Saturday September 26, 2020
Silvio Dalla Torre
Chameleon Double Bass Double Bass as Solo Instrument? Tunings Playing Techniques I Playing Techniques II - About François Rabbath - La Technique - en détail  · The bent End Pin  · L'archet Rabbath  · The Crab Technique  · Positions - sorted! New Dutch School

Positions - sorted!

Hand on heart: can you answer the question as to how many positions double bass playing has? There is some disagreement here, or shall we say chaos? While violinists, viola players and cellists describe the positions on their instruments according to the diatonic scale which is a logical system, all attempts by double bass players to establish an intelligible classification for positions have failed. This is because with other string instruments a position simply describes the range of notes achievable by all the fingers with no hand shifts. If this system is applied to the double bass, the traditional fingering system counts an impressive 15 positions if only the established orchestra pitch range up to annotated c" is taken into account. However, considered from the point of view of the demands made on a solo player, there are 27 positions! That was too many even for Simandl, which is why he took over the "half position" from the violin technique (although it is debatable whether this makes sense in double bass playing) and conceived the so-called "between positions" which subsequent generations have also called "higher thumb positions". As he no longer counted after the thumb position, quite a few double bass players still consider playing in the high positions to be a bit of a "grey zone".

The "Nouvelle Technique" is not divided into (hand) positions but into arm positions. And there are only six of these based on the entire length of the fingerboard. This simplifies mental organisation of the notes quite considerably in all areas of playing.