Double Bass Solo Techniques reviews: 2008/10
[Techniquess Book]

Double Bass Solo Techniques is divided into sections according to the performance that is being employed in an excerpt: Slurred bowing, the lower half of the bow, bowing effects, off the string, harmonics, left-hand techniques and so on.
Hartley's extensive playing experience has enabled him to provide fingerings in the more challenging excerpts which he knows will work when the player finally gets to play the piece with an orchestra. The sections on harmonics and use of Tenor and Treble clefs imply that Hartley intends Double Bass Solo Techniques as a comprehensive set of excerpts for advanced players (Grade 6 and upwards.)
Excellent material for learning the orchestral repertoire while at the same time supporting the development of a good technique on the instrument.
Cathy Elliott, Music Teacher, February 2009

Wonderful source for performance suggestions for orchestral excerpts chosen by a fine double bassist. Gives Slurred Bowing suggestions and excerpts for passages such as the Presto from the Overture from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and the Andante con moto from Schubert's Symphony No. 8 "Unfinished" and etc; Using the Lower Half of the Bow with off-string-marcato strokes in excerts such as the Poco piu allegro from Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg (Act II) and the Allegro con fuoco from Chabrier's Espana and etc.; Using the Upper Half of the Bow with the Allegro con spirito from Brahms' Symphony No.2 and Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 and etc.; Natural and Artificial Harmonics; Tenor and Treble Clefs; Pizzicato Techniques; Left-Hand Techniques and much much more -- all in 31 pages!!!! (2008) Marvellous.
RMartin973, Alibris Customer review, February 2010

Whether one is a teacher or a student, we've all used a techniques book at some point to address technical developement. Mastering a particular aspect of technique, such as a bow stroke or left hand fingering pattern. can be aided by the repetitive and sequential exercises found in many etude and method books. Particular etudes often times mimic passages and techniques found in the orchestral and solo literature.
Whether one is a teacher or a student, we're all familiar the technical challenges found in the orchestral literature. This can be some of the most technically demanding music we play. To be sure, technical developement can be advanced by the careful study of orchestral excerpts and indeed, many excerpts can take on an etude like quality in their focus on a particular bow stroke, fingering or other technical challenge . "Why spend working out of techniques books when one could be honing their chops working on great music?" is a compelling idea put forward by some.
Keith Hartley sees the value of both and has combined them in his book Double Bass Solo Techniques. It is both an excerpt book and technical studies book. Excerpts have been selected and grouped together according to the particu1ar technique required for their execution. A brief explanatory note precedes each technique. This is an innovative and useful way to organize a book of excerpts. Mr. Hartley is also the editor of the Double Bass Solo Series (two volumes), which introduces students to the orchestral repertoire in an ascending order of difficulty.
Double Bass Solo Techniques begins with a short list of terms that are commonly found in orchestra parts and their definitions. The 11 sections that fol1ow are the real meat of the book: slurred bowings, using the lower half of the bow, using the upper half of the bow, bowing effects, spiccato, dotted rhythms, bowing patterns, harmonics, tenor and treble clefs, pizzicato techniques and left hand technques.
For example, when Using the Lower Half of the Bow section begins with the marcato stroke, which is aptly demonstrated by excerpts from Act I of Wagner's Meistersinger and Chabrier's Espana. Repeated Down-Bows is represented by Borodin's Symphony No. 2, and the martele du talon portion of this section by the fourth variation of Brahms's Variations on Theme by J. Haydn.
Bowing Dotted Rhythms section has a excerpts from Brahms's Symphony #4, Wagner's Lohengrin, Mahler's Symphony #2 and others. lt also includes the pique bowing ('shoe-shine') from Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique. Each section proceeds in a similar fashion - a particular technique is presented with excerpts that highlight it. Along the way some unusual excerpts make appearances such as Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Alban Berg's Wozzeck and Drei Orchesterstuck, and Janacek's Katya Kabanova Act 111.
The book is well laid out and handsomely produced. It is a slim 32 pages. Given the merit of the concept and the vastness of the subject, one wishes for a more substantial volume. Mr. Hartley and the Oxford Music Press should be encouraged to produce Volume 2. Review by Robert Black. Bass World 2009

