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When upright double bass music comes in different editions and arrangements

When searching for some upright double bass (sheet) music, you might occasionally notice that there is often more than one, two or even three editions of the same piece.  There could be many reasons for this, but here's a few:

As any bass player knows, because of the evolution of the performance capability and technical advancements of the bass over the years, composers (like Bach to Webern) didn't write for the bass back in their day. At least not like they did for the cello or violin.  Mostly because the basses (and bassists), just weren't ready for that.  Well, maybe the bassists were ready, but with the way the instruments were set up (very high strings, 3-stringed basses, big fat gut string diameters and low tension etc...) need I say more? Even now, anyone that has had their bass "updated" to today's set up standards can attest, even one millimeter less high on a G string (not buzzing!), will make a huge difference in facility.  (We strive for this kind of exacting set up on all of our basses.)

Through out the years though different bass players or teachers came up with different ideas and approaches.  For instance,  the Schubert Arpeggione Sonata (in A minor) is arranged by Stuart Sankey and also by Frank Proto.  Which one do you choose? If you are on a tight budget... I think I'd choose the cheapest one....first!  That will get you started.  If you can swing both parts,  I personally would get both.  Here's why:  While the music is the same, the bowings, the fingerings, even the phrasing will be different.  Both of these men (Frank and Stuart) great teachers and players, have great ideas to share in each edition they offer.  If I am studying a piece (and that Schubert is challenging!), I would get both editions to have more help and ideas than just the one part.  From my own personal experience,  I may get stumped with a spot (usually technical issue with a smooth shift or intonation) and need some help.  Looking at the same passage in the other edition, I'd sometimes find a completely different approach:  Different fingerings, different string choice, different positioning (even before that spot and after) and it would always (well almost always) save the day!  Sometimes the passage is just plain hard and you will have to well....practice it more!!

So if you really want to study a piece and play it your best, getting another arrangement and edition, while it takes more money, could be the best bass lesson (and cheapest) you've ever had.

Let's go back to the upright bass sheet music now.