by Jim Lambert


Selected Books

  • Borgir, Tharald The Performance of the Basso Continuo in Italian Baroque Music 1987, UMI Research Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan. lSBN O-8357-19l2-X. Concentrating chiefly on the music of 17th century Italy, this is a very interesting book, though not without some controversial ideas. Includes chapters on the violone and performance practice.
  • Brun, Paul Histoire des contrebasses à cordes 1982, La Flute de Pan, 55, rue de Rome, Paris, French text. Later revised and translated into English as A History of the Double Bass 1989, published by the Author, 1, Chemin de Ia Flanerie, 59650 FRANCE. Not very thorough and a bit disorganized, yet Brun has managed to dig up a few things some other writers have not discussed in great detail. Worth having for this and for its French perspective.
  • Corrette, Michel Méthodes pour apprendre à jouer de la Contrebasse à 3, à 4, et à 5 cordes, de la Quinte ou Alto et de la Viole d’Orphée 1781, reprinted 1977 by Minkoff, Geneva, lSlBN 2-8266-O663-8. French text. A genuine 18th century Double Bass method. Extremely elementary and perfunctory (perhaps Corrette didn’t expect much from bassists!), but worth a look.
  • Dreyfus, Laurence Bach’s Continuo Group Players and Practices in His Vocal Works 1987, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. ISIBN 0-674-06O3O-X. A very important book dealing with Bach’s use of continuo instruments with much commentary on the various types of Violoni employed by him.
  • Elgar, Raymond Looking at the Double Bass 1967. Published by the Author. Available from Lemur Musical Research, P.0. Box 462335, Escondido, CA 92046-2335, A pictoral dictionary of Double Basses with examples representing all the major schools of Bass making. Many photos of 17th and 18th century instruments.
  • Mejer, Adolf Konzertante Musik für Kontrabaß in der Wiener Klassik Schriften zur Musik, Band 4, 1969. Revised edition, 1979. Pub. Musikverlag Emil Katzbichler, München-Salzburg, lSBN 3-87397-OO4-X. German text. A must-have book dealing with theunique school of solo and ensemble Bass (Violone) playing in the Viennese Classical era. Chapters on the type of instrument used, its tuning, technique, and solo and divertimento literature.
  • Mozart. Leopold A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing 1755. English Translation 1948 by Editha Knocker. Pub. Oxford University Press, Walton St.. Oxford OX2 SDP, England. lSBN 0-19-318513-X. Although a Violin method, Mozart makes some passing references to theViolon. This book is of great practical use as it provides a look at the style of string playing in mid-late 18th century Austria and Germany.
  • Planyavsky, Alfred Geschichte des Kontrabasses 2nd substantially expanded printing. 1984. Pub. Musikverlag Hans Schneider, Mozartstr. 6. D-8132 Tutzing, Germany. lSlBN 3-7952-0426-7. German text. It you intend to get only one book, this would have to be it. This is the largest, most well-researched work on the Double Bass yet to appear, with information on the origins of the Bass, terminology, the bow, construction, performance practice Bass Players, Bass Makers, musical and pedagogical literature, technique, and more. Over 900 pp., the first 400 of which cover up to the year1800. Contains the most thorough and convincing refutation ot the Violone-Violoncello argument. Along with many musical examples and illustrations, the book also contains an extensive bibliography of primary scources, books, articles, and essays, a list of compositions, and a discography. Very expensive (DM 440, about US $275. in 1989) but an absolutely indispensable work.
  • Der Barockkontrabass Violone (1989) Wiener Kontrabass-Archiv. The title is self-explanatory. Clarifies further the identity of the Baroque double bass and expands still further ideas discussed in the above book.
  • Praetorius, Michael Syntagma Musicum Vol. 2, De Organographia, 1st and 2nd parts. Translated into English by Harold Blumenfeld. Pub. 1972 by Da Capo Press. Inc., 227 W. 17th St., New York, NY 10011. lSBN 0-306-70563-X. A very important treatise on the state of music making in Germany in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. All kinds of instruments and performing practices are described, with several references to the Violone or Groß Baßgeige. Contains the woodcut illustrations from Theatrum Instrumentorum.
  • Salmen, Walter (Ed.) Kontrabaß und Baßfunktion Vol. 12 Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Musikwissenschatt. Pub. 1986 by Edition Helbling, A-6021 Neu-Rum bei Innsbruck. Kaplanstr. 9, Austria. German text. A collection of papers given at a convention in 1985 in Innsbruck, mostly on the subject of the Double Bass or Violone in the 17th-18th centuries (with one stray article on the bass Zink!). A very nice collection of reports by eminent players, makers, and musicologists.
  • Woodfield, Ian The Early History of the Viol 1984, Cambridge University press. lSBN 0-521-35743-8. Though dealing with the viol family as a whole, references are made to the emergence and use of Contrabass Viol.