“Practical Bach for the Double Bass” is a project that was sparked by watching string player colleagues while I was in school, and then as a private teacher and here at Fredonia. We all know the benefits of practicing and performing solo Bach pieces, but I felt that bassists were missing out on opportunities for musical growth due to the extreme range of certain movements.
I have always thought of solo Bach movements as musicianship and style etudes alongside their clear technical challenges (string crossings, bow control, intonation, balancing double stops, quick range changes, the list goes on and on). It always saddened me that in my own work, the work of my colleagues, and in my teaching, it seemed that musicianship and style development would sometimes have to go by the wayside as we all struggled to handle the major challenges of high-position playing. I remember on one occasion a violin colleague saying, “I simply cannot imagine playing Bach in 12th position!”
I do feel strongly that once one reaches a certain point of technical achievement on the bass, there is a benefit to and place for high position Bach playing. While I hold that belief, I maintain that playing these works in the low range is beneficial for all of us, particularly for less advanced students or for bassists aiming to develop their comfort, flexibility and elegance in the lower register. This is of course useful in our work on orchestral skills, where we need the utmost musical flexibility and poise in the low end.
For each movement, you will find a video recording for reference, and a link to purchase a set of PDFs. You will find one version with no markings, one with just bowings, and one with bowings and fingerings on every note.
I would like to thank my artistic consultants for this project, Pittsburgh Symphony Principal Bassist Jeffrey Turner and Fredonia Professor of Viola David Rose.
Should you have any questions about my editions or recordings, please feel free to visit the “contact” tab for my information. Happy practicing!