This is a technique book and a collection of orchestral excerpts combined. Each section deals with something technical and each technique is backed up by several examples, always from the orchestral repertoire. Text boxes give details of what is required and tips on how to practise it. The examples vary in standard and are suitable for pupils from grade 6 upwards. Technique covered includes spiccato, bowing dotted rhythms, harmonics, and using the lower half of the bow. The print is clear and there is fingering throughout. This is an essential book for the more advanced bass pupil.
Wendy Owen, Ensemble magazine, September 08

This is an imaginatively produced book of orchestral excerpts for double bass.
Keith Hartley well known to many bass teachers and students through his books Double Bass Solo 1 and 2, has found an innovative way to study instrumental technique and orchestral excerpts at the same time. Over 70 excerpts from the standard symphonic and operatic repertoire are divided into sections mostly according to the bowing techniques employed, though harmonics are also considered and there is a short section devoted to acciaccaturas, appoggiaturas and trills at the end. If you need useful, relevant material to study slurs, upper and lower parts of the bow, spiccato, sautillé, hook bows and so on with more advanced students, look no further.
Cathy Elliott, ESTA News & Views 2008

Although the double bass has been played for hundreds of years, there are very few method books for the instrument that effectively build a relationship between facility and musicality for the player. Keith Hartley's Double Solo Techniques is the ideal resource to build a bridge between these two important aspects of double bass playing.
Whether you are a beginner wishing to learn new skills, a university student studying excerpts, or a professional preparing for orchestral auditions, this extremely useful volume will help you understand the marriage between technique and music making.
The use of real musical examples to bring musicality into the minds of learning technique is something that many method books avoid. Hartley's compilation, by contrast, incorporates more than 70 excerpts from the standard orchestral repertoire, ranging from Haydn and Mozart symphonies to Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Berg's Wozzeck. A glossary of useful musical terms opens the book before the survey of techniques begins with bowing methods used to achieve a smooth sound. Hartley goes on to discuss several other types of bowing and explores in detail how the positioning of the bow can achieve different bow strokes and effects. For each technique, one or more excerpts demonstrate the musical idea that the technique means to support. This allows players to recognise technical skills as the formative means of achieving the more important musical goals.
Each objective is prefaced by advice and explanation so that players will progressively learn throughout the course of the book, and each excerpt includes easy-to-understand suggestions for bowing and fingering to aid the execution of the particular technique being discussed.There is an extensive section on natural and artificial harmonics, widely used in both orchestral and solo literature, and also discussions of tenor and treble clefs, pizzicato and advanced left-hand techniques, all of which are explored in the musical examples.
Hartley has put together an excellent collection of music from the orchestral literature to demonstrate intermediate and advanced techniques used in music for the double bass. The excerpts are extremely efficient in conveying not only the proper procedure to execute the required skill but also the musical ideas behind them.
It is worth mentioning that the title may be misleading to some players. Although Double Boss Solo Techniques contains a vast collection of excerpts, Only one (Dragonetti's Concerto in A major) is from the standard solo literature for the instrument.
Review by Daniel Nix, The Strad, May 2009 (with thanks to the editor)

Double Bass Solo Techniques: A Book of Orchestral Excerpts edited by Keith Hartley. Oxford University Press, $19.95
Bassists will be happy with this book: in addition to technique-building tips it also has practical music examples taken from everyday orchestral repertoire. Text instruction is clear and concise, and the musical examples are substantial enough to allow players to practice the technique that is presented. Diving into the technical elements in the context of actual repertoire is a valuable approach, and teachers and students are likely to benefit from the excerpts. The music, ranging from Bach to Berg, includes more than 70 excerpts, and the techniques addressed include spiccato, harmonics, tenor and treble clefs, pizzicato, bowing effects, and others. This book is a practical resource for intermediate level students up through teachers, and provides ideal practice material for auditions and exams.
Graham Pellettieri, STRINGS MAGAZINE 2009 (USA)

The Double Bass Solo series introduces the student to pieces from the orchestral repertoire, introduced in order of difficulty. Thus they are successful tutor and technique books as well as invaluable collections of orchestral excerpts. Double Bass Solo Techniques combines the dual function of a technique book and a collection of orchestral excerpts. Each technique is preceded by an explanatory note, and the repertoire has been selected to showcase the technique in context. Ideal as preparation for auditions and exams.
OUP, 2008