Just some photos of Italian (and French) Bow Technique with little advices.
"Italian" because Isaia Billè invented it.
In the photo you can see a good way to estabilish the right distance of fingers.
Here it's possible to see my "wrapped holding" of a french bow.
In this way the little fingers is important to control the bow tip.
All the other fingers must "wrap" the stick; in this way you have
a lot of weight on the stick when you need it, or less weight just not forcing the fingers on the stick.
I would like to add one thing.In my bow techinique the points of referrement are these ones: thumb in the " U " of the frog (high part), 1st. finger on the stick, 2nd. at the end of the frog, 3rd. in the middle of the frog and the little finger (4th) at the end of the frog. It's very important imho not having points of referrement UNDER the frog, because in this way we stop the bow among fingers. It's possible to play the Italian bow also with only TWO FINGERS. It's a question of technique!
This is what I prefer to call "Italian Bow" just because the thumb is situated in the high part of the " U " of the frog. Isaia Billè was the first to suggest this
position (Italian Bow).
In this photo you can see another way to hold a bow.
It's important that thumb push against towards the other fingersand the opposite.
Another photo with the correct position of the four fingers in my School. It's important not having points of referrement with one or two fingers "under the frog". Just because you would stop the natural movement of the stick under the fingers.
In the French bow (see also Billè's comments or Bottesini), this one should be the correct position of the thumb, "on the stick".
Naturally all the other fingers have another configuration.
There are doublebass player which use the French bow with fingers very far from the frog. They also use the "bow hairs" as a point of referrement. Probably it will be difficult to play a "sautillè" or other bowings. I don't know!
Sometimes and expecially with Baroque Bows, this one might be a good choise to hold the bow. Hans Roelofsen's bow is similar but not the same.
The position of the bow at the beginning of it. I use all the bow' hairs (more harmonics). The bow is perpendicular to the string.
In this way the string vibrates in the correct manner.
In the middle of the bow the right arm begins to move.
At the tip of the bow, try to use all bow hairs. The arm is stretched so to have all the weigth of the same arm on the tip. I use this tecnique sometimes or in particular situations.
p.s.: it's important to try playing with all bow hairs because in this way the sound is very focalized and with a great tone (rich of harmoniques).
But to create different "effects" (ppp, p, mf ...) every double bass players is able to choose the better angle.
p.p.s.: there are different School for the bow. Mine is only a little example.
DIATONIC POSITION (diat.)
Following Petracchi's fingerings we have three
basic positions for the thumb in the high register. This on is called "diatonic".
Example: Thumb on G - 1st on A - 2nd on B - 3rd on C
(In this photo I used a cm. 110 of string- length)
SEMI-CHROMATIC POSITION (s.cr.)
Example: Thumb on G - 1st on A -2nd on A# - 3rd on B
CHROMATIC POSITION ( cr. )
Example: Thumb on G - 1st on G# - 2nd on A -3rd on A#
Example: Thumb on G - 1st on A - 2nd on A# - 3rd on C
(not used a lot but interesting...).
Well, the main concept imho is that moving the thumb on the fingerboard using the three basic positions, we always know which notes under under our fingers. In little words. Also tuning should be better...
In the "crab technique" by Rabbath we have a concept totally different. The thumb is stopped and the fingers stretch on the fingerboard or in neck
A little example of using harmoniques remaining in position.
And another example of the use of a Diatonic position or another one.
Naturally all these brief concepts might be a little "vademecum" for
some students !!!
HOW PLAY THE FOURTHs in the THUMB POSITION
MORE: you know that sometimes is a little bit difficult
to play the FOURTHS in the Thumb Position. Everyone knows that if you push with the top of the thumb towards your right (left hand in thumb position),
you will obtain a quite good note. (example: in thumb position
you are plaing the A note with the thumb, then you have to play the E note on the II string (D). Well, movin' your top of the thumb towards your right, propably you might obtain a good pitch. Just an example!
The old school I use ( 1-3-4)
But I teach also the 1-2-4 with out difference.
The correct position of the thumb corresponding to " 3 " finger (or 2nd finger)
Just to tell you that when the bow is at its beginning, the wrist and the fingers on the stick can have different positions, and at this point we have a lot of "schools" which someone can follow.
I hope this picture might be better:
in few words (and in a no correct English!) in my School when the bow is in the middle zone,
the arm begins to
Well, now we are in the final part. Look at the position of the fingers on the stick. They seem to go inside because sometimes I need to use all the bow hairs at the end of the same bow, so not having a poor focalized sound.
p.s.: naturaly during a performance these little rules change in relation to what you want to obtain.
P.s.: if you like this sort of fingerings pay attention when you are in thumb position.
You have to think like a pianist who always knows the notes which are under his fingers.
If I use a diatonic position, I must remember all the notes which are under the thumb, 1st, 2nd and 3rd finger. Naturally when you study without vibrato, you improve your pitch.
In a few words. Bottesini was convinced that the way to hold a bow had to be like the one of cellist or violinist, so with the thumb on the stick and the other fingers a little far from from the frog. It was possible to touch also the bow hairs.
Well, Isaia Billè "invented" another way to hold a bow (The Italian Bow). So I call it "the italian bow". Because he understands that with the thumb on the stick, it was impossible to have a good sound and great
bowings. So he suggested to insert the thumb in the high parte of the " U " in the frog (see photo below), so to increase the powerful of bow on the strings (remember: too much pressure stops the "travelling sound" in the air).
Two different methods: today we can see doublebass players which use the first of the other position. For a "German Bow" there also are different ways to hold it.
This is Bottesini and his way to hold the bow.
Look at how far the fingers were from the frog.
Bottesini: here we can find about his technique, generally considered.
Look at the left arm ... the same position used by Karr.
P.s.: in this section or in the others I hope to have free time to talk about my technique and insert some exercises or scales or other.
I don't know if it can be helpful, but let's go on ...!!
This is a "special grip" that someone uses for
the French Bow.
Well, maestro Rabbath has got a great School of Bow, the french one with the thumb on the stick. But the other fingers are near to the frog.
Probably for "his bowings" he needs more grip.
With Italian bow (the Billè's one) the question doesn't exist or it's minimized (I see it with my students). Btw, it might be a valid support!!
In the Italian bow, with the thumb in the Frog, the hold is very strong ... if you like!
Well, I repeat the most important thing in this sort of fingerings in the thumb position: it can be chromatic, s.cr, diat. or all., but you must always know the position of the other notes under your fingers.
Ok! I remember that one time I bought (for mistake !!!) a book of fingered scales. Well, I told, let give a look at it. I paid it $ 48,00 (more shipments). It wasn't a book but some notes in which there were hand-written at least 300 ways of fingering the scales !!!
Incredible! I get off it!
There aren't good fingerings and bad ones, generally!.
But sometimes I see no very correct fingerings.
Btw., the important is to decide the own "School", better a "Method" to follow. Petracchi, Rabbath or other. It's up to you to do the better choise.
I use my favourite one, but it's very important to give a look at the other methods.
Just few words.
This concept of the fingerings in the thumb position using the chromatic position (cr.)
or semi-chromatics (s.cr.) or diatonic (diat.)
- then I add another fingering G+A1A#2C3 -
is not my invention. Franco Petracchi in his book has developed it (but there are other incredible technical exercises also starting from the neck).
Personally in "thumb position" I use the "thumb" in legato phrases or when I have to use a finger without vibrato. So it's the thumb that we consider fundamental in this technique, and the purpose is knowledge all the notes we have under every fingers, exactly like on the neck.
In Rabbath technique, that sometimes I use,
the concept is the opposite. The thumb is a point of referrement, the other fingers move like a "crab", closed and opened.
The better one? I don't know! Probably two both!
Pay attention ...!!!
Just bief explanations about the photos above.
1) These little and and very easy exercises are very important to reinforce your hold of the bow Italian and Frech one. I'm sorry but I don't know exactly the german bow, even if I sometimes uses it just to know better it. Gary Karr has told me: "Vito, you have to study the two both so you will have a complete knowledge of BOW ... then you might decide which of two ones is better for you". And he encouraged me to give also a look at German Bow.
it's one of the most important thing to obtain great ability of your right hand but expecially for your left hand. The last one will be able to provide you more agility and speed. At the same time, you will obtain "de relato" a better Vibrato. One day we will talk also about the different ways to vibrate.
You can use a weight like the one you see into the photo above, right arm. Then I will explain you my technique to obtain vibrato and the different types of it.
In this section we will analyze the technical exercises to obtain a quite good vibrato (and to compare the different ways to vibrate), expecially in the thumb position. Photos and descriptions.
The vibrato in a few words and in my personal and humble opinion.
The vibrato is basically an "effect", something different to enhance the sound. Excessive use of vibrato has no effect on the public, while the rational use makes the public more attentive. Depending on the type of composition, the musician can choose different ways to vibrate: narrow, wide, medium, late, stressed, very short, continued slow, fast, and so continued on. The sine wave of vibration should always have reference points on a scale of + / - 10 spectrum, for example. In my opinion,
vibrato should not be developed only in the range of -10 or less just +10. Vibration must be settled between the two parameters the musician chooses (eg, +3 -3, +4 -4 ...). Otherwise oscillation results in a continuous vibrato little unpleasant. Frenetic use of vibrato too tight (especially with very thin strings) in some cases is necessary, but in others it is better to avoid it. The skill of each musician lies in careful selection of this type of vibrato to use.
I always remember that the best vibrato on a doublebass is what follows the length wave of note that the musician plays. As the vibrato is also used to run the sound in the air, where it is simply too close to its capacity to make this sound to travel in this air. For those who plays a doublebass, this aspect should not be underestimated.
Asap ... I'll try to explain much other things
about the Vibrato, naturally following my personal ideas.
My vibrato it's no better than the other ones.
With great probability mine is worst.
But in my honest opinion it's no good if an advanced doublebass player "plays all notes with the vibrato".
Personally I choose. Then it depends from the historical period.
It's a long matter. Little by little I will try to provide simply my personal impressions.
|VIBRATO is a great challange for the students.|
|A good teacher knows when it's the time to begin to vibrate. Let's not forget that vibrato helps a lot in our tuning !!! Sometimes.|
FOR JAZZ PLAYERS OR BEGINNER STUDENTS
Very easy exercises simply on "open strings"
(with my students my book seems to work well!!) with explanation in Italian.
All the fingers on the stick seems to be in a quite good position. The thumb is in the higher
part of the "U " frog (all' Italiana), or on the stick (alla Francese). I beg your pardon but I don't very well the German bow. But probably there's something similar.
All the fingers moves "speedly" towards your right. The thumb moves also in this direction.
You must have a great grip on the string.
Speedly you move your fingers towards your left. Push with all the fingers on the stick.
Again towards your right and then on your left and so on.
The sound must be "staccatissimo" and very focused. Push on the stick and then stop the pressure.
I try to explain it with sheet musics.
_ _ _ _ _ _
Don't listen to the Tarantella by Bottesini, but give a look at the left hand and the right hand.
Well, in my conception we have to play with the left hand exactly like a pianist: a few movements and only little articulation in the fingers. We have to know that it's better to stay near to the string and we must know every notes under our hand. Few movements: only the ones we need really.
DB BASS SCALE PRACTICE BOOKLET
The traditional way to learn scales on the double bass is to open a method or scale
book, read the notes and follow the suggested fingering. You learn the sound of the
whole and half steps in each scale and eventually are able to predict the next note as you
go up and down the scale. This is an excellent way to train your ear. However, as an
electric bass player I had first learned scales as visual patterns on the fingerboard. The
aural training came after the visual. Eventually, after much practice, I could both “hear”
and “see” the various scales on my instrument.
When I decided to study the double bass, I discovered many books that provided an
almost infinite number of fingerings for scales. After constantly changing my fingerings
every time I bought a new book or read a new article suggesting the “best” way to learn
scales, I found myself totally confused. I decided to apply an electric bass concept to the
double bass! (Please don’t shoot me!) My idea was to come up with a system of learning
scales that would simplify the process for a beginner (me). The intent was not to replace
the existing methods, but to supplement them.
After much research, I concluded that by memorizing three basic patterns of major
scales, one could construct all scales by simply combining the patterns in different ways,
or even use the same pattern for all keys. This allows an individual to learn the 12
common keys in a fraction of the time it would take to learn 12 different fingerings. You
simply take the patterns and move them up, down and across the strings. A slight
alteration of the basic major patterns allows you to construct minor patterns. I guess you
could call this the “LEGO” system of scales.
For this system to work, the patterns must be moveable, i.e.: no open strings other
than the tonic of the scale. Other criteria I chose were: no 4-4 shift ascending, no 1-1 shift
descending, and, play at least 2 pitches before shifting (although not always possible).
I refer to the patterns as “forms”, and I provide a suggesting fingering for them. This
is not a rigid system, so one can certainly make alterations to suit one’s preferences.
Also, the examples provided are only a sampling of what can be done. There are
obviously many more possibilities and you are encouraged to experiment. You may also
find that some forms are not well suited for certain scales, but there are included
nonetheless for sake of consistency.
The booklet begins with a side-by-side comparison of the
forms and then
proceeds with a series of examples in 12 keys. Following this is a side-by-side
forms and some examples. I would recommend that you say out
loud the names of the notes as you play through the exercises. This project is still a
works-in-progress and there is more coming. Any suggestions or corrections are
1. Basic Major forms (Ionian).
2. Examples of the forms across strings,
3. Combining of Major forms for two octaves in 12 keys.
4. Basic Minor forms (Melodic, Natural [Aeolian], Harmonic, Dorian)
5. Examples of the forms across strings.
6. Combining of Melodic Minor form ascending and Natural descending for two
octaves in 12 keys.
7. Alternate Major forms (Lydian, Mixolydian, Pentatonic)
8. Alternate Minor forms (Pentatonic, Blues, Phrygian, Locrian)
Using the visual scale booklet.
I would begin by committing the Basic Major Forms to memory. Next, play one
octave scales using each of the closed Forms in all keys. Once you feel comfortable with
the one octave scales, you can combine the Forms to create two octave scales. The
booklet provides examples of these in all major keys. Some combinations work better
than others and that may become evident to you as you play. There are no strict rules and
you should experiment with various combinations to find which ones feel most
comfortable to you.
As you become more proficient, you can use this same approach with the minor
scales. I will eventually expand the booklet to include most common scales/modes in
both Classical music and Jazz so that it can serve both as a reference and a practice guide
Mr. FRANCO PETRACCHI's TECHNIQUE
Thanks to youtube we have an important video in three parts in which the italian soloist and teacher FRANCO PETRACCHI explains a lot of interesting things under different point of view.
I'm sorry but the video is only in Italian.
By the way if you listen to his music (or of his students) and look at his technique, probably you might understand a lot of things.
( Vito Liuzzi )
Collé means glued. It is a very short stroke, and begins with the bow lightly contacting the string with a distinct and short, sharp pinch. The bow is then lifted to prepare for the next stroke. The resulting sound was described by Galamian as being similar to pizzicato with the bow. Although collé usually has no articulation markings, dots are sometimes used.
Détaché indicates smooth, separate bow strokes should be used for each note (it does not mean detached or disconnected). Notes are of equal value, and are produced with an even, seamless stroke with no variation in pressure.
Détaché lancé is a variation of the détaché bow stroke. A slightly separated bow stroke is used to gently articulate the notes with an unaccented, distinct break between each note. It is often used in combination with the louré or porté stroke to perform several separated notes in the same bow.
Legato indicates the notes should be smoothly connected, played either in one or several bows (slurs are often used with the legato bow stroke).
Louré strokes are a short series of gently pulsed legato notes executed in one bow stroke (it is also known as portato). A slight swelling at the beginning of the note should be applied, followed by a gradual lightening of the sound. Strokes are distinctly separate, yet unaccented, and the expressive swell is produced by applying pressure and speed to the bow at the beginning of the note. Although a slur and horizontal dashes are generally used to indicate this effect, dots with slurs are occasionally used.
Martelé is a French term meaning hammered. Each note is percussive, and commences with a sharp accent or "pinch" at the beginning of the note, followed by a quick release. Before the bow is set in motion, the index finger applies this "pinch" or "bite" for articulation. Martelé may be notated in more than one way: with dots, hammer heads or accents.
Staccato indicates the bow should remain on the string to play shortened and detached notes, distinctly separate from successive notes. Staccato is sometimes used with slurs (slurred staccato) for a series of short, stopped notes played in the same up or down bow (many violinists perform slurred staccato as a series of slurred martelé strokes).
BOW STROKES: Off the String
Jeté means "thrown" in French. In this bow stroke, the bow is thrown on the string, and then bounces for several notes in the same bow direction. The height and speed of the bounce are regulated through factors such as the amount of pressure used by the index finger, and where the bow is initially thrown or placed.
Ricochet is a bow stroke where the bow is dropped on the string and rebounds (bounces) on the string for several notes in the same bow direction. The natural resiliency of the string helps the bow to bounce. As in the jeté bow stroke, the height and speed of the bounce are regulated through factors such as additional pressure used by the index finger, and where the bow is initially thrown or placed. Although ricochet and jeté are similar, some violinists consider jeté to be more of a controlled bounce than ricochet (there are some violinists who use these terms interchangeably).
Sautillé is a fast, bouncing or springing stroke in which the bow naturally bounces off of the string, producing a lighter, more rapid, and less percussive sound than spiccato. The natural resiliency of the bow is utilized to produce this light, fast stroke, and it is often played in the middle of the bow.
Spiccato is an off-the-string, controlled bouncing bow stroke which produces a crisp sound and very short notes. It is the slowest of the bouncing strokes.
Sometimes in different countries the terms above are a little bit different in this sense.
In Italy we considered "Balzato" and "Saltellato" a little bit different different from the definition quoted above.
We always use "Arpeggiato" and so on.
"Col Legno" or with wood.