Tuesday May 23, 2017
Silvio Dalla Torre
The Bassetto in History My Bassetto Bassetto Practice - Use / Literature - Playing Technique - Methods / Tutors - FAQs

Playing Technique

Since it was only by way of the expanded tech-
nical possibilities of the "New Dutch School" that the approach to the bassetto opened up for me,
a command of this technique is a sensible basis for learning the bassetto. There are alternatives, but they seem to me to be cumbersome. I con-
sider the four-finger technique to be essential – after all the other string instruments that are tuned in fifths are played in this way. With the Simandl technique, too many position shifts
would be necessary. Thus, for example, to play
a two-octave D major scale (ascending and descending) with the three-finger technique would require eight shifts, while with the four-finger technique it needs only two! Of course not all keys can be managed so conveniently, but the bassetto is relatively comfortable to play; in my opinion more comfortable than the fourths-tuned double bass. (This is particularly the case when an instrument with a shorter scale is used.) In particular, the strings speak significantly better, and less pressure is necessary (with the right hand as well as with the left) because the strings are thinner. Also not to be underestimated is the excellent playing feel that results from the superb resonance provided by the high fifths tuning G-D-A-E. With this, still more sound "comes back" than with the
C-G-D-A tuning, which is in its turn more resonant than the E-A-D-G and F#-B-E-A tunings.