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A Double Bassist’s Guide to Refining Performance Practices

Murray Grodner

Publication Year: 2013

Murray Grodner draws on his distinguished career as a double bass musician and teacher in this compendium of performance philosophy, bowing and phrasing recommendations, tutorials on fingerings and scales, and exercises for bowing and string crossing. Grodner addresses technical obstacles in musical performance, offers advice on instrument and bow purchase, and provides a detailed approach to the fundamentals of bass playing. This guide is an invaluable resource for any bassist seeking a professional career.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-11

Titling this book has been a challenge. Although it may seem geared to the advanced student (like those) studying at schools like Julliard and the Jacobs School of Music, it also contains areas pertinent to the interest of the advanced professional bassist. Some of the subject matter may seem basic, but it really consists of challenges that may not have been conquered by performers at all levels. I have never stopped warming ...

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Part 1 Critical Analysis of Physical Performance Techniques

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pp. 1-24

In reading this book you will find the phrase “use of self” employed a number of times. I was asked by a reader of the original manuscript to clarify the meaning and reason for use of this phrase. You may be familiar with the Alexander Technique. I took several lessons from various teachers of this philosophy of physical behavior. Initially, the Alexander teacher “maneuvered” head, neck and shoulders, and said little, leaving me wondering what I was supposed to take with...

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Part 2 Perfecting Techniques through Employing Scales, Exercises, and Orchestral Excerpts

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pp. 25-100

Approach each bowing in a slow tempo concentrating on controlling tonal quality and accurate intonation. Do use and practice vibrato in the slower tempos. Strive to achieve a continuous vibrato as described in the section on vibrato. Play with a full but relaxed sound. Your effort for perfection in this section will carry over to your performance in most other musical challenges. In brief, play everything with a goal of doing it to the best of your...

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Part 3 Informative Essaysfor Double Bassists

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pp. 101-118

Are the Conductors possibly right? Do basses really sound late in orchestral playing? Through constant and careful listening to live and recorded performances, I must admit there are times when the double basses do sound late. At times it is possibly an illusion caused by the fact that our instruments resonate longer than other string instruments, causing us to be heard a bit longer than the other string instruments. This also could create the impression that we are playing behind the others. At other times, however...

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Part 4 Analytical Phrasing and Bowing for Solo Works

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pp. 119-142

When portamento is used sparingly, it often adds interest and beauty to a musical phrase. When most of the slurred/legato phrases are dominated by a constant use of portamento, then the simple beauty of flowing legato is gone. The phrase often suffers from a lack of continuity when overrun by the excessive use of portamento. I have unfortunately heard too many performances in recent years that suffer at the hands of the constant practice...

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Part 5 Preventative Exercises for Physical Abuses Related to Playing Double Bass

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pp. 143-156

“You know, you have a bit of scoliosis,” the therapist indicated. Why wasn’t I surprised? I am a string player and spent a good deal of my life with one arm up to access the fingerboard and the other down maneuvering the bow. Just look around you when playing in an orchestra and study the various physical behaviors (playing positions) being employed. When you study these positions and become aware of the various physical postures being...

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About the Author

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pp. 157-168

MURRAY GRODNER, Professor Emeritus, Jacobs School of Music at Indiana Univer-sity, spent thirty-three years teaching double bass. His orchestral background includes playing Principal Bass of the Houston Symphony, Assistant Principal of the Pittsburgh Symphony under Fritz Reiner, NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini, Principal of the Sacramento Symphony, as well being a member of the San Diego Chamber and ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780253010209
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253010162

Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2013