The question is: is it the original one??
These are the words of Isaia Billè's grandson, prof. Vittorio Emanuele Esposito, who, in his opinion, believes that the manuscript of 1915 might be original.
"Maestro Vito Liuzzi, ho confrontato il testo di mio nonno Isaia
Billè, da lei pubblicato sul sito, con una raccolta di poesie
manoscritte in mio possesso e datate 1919. Non sono un grafologo e non
posso escludere l'ipotesi di un falsario (ipotesi che mi sembra però
poco probabile). Mio nonno firmava proprio così. Naturalmente il testo
scritto, premesso alla prima parte del Metodo, è in bella scrittura,
essendo probabilmente la versione preparata per le stampe. Ma, anche il
libretto che ho io reca un frontespizio ("Raul di Bellosguardo- Poesie e
sonetti a Carla") e titoli scritti con impegno calligrafico ( con l'uso
del pennino che marca alcuni contorni delle lettere iniziali e traccia
il resto della lettera in modo sottile e netto, con le medesime
rotondità ed estensioni del segno grafico ecc.). Ci sono delle
maiuscole iniziali che sono inconfondibilmente le stesse ( la 'C', la
'P'). Il confronto di altre lettere in corso di parola (la 'g', la 'l',
la 'n', la 'r', la 's', la 't' ecc.) ,che presentano una perfetta
corrispondenza, rafforza la convinzione che si tratti della stessa mano.
Cosicché mi sembra di poter dire che il testo della prefazione e le
annotazioni scritte appartengono a mio nonno. Purtroppo non posseggo
scritture musicali di suo pugno e su questo non posso fare confronti e
pronunciarmi. Ma molti documenti furono da lui donati alla Biblioteca di
Fermo, insieme ad un suo contrabbasso. La prego di tenermi al corrente e
di pensare, compatibilmente ai suoi impegni, almeno alla registrazione
di qualche composizione di Isaia Billè. Sarebbe per me un grande dono.
Io ho trascorso l'infanzia e l'adolescenza vicino a mio nonno, che
abitava a Roma. Lo sentivo suonare, ammirato, anche se, non avendo
studiato musica, per me, il suo, era un mondo da cui mi sentivo escluso.
E' stato fino a 83 anni Primo contrabbasso al teatro dell'Opera di Roma.
Poi cadde, si ruppe il braccio e si trasferì a Fermo.
Cordialmente, Vittorio Emanuele Esposito"
Now it would be interesting to know:
1) If this manuscripted Method by Isaia Billè is the original one, why did it decide to write it?
2)And then! If it was ready to be published ...
might be there other copies of it? Or is it the only one?
3)How is it possible that this Method has arrived to the States?
4) This method is different from the one published later from Ricordi? Why?
5) The other strange thing is that until now the great experts in Billè's life in Italy seem not to konw nothing about this method by 1915. No letters or other similar things.
We know tha Billè probably sold some of his instruments in America ... and how this method has arrived here?
Is it a mistery?? Perhaps the owner of this method should tell us how he received it!!
This aspect would help the research.
Imho, I have a lot of doubts, but I hope researchers tell us as soon as possible what they really think !!
IMHO and at the moment, only a serious study about the calligraphy by Billè might be tell us if the method above dated 1915 can be the one wrote by the same Isaia Billè.
By the way, it would be interesting to know why the owner has decided to talk about it only now, and how he obtained it.
These aspects will help the research.
Sorry but in a few words.
Maestro Cellaro thinks:
LET'S READ THE COVER (very new!!!)
Well. Let's give a look at the word BILLE.
There's a strange thing. Rectius! There's something that goes wrong.
It's not: B I L L ( E' ) as in a correct italian
but it's written: B I L L ( E ), WITHOUT THE ACCENT on the letter E !!!
What does it mean?? I don' t know but it's a very and very BIG MISTAKE.
Let's go on ...
It's very strange.
In Italy it seems none knows about the
existence of this Method manuscript by Billè
But it's incredible another thing.
We know that in that era there were professional writers (copisti) which were able to
"copy" a manuscript with the same calligraphy (but much more beautifil) of the author.
Well, if Billè wrote himself by his own hands in a very beautiful calligraphy the method 1915, surely he would not have had the time to write other copies. So the Method 1915
should be the only one!
But we don't understand why the manuscripted method 1915 has a good cover with "modern words" (read: "characters") and an incredible MISTAKE. The E of Billè WITHOUT THE ACCENT ON THE "E".
I don't know.
Why has the owner decided to present it nowadays??
Where did he found this method?
or ... who gave it to him?
Let's go on in the research! ... until someone doesn't tell me that there a written font in which someone called about this very "young method".
