_0)

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You may also read about our rehearsals of Bach's Air here:
- Rehearsing Bach's Air
- An evening of duets and trios

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About J.S. Bach:

J.S. Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany, in 1685 and died in 1750 (he was 65 when he died). He came from a long family history of professional muscicians including church organists and composers (view source here)


Also visit:
http://www.jsbach.org

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About Buell Neidlinger:

Born in New York City in 1936, cellist/bassist Buell Neidlinger has been at or near the center of the American music scene since the early fifties. As a child he studied with Luigi Silva and Gregor Piatigorsky, and was well on the way to a career as a cello soloist when he developed an interest in jazz bass...


For more about Buell Neidlinger, please visit: http://www.k2b2.com/neidlinger.html

Also see:
Ludwin Music

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

The composer-in-residence

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A composer by training, Emily has been secretly regarded by yours truly as d'Bassists' composer-in-residence. At least among all the members of d'Bassists, Emily has the greatest potential to write decent music compositions. In fact, she has been writing quite a number of interesting compositions that have been performed.

To find out more about Emily's compositions, please visit the following sites:
http://www.emilykoh.blogspot.com
http://komponist.blogspot.com/2006/03/videos.html
http://www.komponist.blogspot.com
http://komponist.blogspot.com/2006/10/emily-koh-composer.html

Do check out the second link to listen to some of her compositions being performed.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Performed on 31 May 2007: Neopolitanian Dance



P.I. Tchaikovsky's Neopolitanian Dance (from Swan Lake) (arranged by G. Mouzyka). Performed by d'Bassists on 31 May 2007 at Esplanade Concourse. Title of performance: Esplanade Presents: At the Concourse: Basso Bravo!


Swan Lake is a ballet scored by Tchaikovsky. It is based on German folktales. The storyline goes like this: Odette, who has been changed into a swan by Rothbath, draws the attention of Prince Siegfried. Prince Siegfried is subsequently seduced by Rothbath’s daughter, Odile, as a black swan.

Swan Lake was the first time Tchaikovsky was to complete a composition for the ballet. To familiarize himself with the demands of the art form he studied the ballet music of the period.

Neopolitanian Dance is originally written for a trumpet solo.


References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swan_Lake
http://www.balletmet.org/Notes/SwanHist.html
http://classicalmusic.about.com/od/historyofballet/a/swanlakeproa.htm

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Before the show



It takes time to prepare oneself for a performance. Other than practising and more practising, it is also helpful to prepare oneself mentally for the performance. Food is a necessary fuel. As such, d'Bassists met up at Ichiban Boshi located within Esplanade Mall for dinner before the performance, At the Concourse: Basso Bravo!

Sound check started from 6.30 p.m., and thereafter, d'Bassists tried to get whatever little time to rest, gain focus, and get acquainted with the inviting performing space at the Esplanade Concourse.

In the above slide, you will see Superstring - a series of single continuous line drawings by Joshua Yang in collaboration with students of NUS High School of Math and Science. "The concept behind the mode of drawing in a single continuous line ties in with the Superstring Theory which postulates that all matter in the universe is made up of and connected by tiny symmetrical vibrations called strings." (see source)

Emily and her composer-friends, from Les Six du Singapour, will be collaborating with Joshua Yang, to present interesting performances at the Esplanade Concourse. Details are as follow, do check these out (view source):

All Strung Up
Les Six du Singapour in collaboration with Joshua Yang
as part of the Singapore Arts Festival 2007
25 June 2007 // 7.30pm + 8.45pm
Esplanade Concourse


All Strung Out
Les Six du Singapour in collaboration with Joshua Yang
as part of the Singapore Arts Festival 2007
28 June 2007 // 7.30pm + 8.45pm
Esplanade Concourse

Monday, 4 June 2007

The difference between the guitar and the double bass

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"What's the difference between the guitar and the double bass?"

QH told me that this is one of the most popular questions that people would ask her during the hands-on session after the performance, Esplanade Presents: At the Concourse: Basso Bravo!.

For the benefit of our readers and friends who also have this same question to ask, here are the differences between the guitar and the double bass:

1) Double bass, unlike the guitar, has no fret. "The double bass's strings are stopped by the finger directly on the wooden fingerboard."

2) "The double bass is an acoustic instrument with a hollow body that selectively amplifies the tone of the plucked or bowed strings. In contrast, bass guitars are often made with a solid wood body, and the sound is produced by electronic amplification of the vibration of the strings, which is "sensed" by magnetic pickups that also add to the characteristic tone." (View source)

3) The strings of the double bass are generally thicker than those of the guitar.




While searching for a photo of a guitar, I thought of Daisy Rock Guitars. I wonder if I would like my double bass to be in bright colours. Coloured guitars look cool. I am not sure if I would like coloured double basses, however. Woody-looking double basses seem more lovely to me. What do you prefer?

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_bass

Also see:
http://www.8notes.com/f/34_60436.asp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_guitar

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Double basses for the young

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Emily wrote: Children - the hope of humanity! Photo taken by XM.

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Photo courtesy of Cool Insider.

It was observed that many of the children who have came forward for the hands-on session after the performance, Esplanade Presents: At the Concourse: Basso Bravo!, were intrigued by and excited about playing the 2 metres tall double bass.

If I were a child, I would probably imagine the double bass as an awfully tall, giantic monster. Afterall, it would be at least twice my height. Hey, but this double bass "monster" does not bite. In fact, it is a gentle soul. One can pluck its strings to make different kinds of sounds. One can pull the bow at various parts of the double bass to make different sound effects. It probably feels good to be able to "conquer" and play interesting music on such a big instrument. A double bass can be an enormous, gentle and huggable good friend.

