Playing in tune, album reviews, Scodanibbio, drones

There are lots of recitals happening this time of year but it seems everyone is being coy about what is on the program. Or maybe they’re cramming and hoping for the best. Who knows, but they aren’t letting us know so I’m not able to list them. Having a recital? Let me know!

However, Geoff and Lauren released a great conversation about playing bass in tune. And as part of that conversation Lauren made some excellent points about using drones and tuners to help with intonation.

Intonation is a perennial issue on bass. Our big long wavelengths get really hairy as we drift about. There are tons of ways to work on this, here’s an archive of lessons on double bass intonation here at Patternroot. Try these out and see if they help.

Also, Berio/Scodanibbio performed by bassist Mark Buchner.

Getting album reviews is the focus on the entrepreneurialist side. Get some thoughts on this and help your next recording go a little further.

Feb 7, 2016: Wooden Cube! Sequenza XIVb! Making a Double Bass!

Jan 31 2016: a Premiere, making bows, bass & electronics, auditioning

In the week ahead we’ve got prolific bassist Scott Worthington premiering a double bass work in LA.

In the week behind I posted a video on double bass bow making by JJ Augagneur, a quick brain dump of double bass (or anything really) performance ideas that aren’t recitals. some video of double bass & electronics featuring Kyle Motl, an LSO masterclass on auditioning for bass, and Upton Bass on the ever popular “how to put a bass in a car” topic.

As always: If you are doing a recital or performance with contemporary works for double bass on the program please let me know (Twitter: @patternroot or best of all, make a webpage somewhere with a headline that says something like “double bass recital insert-date-here” so everyone can find it!).

I should probably do an article in entrepreneurial arts as a how-to on making a reasonable web page for shows. So many that I find (especially at schools) where the only information is who is playing, what time, and where. It would be so much nicer to have information about the program etc. Maybe this week I’ll write something for this.

Broken formats, Mark Buchner, Bridges

This week there’s some Klaus Stoll on double bass dynamics, how to take care of your bridge (including how to jimmy it back into place), some thoughts and video resources that I think relate to some of the thinking at the NMG 2016, Mark Buchner performing some Xenakis and also catch the Curtis 20/21 ensemble.

If you know of any recitals, bass performances, etc. please let me know. I’m always on the lookout. I trawl the web every few weeks looking for them. In order to publish I need to know when/where and also what’s on the program.

See you soon!

pre-New Music Gathering 2016

I’m very much looking forward to attending the 2nd New Music Gathering in Baltimore later this week. Over the past year I’ve spent time getting to know a few of the attendees via my involvement with Musochat (speaking of, you can get the archives here and also hear a great interview of Shaya and two of the other co-conspirators here). It’ll be great fun to put faces to avatars. I’ve also done some thinking on community and marketplaces as a result.

Since last I did an update post I’ve added a bunch of great videos of  Frantisek Vyrostko playing some works for double bass by Carter, Scodanibbio, and Gajdos.

I wrote a little bit on revenue streams and pivoting based on a Future of Music Coalition post. I still need to write something based on my notes from their excellent conference this fall. Ah well.

New bass stuff out there on the interwebs

A couple of great new developments in past couple months as well. First, one of the inspirations for this site is Jason Heath’s blog. He’s fired it back up again as a podcast and it’s great. Very excited he’s back at it!

Also, I’m psyched that my friends Lauren Pierce and Geoff Chalmers have teamed up to do some youtubey goodness!

Tons of great info is likely to come from that duo.


Three years worth of business/music ideas, mic technique for double bass, music from Edicson Ruiz

This week’s updates could take quite awhile to wade through all at once. Here are some highlights.

Entrepreneurial Arts

I recently got hooked on mezzo-soprano Megan Ihnen‘s blog which focuses on new music, business, and singing. One of the things she has done for the past three Februaries is a post-a-day that is about improving oneself for doing music–musically, financially, health, the works.

I went through all three years and listed them out, gaving a few minor translation thoughts if you were to apply these ideas to the upright bass–not that you’d need much and of course links to the original posts which often include a bunch of excellent additional resources.

Three years worth of career and business advice for musicians all on one page. Enjoy!

How do you mic a double bass?

I’ve been doing a bunch of my own tests on double bass recording techniques and will eventually write something about that. But as a prelude, I made a quick tutorial on different mic techniques for dealing with bowed double bass.

There are images and, in some instances, audio. Try these out on your own recordings and see what works best for you.

Maintaining tone color as you ascend the neck

This week I posted a video lesson featuring Geth Griffeth, the MacGyver of the Double Bass, that talks about moving the sounding point of the bow.

Listening to new and newish music for double bass

I found a recording of Edicson Ruiz performing Kontrabass-Notenheft by Rudolf Kelterborn, which Ruiz performed recently in a recital in Switzerland.

Gennady Krutikov and Tatiana Porshneva take on the Glière Suite as well.

Recitals and performances

A relatively quiet week for bass performances, in addition to the Ruiz recital mentioned above, Samuel Rice gave Koussevitsky a turn over lunch in London.

As always let me know when your recital is going down so I can publish it here.

Digital Music History, Extended Technique Timber/Tone, Lauren Pierce

Quick update as the year comes to a close, here’s what’s been going on since I last posted an update:

Entrepreneurial Arts

The NYT did a little historical piece on Napster, the company that ushered in the sentiment that everything is free now. If you’re going to understand the climate of music entrepreneurialism, much of it revolves around what happened when this company launched and how industry and humans responded.

Upright Bass Lessons

Quite a few lessons hit Patternroot this week but the thing I really want to point out is Eric Daino’s paper on double bass extended technique since the 1960s. Great work, just a quick pass through the Table of Contents and you’ll want to dig in deeper.

Bass Listening Party

Lots here as always. This week I want to highlight Lauren Pierce from Austin and her version of Zigeunerweisen. A few reasons to pick this for special mention: Hey it’s a great tune and we love it, it’s played well with a fun arrangement, the video work is different from the usual static camera in a recital hall so it actually looks as fun as it sounds, and since I didn’t get anything into the music technology section this week you can admire the clever mid-side microphone arrangement in the lower right.

Double Bass Recitals and Performances

Upcoming performances include catching a Wichita Kansas broadcast of Divertimento Concertante performed by Mark Foley and Abadja Lutes performed by Greg Hamilton in Moorhead Minnesota.

It’s fun that both of these somewhat remote venues have a streaming option. So we can, for example, hear a piece for double bass and tape without having to be in Minnesota in January. Internet for the win!





Michael Klinghoffer, Malachy Robinson, Dominic Seldis, Mic Tests

Rolling through December here at Patternroot.

First up, I found a great collection of microphone tests on bowed double bass. I’ve been recording a bunch and let me tell you, figuring this sort of thing out is not for the faint of heart!

Microphone tests with the double bass, arco

In case you’ve wondered how different microphones might effect your own recordings, have a quick listen to these bowed bass mic tests in the Music Technology section.

Michael Klinghoffer bass extravaganza

Once you’ve drained your bank account to buy that Coles mic check out more of Michael Klinghoffer’s bass lesson about practicing and also a performance video of his performance of the first movement of “Ode for Double Bass,” written for him. Klinghoffer is playing at the International Society of Bassists 2015 Conference as well so I’m getting pretty excited about that.

Malachy Robinson, Irish Bassist of new and old music

Even though Patternroot is dedicated to works written past 1900 (what the heck do we really call this stuff anyway–it’s hard to call it “new” when it’s almost as old as Simandl’s New Method but it isn’t all contemporary either, let me know if you have a good word for it), I’m also into the old stuff.

Malachy Robinson, a bassist from Ireland, goes hardcore by breaking out the violone (and there’s photos that involve a wig too!). But I’ve got him slated for a concert later this month featuring brand new compositions form the Irish Composer’s Forum.

Looks like he’s into some great music and an active player so hopefully I’ll find more from him to post in the months ahead.

Dominic Seldis to premiere Tan Dun Concerto

The album Aloha from Lydney is pretty much on repeat and I wish Seldis would re-issue it in a digital format so more people could love it as much as I do.

In the meantime, however, you can here him give the world premiere of a Tan Dun Concerto for Bass next month.

Lots to Hear in the Bass Listening Party

If you can’t make it over to Amsterdam you can listen to fun and interesting music for contrabass from the comfort of your own easy chair or futon or bus seat or whatever by tuning into the Listening Party.

This past week we’ve had Lisa Dowling doing a voice and bass-as-percussion arrangement of “The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs” and “A Flower.”

We’ve also got Matthew Kline (who must be nearing the final phase of his masters under Mark Dresser) playing in a mixed ensemble from the Fresh Inc festival, Seunghee Lee’s Quintet.

Finally, there’s some great Balkan-style pizz with some great video of bass strings in motion from Nenad Vasilic.

Catch you all next time!

ISB recitals, tour finances, Karr driver

Lots added in this past week.

First up, ISB 2015 conference recital programs have been added. At least those with programs. From the looks of it they could have named it International Society of Bassist and New Music Conference because most of the recitals are filled with new music. Should be a pretty amazing event.

A bunch of lessons from Michael Klinghoffer’s “Mr Karr Would You Teach Me to Drive the Double Bass?” video series have been added to the Bass Lesson list. These are great for beginners and not-beginners alike. Each one delivered in Klinghoffer’s amusing deadpan style and containing a useful exercise to gain a specific skill on the bass.

Also some thoughts on Jack Conte’s (Pomplamoose) disclosure of his tour finances. While his band is indie rock, I think there might be some worthwhile entrepreneurial lessons for classical/new music ensembles hidden in there as well.

And of course the Listening Party for Bassists just keeps going and going. This week with performances by Nenad Vasilic, Schulhoff’s Concertino for Flute,  Viola and Contrabass, and Lisa Dowling’s recital performance of Carter’s Figment III.

Iggy Pop, Amplification, a ton of recitals and performances

This week I added in a great lecture by Iggy Pop on the music industry, much of it is relevant to any performer today and I hope you all find it as useful as I did. There are some positive examples and ideas of how to think about music distribution in the new “free” world of digital everything.

Also, I wrote a post on how amplification signal paths work for bass. It’s something that gets confusing all the time so I broke it down into every step of the way and which pieces of gear go where. If you’ve been considering doing something with amplification but weren’t sure how to get going,  hopefully this will help.

More recitals and concerts added  to add to the event list. As always, drop me a message if you have something going on. I want to help get the word out!

A bunch of great bass performances added to this week to the Listening Party. Also some great written posts on composer/bassist interaction and also analysis of a Hans Werner Henze piece.


Content populating

A few things in the past week keeping this site moving forward:

  • Category list settled for now.
  • I’ve got some recitals published along with the pieces performed. Hey if you’re doing a recital drop me a PM and also make sure your school or wherever is publishing the works you’re playing! So many recital pages out there that just say “Jane Smith is playing a recital on Saturday” and literally that is all it says.
  • Some great performances are scheduled in for the Listening Party section.
  • Lessons are starting to populate as well.

My next step is to get some of the music tech, entrepreneurial arts, and the sound glossary rolling. Once that’s all sorted, I will probably circle back and work on an intro video.

Mostly I’m just psyched to start putting in place all the reference stuff I’ve been looking at and thinking about lately. Just getting a list of “what are the pieces people perform on their recitals” has been fun.

Site build in progress

Patternroot is under way! When I’m done it’s going to be the absolute best resource for bassists and composers, songwriters, and producers who want to use make their bass even better.

All kinds of bass, all kinds of styles (secret fact about me: I spend most of my own time working on classical music!), for all performance situations.

Hang on and let’s see how good we get!