Sunday, 30 December 2007

A Flame in the Night

NUS Symphony Orchestra proudly presents: A Flame in the Night!

Featuring favourites like Beethoven's 5th Symphony, Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 2 in D and Stravinsky's "Dance of the Inferno" from the Firebird suite, NUS Symphony Orchestra brings you a night of music, passion, fate and life.

Date: 1 Mar 2008
Time: Evening, 8 p.m.,
Venue: Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Concert Hall.
Tickets are available from Gatecrash.

Promotions: Free movie passes for every purchase of four tickets (limited stock, through Gatecrash Hotline and Internet Booking).
Concessions: 15% off for NUS Student. 10% off for NUS Staff and Alumni.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Hans Strum teaches the Rabbath technique

Double bass players may be interested to learn about the Rabbath left hand position technique. How does it differ from the Simandl's technique?

International Society of Bassists President and Ball State University Bass Professor Hans Sturm shares about the concepts behind the Rabbath technique in a multi-part video series on Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog and Contrabass Conversations.

Here are the links to this series:

Hans Sturm and Jason Heath talk Rabbath technique - video

Hans Sturm teaches the Rabbath technique - part 2
Hans Sturm teaches the Rabbath technique - part 3
Applying the Rabbath technique to Bottesini - Hans Sturm video part 4
General mental approaches to practicing the double bass - Hans Sturm video part 5

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Music Camp 2007

A snapshot from the Quartet Masterclass.
Photo taken by our orchestra's Publication Secretary

The Conducting Masterclass
Photo taken by our orchestra's Publication Secretary

The NUS Symphony Orchestra has had its annual music camp from 11 - 14 Dec 2007. Members of d'Bassists rehearsed works scored for the double bass ensemble during the music camp. WL is one of the newest members of d'Bassists.

On 12 Dec 2007, d'Bassists presented a double bass trio item during the Quartet Masterclass. It seemed implied that the Quartet Masterclass was more intended for strings quartet. Afterall, double bass quartets and double bass trios are comparatively less common than strings quartets.

Anyway, d'Bassists presented Tony Osborne's Blues-Styles. This time, yours truly is playing the first part, XM the second and WL the third. Mr Foo gave the trio some tips during the masterclass. Blues-Styles is written in 4/4 time. He suggested that for this work, we could practise using the metronome, and have the metronome count in twos. The tip is that instead of having the strong beats of the metronome falling on the 1st and 3rd beats, the strong beats should be falling on the 2nd and 4th beats to let the music groove. There were a few other tips. Meantime, many thanks to Mr Foo for his tips.

In the evening of 13 Dec 2007, there was a barbeque. I was absent as I have two classes to attend that evening. Neverthless, I am sure it was fun.

On 14 Dec 2007, our conductor gave a masterclass on conducting. I could not be present due to work commitments, but from the photos that were taken during the Conducting Masterclass, it seems to be interesting and enriching.

Many thanks to the executive committee of the orchestra for organising the music camp.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Holding the German bow: article by Robert Oppelt

Special thanks to Jason Heath for recommending Robert Oppelt's online article about the various German-bow grips used by professionals.

Robert Oppelt is the principal double bassist of the National Symphony Orchestra, the resident orchestra of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. (source:

Jason Heath has aptly summed up the various German-bow grips that Robert Oppelt has identified as follow:

1. Two fingers on top, free thumb
2. Like the previous, but only the first finger applies the weight
3. Two fingers on top, assisted by the thumb on the stick
4. One finger on top and thumb on top
5. Fingers on top, thumb buried under first finger
6. Side of the thumb on top along stick, fingers on side (or tip of first finger on top)
7. Similar to (6), but the thumb is less on its side, more on its tip
8. Thumb on top along stick, frog deep in hand
9. Thumb along stick, frog very deep in hand, wrist very bent
10. Straight thumb, bow further out in fingers and thumb
11. Thumb wraps over stick at about 45 degree angle, stick not completely deep in the hand

To find out which is his preferred grip, please read Robert Oppelt's article here:

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Andrés Martín's site in English language

Earlier this July, this blog mentioned about the double bassist Andrés Martín, and the Contrabajos de Baja California double bass ensemble that was formed by him.

Andrés Martín has designed and put up a English website recently. Do check it out here: