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«2008-04-27 Solo Techniques for Unaccompanied Pizzicato Jazz Double Bass Larry James Ousley University of Miami, ousley Follow this and ...»

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Second, utilizing an open string means the performer must only stop one note, which is far easier that stopping two notes simultaneously. Third, open strings provide the performer with options to play low “bass” notes while soloing in upper registers of the instrument. Fourth, open strings have the best sustaining qualities, allowing the performer to let “bass” notes ring while performing melodic passages that may shift positions. The enormous advantages provided by the use of open strings often influence the performer’s choice of key. These non-transposable double stops will be examined in the context of each individual open string. Due to the nearly limitless number of double stops made available by the use of open strings with stopped notes, all possible combinations will not be listed. However, specific examples and techniques will be

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Open E String The open E string may be combined with any other note on the A, D, or G string to sound a double stop interval. While smaller intervals (minor second, major second, minor third, major third) are not possible with the open E string due to the tuning structure of the bass, all other intervals within the range of the double bass are available and usable to the performer. Due to the low pitch of the open E string, it is often very useful to voice the top notes of the desired interval one or two octaves higher. For example, to voice a major third interval with the open E string on the bottom, the top note is a G#. (This is not even playable on the bass, since the locations of both notes are only found on the E string, and even if it was playable, the interval would sound very unclear due to the low register.) However, if one voices the G# up one or two octaves, the pitches blend very well. Measure one of example 4.1 illustrates the interval of a major tenth using the open E string.

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The left hand technique for voicing double stops utilizing the open E string should be the same as if one were performing a single note in any other normal situation. The right hand technique for plucking double stops utilizing the open E string can vary, but

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Open A String When combining the open A string with a note from the D or G string, the technique is virtually identical to the open E string section above. It is also possible to combine the open A string with a note on the E string. Some of these combinations could be used to produce effects (such as playing an A on the E string and the open A string in unison), and some combinations are very useful for chord voicings. For instance, plucking the open A string while playing the E octave harmonic (or as a stopped note) produces the interval of a fifth. It could also be combined with a third note, such as a C# on the D string to voice an A Major tenth chord. This is illustrated in measure 2 of Example 4.1. Care must be taken in the left hand to avoid touching or muting the open A string while fingering notes on the E string.

Open D String The open D string can be combined with any note on the G string to perform double stop intervals utilizing normal left hand performance technique. When combining the open D string with notes on the E or A string, care must be taken not to mute or touch the open D string with the left hand. Many useful interval combinations can be played in this manner, such as voicing a perfect fifth with the open D string as the top note and stopping a G on the E string as the bottom note. This is illustrated in measure 3 of Example 4.1.

Open G String The open G string can be combined with any other note on the E, A, or D string to perform double stop intervals. Care must be taken not to mute the open G string with the

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in this manner, utilizing the open G as either the top note or the bottom note of the interval. For example, using the open G as the top note, one can produce a Major sixth by stopping a Bb on the A string. This is illustrated in measure 4 of Example 4.1. Using the open G as the bottom note of an interval, one can produce a Major third by playing a B on the D string. This is illustrated in measure 5 of Example 4.1.

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Transposable double stops do not utilize open strings and can therefore be played in any key and in many registers of the bass. They involve stopping two different notes on different strings. This section will be divided into double stop techniques for normal hand position and thumb position. Non-conventional and extreme upper register fingerings will not be covered in this study.

Normal Hand Position Normal hand position of the left hand is defined as spanning the range of a wholestep between the first finger and the fourth finger, with the second finger located at the half-step between the other fingers, and with fingers of the left hand at right angles to the fingerboard. For example, on the D string, the first finger stops an F, the second finger stops the F#, and the fourth finger stops the G. This section will deal with double stops played horizontally across all four strings without stretching the fingers vertically beyond this natural “normal” hand position. There are often alternate fingerings available for various intervals. The most natural fingerings will be presented here, but in the context of a particular performance, it is perfectly acceptable to use “what works” in relation to

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the performer to turn the left hand downward so that the fingers point towards the bridge rather than at a 90 degree angle to the strings.

Minor third. The interval of a minor third may be played by stopping the lower note with the fourth finger and the higher note with the first finger on the higher neighboring string. For example, playing a C on the E string with the fourth finger and playing an Eb on the A string with the first finger produces a minor third. Measure one of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable minor third double stop interval.

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Major third. The interval of a major third may be played by stopping the lower note with the second finger and the higher note with the first finger on the higher neighboring string. For example, playing a C on the E string with the second finger and playing an E on the A string with the first finger produces a major third. Alternately, major thirds can also be played by using the fourth finger for the lower note and the second finger for the higher note. Measure 2 of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable

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Perfect fourth. The interval of a perfect fourth may be played in a few ways.

One way is to barre a single finger across two neighboring strings at the same location.

For example, playing a C on the E string with the first finger and flattening the finger so it also depresses the F on the A string produces a perfect fourth. This “barre” technique requires some bending of the left wrist. The second, third (in upper registers), or fourth fingers can also be used in this manner. Measure 3 of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable perfect fourth double stop interval. Another way to play a perfect fourth is to stop the C with the second finger, stop the F with the third finger, and rest the first finger over the E for support. Alternately, the first finger could be used to play the C and the second finger to play the F. Measure 4 of Example 4.2 illustrates these alternate fingerings. Both of these fingerings require turning the left hand downwards so that the fingertips point more towards the bridge.

