Analysis of the technical literature for double bass applied to orchestral excerpts
Amaral, Claudia Silva Do
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This research identifies technical issues found in some of the most demanding orchestral excerpts for double bass required in auditions and offers technical exercises from the double bass literature that can help refine the technique required. The information concerning these excerpts and methods utilized results from a survey conducted in the initial part of the research with double bass students, professors, and orchestra professionals mostly from United States and Brazil. The results showed that the most demanding excerpts are those of Mozart’s late symphonies, Beethoven’s Symphonies no. 5 and no. 9, and Strass’ tone poems Ein Heldenleben and Don Juan. The survey also showed that the five most popular methods are those by Franz Simandl, Isaia Billè, Franco Petracchi, François Rabbath, and Frederick Zimmermann. These became the main sources for analysis and commentary, supplemented by several other works in the technical literature that are highly beneficial for the technique required for the orchestral playing. The final goal of this research was to answer the following question: “Does the technical literature for double bass cover the technical skills required for the most demanding orchestral excerpts?” My research suggests that the resources for practicing skills demanded in excerpts are widely dispersed in the literature and not necessarily linked with the practice of orchestral parts. Thus, a considerable part of this document has been devoted to selection and commentary on the literature that is relevant for the practice of orchestral excerpts. The literature for double bass, however has a few general weaknesses, such as the lack of concern with dynamics (especially piano in the low register), neglect of the connection between articulation and style, and the lack of agility exercises and studies in the low register.