Probably "Casa Ricordi" might be the only one to know something interesting.
Billè's method is situated in Fermo (Italy). A descendant had left a box full of manuscripts, including the original Method.
Maestro Trebbi's opinion (who is one of the more experts in Billè's life) seems to think that the Method 1915 above shouldn't be the original one.
But it is also true that Billè went on tour
with Toscanini just in the States, and probably there may be a second copy,
or is it a copy of a manuscript that he
The fund Billè (foundation) comprend all manuscripts inherited and it has
been cataloged about 5 years ago at the Conservatory of Fermo,
It is available for free consultation.
IMHO, I don't think it's the authentic manuscript Method by Isaia Billè. But surely I'm in mistake because here in Italy none seems to know something about it.
Personally, I wait for some answers from the States or somewhere else.
If it's the original one, I would like someone makes chemical researchs on the date of the single pages.
I stop here. STANDBYE!
A great italian artist, composer, teacher and soloist. A little forgotten by critics, expecially Italians, he wrote methods and compositions very appreciated at that time (but imho also today!) He has performed all over the world.
Give a look at these very interesting photos about him. He provides us a lot of informations also for what regarding the bow technique and the left hand position (expecially in thumb position).
Thanks to maestro Alfredo TREBBI
These are no good photos. I know it!
But Guido Gallignani was really an incredible talent. If you like, give a look to the 5th photo.
I personally like a lot is bow technique (it's surely the "Italian" technique with the thumb in the high part of the "U" frog, borned with Isaia Billè). And then you can clearly see the left hand in thumb position: he pushed the strings with his fingers (in the later period, as you know, the best soloists pull to the left the single strings to obtain the single note, sound or pitch ... who was the first to push the single notes on the fingerboard in the upper positions? ... ). Gallignani composed a lot of music and methods (probably it "studies" the better word ...) for doublebass players. He was an innovative. Probably you might find something in Bongiovanni's Edition.
It's difficult to say why in the same Italy he has been "a little bit forgotten".
First of all I would like to tell the reader that none pays me for what I add in this website.
About strings, my favourites are Obligato by Pirastro and Dominant by Thomastick (Orchestra and Solo). With my students will test also Bel Cantos. Because they give me a marvellous feedback.
But let's talk about OBLIGATO SOLO. I think that there aren't so much soloists which use them. Probably because the A string has a gauge a little bigger in comparison with metal strings which provide you a very short
and fast vibrato expecially at the end of fingerboard. With Obligato you can have the same results (experience with my student), but everyone makes his own decision.
In twenty years of researches I can say the Obligato by Pirastro have the same sound of a gut string, but it's more advanced because
the volume sound is much bigger and larger.
Then Obligato has a very good response of the bow, in fact I play Koussevitzky or Bottesini with no problems. Naturally it also
depends from your instrument and what you have in your mind.
I know! Someones don't like this aspect: the gauge of strings is too large, big (Orchestra).
Also for me at the beginnig was the same, but I like too much their sonorities and I went on. Now, there's no difference!
Pirastro with this set has created an hybrid string. Imho, all strings are hybrid. For what regardin' Jazz Players they have solved the problem of the E/FA# string. Now this string
is very powerful both with bow or pizzicato.
The best sustain among Pirastro's strings.
If you set your strings (Obligatos) in the correct way, there are no absolutely problems with the tuning. Usually after one week they stay in tuning, and there are no great differences in relation to temperature/umidity.
Another important think. During the passages from one string to another there are no abosultely noises. And this is very important for a bow player.
The tension! This is a personal questions. Everyone has got is own way of thinking.
But Obligato seems to have a very good feeling with the left (or right) hand, and I'm impressed from all the strings balancement.
There isn't one that plays better than another. Quality and volume is the same on every string: if it's not, surely it's a problem of the double bass (soul or catena).
To be honest, in my recitals sometimes I use Obligato Solo sometimes Dominat, or in mix set. Obligato seems to have the same volume in comparison with Dominant, but they are two strings very different each from another.
I have take a decision. I want my double bass must have the same harmoniques of the ancient instruments. And Obligato are the best choise for having The Authentic Sound of A Double BASS. Young generations, and not only, like to have very thin strings so to obtain very fast passages and strict vibratos.
The question is that these strings, imho, change the sound of The Authentic Double Bass: less harmoniques (just tested), sound that usually is overhanged by an Orchestra and a lot of noises in the bow changes.
Naturaly it's my personal opinion!
I have decided to set Obligato Solo because they give me the sensation to play the authentic doublebass of the ancient times, but with more volume. The Double Bass and not a "contra cello".
dr. Vito Liuzzi