Mudcat Café message #3218563 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #134838   Message #3218563
Posted By: GUEST,josepp
05-Sep-11 - 01:19 PM
Thread Name: Bought a double bass today
Subject: RE: Bought a double bass today
My bass instruction has a lineage. It starts with Franz Simandl, the first true bass pedagogue right around the middle of the 19th century at the Prague Conservatory. He had studied bass under Josef Hrabe. Among Simandl's students was guy named Ludwig Manoly who came to the conservatory to train as a choir singer but lost out because his voiced changed passing through puberty. He qualified for a bass scholarship the school was offering and studied under Simandl.

Manoly came to the US sometime around the turn of the century, I think--maybe before. Among his students was Henry Reinshagen who became the teacher of Charles Mingus. Another student of Reinshagen was Frederick Zimmerman of New York. Zimmerman is known as the foremost pedagogue of bass in the United States. Zimmerman worked on adapting classical pieces played on other instruments to double bass. He turned the bass into a soloing instrument in
American orchestras. One of Zimmerman's students was the great Eddie Gomez who played for the Bill Evans Trio. Gomez, if you've ever heard of seen him play, is one of the finest bassists alive. I watched him playing scales on one string--shooting up and down the fingerboard so fast you couldn't see his fingers moving--just a blur.

One of the hallmarks of Simandl/Zimmerman pedgogy is the use of the German bow over the French bow. The German bow was actually developed by a superb Italian bassist of the 19th century named Domenico Dragonetti. Zimmerman, however, was also an expert on the French bow. Eddie Gomez stated that when he started learning to bow, he preferred the French bow. He said Zimmerman tried to talk him out of it go with the German but Gomez said the German didn't feel right in his hand and French bow just felt more natural so Zimmerman taught Gomez bowing via the French bow but he himself preferred German and recommended German bow to all his students. Gladstone used it, he taught my instructor to use it and he is teaching me to use it even though I started off trying to the use the French one. Pretty much all Japanese bassists use German bow. They are schooled in Simandl over there. My Simandl lesson book has parallel texts in English and Japanese so we study right out of the same lesson book.

Another student of Zimmerman's was the aforementioned William Gladstone who left the New York Philharmonic to play in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra where he spent the rest of his career but he also taught at Michigan State University where my instructor became a student and he also taught the current principal bassist of the DSO--Linton Bodwin.

So that's my pedagogic lineaqe.