Double bass and rhythm

Hi all,

today it was a really good session and I really enjoyed it!

I’m glad most of the participants had a clear idea of what the role of the bass in music is. Asked on the topic, they gave a wide range of answers, including the ‘typical’ functions of the bass such as accompaniment, deep harmonic support as well as rhythmical, but also bearer of melodies and able to produce intriguing timbres. I tried to demonstrate everything that was said, for example playing in several styles and using different techniques, such as bowing, pizzicato and some extended techniques (see video links at bottom page for some examples).

As today’s session was mainly dedicated to rhythms, I asked all the participants to write one bar of music for double bass, in any time signature and using several techniques. One of the essential requisite was to use some rests in the rhythm. Rests give music some breath but also are responsible for creating interesting rhythm combinations and make the music ‘groove’!

I ended up collecting several bars and played over all of them.


The second part of the session was dedicated to composition in pairs. I gave some suggestions to all the groups on how to incorporate double bass writing in their compositions, and at the end of the sessions we played through all the ideas, with very promising results!

During the lunch break I decided to do something with the individual bars that were written for double bass. Initially I wanted to produce a solo piece assembling all the bars. As I started working on it,  I had the idea for a duet for double bass and clarinet, for me and Jack McNeill to play at the concert on the 15th of March. Although I’ve made light changes to some bars, for example adding some details such as articulations and dynamics, or repeating some material and developing it, most of the bass line is the result of the participants creativity! I will now write a complementary clarinet part which will possibly use similar rhythms to maintain a certain coherence.


Below you can find some links to double bassist I like, to several videos explaining techniques and to some pieces by composers that I love, I hope you can find it useful. I can’t wait to work on the next session, when the compositions will have taken shape!

All the best,











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