Bass Blog

Michael Hovnanian formerly played bass with an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bowing du jour

As I mentioned, Abbado’s parts were highly marked with phrasings and bowings. The second movement passage for cellos and basses had divisi bowings. Something like this, although I didn’t take the part home and may not recall exactly.

Two not so good bowings in my opinion. I’ve always been a big fan of 4 notes to a bow throughout, even for

With the syncopated bowings, what I usually hear from students is something like


The A flat either gets an accent when the bow is yanked before the string crossing, or it is inaudible due to lack of sustain. Slurring across the string crossing (minor seventh) forces the legato. That’s my opinion anyway.

The scherzo bowings were traditional – starting down-bow, although the cellos started the passage beginning on the low ‘F’ up-bow while the bass part had the opposite. I’m not sure if this was consciously done, or an error that crept into the parts.

The trio had some interesting markings.

I have to say that this passage was not really together at the Thursday concert although I can’t blame Mr Abbado for that.

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