Examination of mid-nineteenth century double bass playing based on A. Müller and F.C. Franke’s discourse in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, 1848 – 1851
Name: Shanti Nachtergaele Main Subject: Violone Research Coach: Anna Scott Title of Research: Examination of Mid-Nineteenth Century Double Bass Playing Based on A. Müller and F.C. Franke’s Discourse in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, 1848 – 1851: With a discussion of the relevance of historical techniques to modern conventional and historically informed (‘HIP’) performance practices Research Questions: • Should historical double bass techniques be incorporated into historically informed performance (‘HIP’) practices today, and how can historical techniques be used to enhance modern performances? • Who was F.C. Franke, what insights can he and August Müller provide about the state of double bass playing c. 1850, and which of their ideas can be applied by double bassists today? • Can Müller’s and Franke’s contrasting ideas be combined, and what benefits does this integration offer to both ‘HIP’ and mainstream modern performers? Summary of Results: In the period 1849 - 1851, a collection of articles by A. Müller and F.C. Franke appeared in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, which discussed various aspects of double bass playing. The two double bassists agreed on some points, including that the double bass has a very important role in the orchestra, that there was a lack of good double bass players at the time, and the general characteristics of a good instrument; but they debated other subjects, such as playing stance, left hand technique, bow technique, the components of daily practice, and the common practice of simplifying double bass parts. Their discussion on these topics has implications for historically informed performance, especially in regards to the performance of orchestral works. During my presentation I will briefly discuss the historical background of my research, including biographical information, the state of double bass playing in the mid-nineteenth century. Using recorded audio and video examples and live demonstrations, I will then discuss the practical components of this artistic research: Franke’s and Müller’s opposing fingering methods, and Müller’s suggested modifications of the double bass parts of Beethoven's symphonies. Biography: Shanti Nachtergaele grew up in California (USA), and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Double Bass Performance from Shenandoah Conservatory, where she studied with Donovan Stokes. She currently studies historic double bass and 8’ violone with Maggie Urquhart, and is interested in exploring historical perspectives of bass pedagogy and technique. Her research won the student division of the 2014 International Society of Bassists Research Competition, and she has been invited to present at the ISB’s 2015 convention.