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Topic: Bass notation?

  1. #1

    Bass notation?

    When writing for Double basses below low E, are you supposed to make any notes in the score about being tuned differently. Or is the bass that plays down to low C a different instrument? Or do you just write it as is and let them figure it out?

  2. #2

    Re: Bass notation?

    After doing a little research I\'ve found that there are \"4 string\" basses with attatchments to facilitate the lower notes as well as \"5 string\" basses which can tune their lowest string to C or even B. I am still wondering how to indicate this in a score however.

  3. #3

    Re: Bass notation?

    Hi Tim,

    It\'s pretty simple actually. As just stated some doublebasses have the low 5th C string.
    In a standard prof. orchestra only a few members of the bass group will play on this instrument.

    You just write the low notes like all the others, and those under the low E will be played by the 5 string basses alone.

    The opening of R. Strauss\' \"Also Sprach Zaratrusta\" is low C in the basses. If think he doubles with the organ though. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  4. #4

    Re: Bass notation?

    If you are writing for live musicians definitely check with the bass players to make sure they have the extension before you send them the parts.

    Be very careful what you write down there. That is one thick string and the players will be playing the full length of the string. Its not a very focused sound at all and most string libraries make it sound better than it does in a live situation.

    Its great for those very earthy and volcanic rumbles and can punctuate fairly well when pitch definition is not a high priority.


    Composer & Symphonist
    Music For Cinema & Soundtracks
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    Email: andybrick@aol.com
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  5. #5

    Re: Bass notation?

    No need to add special message or notation for Contrabass notes lower than the low E. Bassists will let the players with extensions play the lower notes; those without extensions will transpose up an octave. Although the part may not sound exactly like you intend, even if no bassist has an extension the notes will be played up an octave and require no special indication.

    Bill Cunningham

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