Augmented fourth. The interval of an augmented fourth may be played by stopping the lower note with the second finger and the higher note with the fourth finger on the higher neighboring string. For example, playing a C on the E string with the second finger and playing an F# on the A string with the fourth finger produces an augmented fourth. Alternately, the C could be played with the first finger and the F# with the second finger. Measure 5 of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable augmented fourth double stop interval.

Perfect fifth. The interval of a perfect fifth may be played by stopping the lower note with the first finger and the higher note with the fourth finger on the higher

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playing a G on the A string with the fourth finger produces a perfect fifth. Measure 6 of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable perfect fifth double stop interval.

Minor sixth. The interval of a minor sixth may be played by stopping the lower note with the fourth finger and the higher note with the first finger two strings higher.

For example, playing a C on the E string with the fourth finger and playing an Ab with the first finger on the D string produces a minor sixth. Measure 7 of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable minor sixth double stop interval.

Major sixth. The interval of a major sixth may be played by stopping the lower note with the second finger and the higher note with the first finger two strings higher.

For example, playing a C on the E string with the second finger and playing an A on the D string with the first finger produces a major sixth. Measure 8 of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable major sixth double stop interval.

Minor seventh. The interval of a minor seventh may be played a few ways. The most natural position is performed by stopping the lower note with the second finger and the higher note with the third finger two strings higher. The first finger presses down in support. For example, playing a C on the E string with the second finger and playing a Bb on the D string with the third finger (while resting the first finger over the A on the D string) produces a minor seventh. Alternately, the C could be played with the first finger and the Bb with the second finger. A third possibility would be to barre a single finger over three strings, though this is more useable in combinations that utilize the A and G strings. Measure 9 of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable minor seventh double stop

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Major seventh. The interval of a major seventh may be played by stopping the lower note with the second finger and the higher note with the fourth finger two strings higher. For example, playing a C on the E string with the second finger and playing a B on the D string with the fourth finger produces a major seventh. Alternately, the C could be played with the first finger and the B with the second finger. Measure 10 of Example

4.2 illustrates a transposable major seventh double stop interval.

Octave. The interval of an octave may be played by stopping the lower note with the first finger and the higher note with the fourth finger two strings higher. For example, playing a C on the E string with the first finger and playing a C on the D string with the fourth finger produces an octave. Measure 11 of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable octave double stop interval.

Minor ninth. Using conventional fingerings in lower positions of the neck, the interval of a minor ninth may only be performed by utilizing the E and G strings. A minor ninth may be played by stopping the lower note with the fourth finger (on the E string) and the higher note with the first finger (on the G string). For example, playing a C on the E string with the fourth finger and playing a Db on the G string with the first finger produces a minor ninth. Measure 12 of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable minor ninth double stop interval.

Major ninth. Using conventional fingerings in lower positions of the neck, the interval of a major ninth may only be performed by utilizing the E and G strings. A major ninth may be played by stopping the lower note with the second finger (on the E string) and the higher note with the first finger (on the G string). For example, playing a

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finger produces a major ninth. Measure 13 of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable major ninth double stop interval.

Minor tenth. Using conventional fingerings in lower positions of the neck, the interval of a minor tenth may only be performed by utilizing the E and G strings. A minor tenth may be played by stopping the lower note with the second finger (on the E string) and the higher note with the third finger (on the G string). For example, playing a C on the E string with the second finger and playing an Eb on the G string with the third finger produces a minor tenth. Alternately, the C can be played with the first finger and the Eb with the second or third finger. Measure 14 of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable minor tenth double stop interval.

Major tenth. Using conventional fingerings in lower positions of the neck, the interval of a minor tenth may only be performed by utilizing the E and G strings. A major tenth may be played by stopping the lower note with the second finger (on the E string) and the higher note with the fourth finger (on the G string). For example, playing a C on the E string with the second finger and playing an E on the G string with the fourth finger produces a major tenth. Alternately, the C can be played with the first finger and the E with the second or third fingers. Measure 15 of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable major tenth double stop interval.

Natural Eleventh. Using conventional fingerings in lower positions of the neck, the interval of a natural eleventh may only be performed by utilizing the E and G strings.

A natural eleventh may be played by stopping the lower note with the first finger (on the E string) and the higher note with the fourth finger (on the G string). For example,

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fourth finger produces a natural eleventh. Measure 16 of Example 4.2 illustrates a transposable natural eleventh double stop interval.

Thumb Position Thumb position allows for many more intervallic possibilities and fingerings.

Rather than reiterate all of the intervals discussed in the previous section and adapting them with all of the fingering combinations that thumb position provides, this section will only deal with techniques specific to thumb position.

The two typical hand positions for playing in thumb position differ by the distance between the thumb and the first finger, which can be a half-step or a whole-step.

Both positions are valid and usable. It is very possible to stretch the hand position in thumb position to allow for even wider intervals, especially on neighboring strings.



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