For myself, it was a humbling and fun experience sharing the double bass with children during the hands-on session. The children had unknowingly taught me some new ways to explore and look at the double bass.

I was reading up on the subjects of Training Programs for the Young and Basses for the Young from Paul Brun's New Histrory of the Double Bass. Interestingly, I learnt that as early as the 1950s, Pierre Delescluse taught the double bass to young children on cellos fitted as double basses. Such instruments he called cellobasses. A bass in cello form however proved awkward to handle.

Much later, makers have been building miniature 1/4 size double basses. Such double basses would indeed, in my opinion, make the double bass much more accessible to the young ones who want to start learning the instrument at a young age. Gosh, it makes me feel that I have started out too old for the double bass. Then again, one is never too old (or too young) to play the double bass.


1/4 size double bass. Image taken from Music Corner Ltd.

At this point, I recall a brief conversation that I have had with dear Emily a year or two ago. I remember that she has a vision, if resources and opportunities permit, to start pedagogy double bass classes for children. If I were a parent, I would feel well assured to have my child learning the double bass from Emily. She is firm yet so engaging and fun. I wish her dreams come true.

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For related online information and resources on learning double bass for the young ones, you may visit:
http://www.promenademusic.co.uk/details.asp?sku=4187
http://www.yorkedition.co.uk/bio.htm
http://www.bassclub.org.uk/CarolineEmery.htm
http://www.bassworks.com.au/store/category8_1.htm

Reference:
Brun, P. (2000). New History of the Double Bass. (ISBN:2-9514461-0-1)

Friday, 1 June 2007

Basso Bravo!



To our dearest tutor, Mr G. Mouzyka, the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay's programming and production team, Sheila and Siew Ling from NUS Centre for the Arts, members of the audience, family, friends and supporters: Thank you very much for supporting d'Bassists' performance, Esplanade Presents: At the Concourse: Basso Bravo!

We hope that our audience have had an enjoyable and educational evening listening to music played by the double bass, and a fascinating time playing on the double bass.

Meantime, enjoy a slide-show of the photos taken on 30 and 31 May 2007 for this very performance. Special thanks to Gayl, Marie, YQ, Carcar, Cool Insider, Eastcoastlife and Pinkie for contributing some of these photos.

Last but not the least, if you should have any feedback to share with us or if you would like to contact us, please complete the form at this page and submit it accordingly. We want to hear from you, and we will respond if you leave us your valid email addresses and/or contact numbers. Alternatively, you can leave your comments on our blog. Your feedback matters.

In addition, if you have taken any photograph of the performance, and you don't mind sharing, we welcome you to share it with us. Simply email PY at oceanskies79[at]gmail[dot]com.

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Also see:
Esplanade Presents: Basso Bravo! by Eastcoastlife
Diggin' da Double Bass by Cool Insider
Basso Bravo! by Kontrabassist
Photo Hunters - Art by Eastcoastlife
Music and Coffee by Carcar
30th May Nite Out by Pinkie
Travel and Tour Operation Field Trip- Arts and Heritage. by aneres4

Updated on 16 Jun 2007.

Bach's cello suite No. 1 Prelude, an excerpt

Yesterday, during one of the hands-on sessions after the Esplanade Presents: At the Concourse: Basso Bravo! performance, one of the members of the public came by to play on the double bass. He asked if I could play one of Bach's works for him, and he sang it out. He was singing an excerpt from the Prelude of the first Bach's cello suite. To be honest, I did not play it for him. It is a work that I have not quite practise before, and during the hands-on session it was more appropriate for me to stay focused on facilitating the session than on attempting to perform.

For the benefit of this gentleman, if he were to visit this blog, here's a YouTube video of double bassist, Matt Heller, playing an excerpt from the Prelude of J.S. Bach's Suite for Solo Cello No. 1:



Special thanks to Jason Heath for posting the above video on his double bass blog. If you would like to listen to more double bass videos, do check out the links found on Jason Heath's double bass blog, under the categorty bass videos

Also listen to:
Rostropovich plays the Prelude from Bach's Cello Suite No. 1
Mischa Maisky plays Bach - Cello Suite No.1 i-Prelude

30 and 31 May 2007

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Host unlimited photos at slide.com for FREE!

Esplanade Presents
At The Concourse: Basso Bravo!
Venue: Esplanade Concourse, Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, Singapore
Date: 30 and 31 May 2007 (Wed and Thu)
Time: 7.30 p.m. - 8.00 p.m. and 8.45 p.m. - 9.15 p.m. on both nights
Free Admission

This programme is held in conjunction with Singapore Arts Festival 2007.

Programme:
- J.S. Bach's Minuett (arranged by G. Mouzyka)
- J.S. Bach's Air on the G string (for Double Bass duet) (arranged by Buell Neidlinger)
- L. Mozart's Menuet (arranged and edited by F. Pillinger)
- T. Osborne's Blues-style for 3 Double Basses
- W.A. Mozart's Allegro (arranged and edited by F. Pillinger)
- L. Mozart's Polonaise (arranged and edited by F. Pillinger)
- P.I. Tchaikovsky's Neopolitanian Dance (from Swan Lake) (arranged by G. Mouzyka)
- I. Berlin's Ragtime (arranged by G. Mouzyka)
- M.D. Solomon's Sentimental Bossa (Encore. Played an excerpt)

Experience the fun and versatility of the double bass, learn more about the instrument and be treated to a hands-on session.


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Also see:
Basso Bravo! by oceanskies79
Esplanade Presents: Basso Bravo! by Eastcoastlife
Diggin' da Double Bass by Cool Insider
Basso Bravo! by Kontrabassist
Photo Hunters - Art by Eastcoastlife
Music and Coffee by Carcar
30th May Nite Out by Pinkie
Travel and Tour Operation Field Trip- Arts and Heritage. by aneres4