Although everyone on the internet knows what a blog is, the term is of a relatively recent legacy. The blog has evolved from the original “Usenet” groups in the late 1980ties, where some members have used them to post the sequence of individual entries instead of discussion threads. During the nineties, the evolution of blog has continued through the manually updated web sites featuring individual entries. About that time the idea of personal “online diary”, which is a characteristic of all modern blogs, have originated too. Yet the true differentiation of blogs as a separate category has started with the arrival of specialty software that provide the subject specific “pages” posted in reverse chronological order – or as we perceive them today, a publicly accessible personal journals of an individual or a company.
The very term blog has its roots in a shorthand of “web log” which apparently has been coined by Peter Merholz in 1999. This year in particular, or the onset of the 21st century in general, may be considered the starting point of the modern blogging. On a global scale the blogs have become alternative news tools that have gained in credibility over the the established newspaper and other media outlets. The blogs have allowed a small proprietor of any profile to attempt, and sometime even to succeed, in competing with the large corporate entities. Yet, as with most things that are initially ground-breaking, so have the blogs become common and widespread – and perhaps are not as appealing as they used to be. Also, since the blogs have become mainstream around 2004, when the software for their public use have become widely accessible, so you will note in the listings bellow that the majority of bass blogs have been created sometime after that year.
From the perspective of academic bass research, the blogs – although relatively recent in appearance – have certainly brought a significant change in a way we perceive and process information in our field. Specifically, the difference is in the wealth and quantity of up-to-date information on the global scale, that would have been unthinkable even just two decades ago. Thus, an attempt has been made here to systematize and feature all of the bass blogs that offer relevant data for the bass profession and academe.
Needles to say, the majority of these blogs were conceived both as the information dissemination tools, and as the personal promotion outlets. Therefore, from the current online blog offering only these were selected that contain some information relevant to the academic – professional – historic, or perhaps musicological part of our trade. Almost none of the featured blogs can be categorized as strictly academic in that sense, yet the amount and diversity of information you will find in them, in many instances surpasses the best that the bass history literature can provide. Among the blog listings, you will also find the category of podcasts, since they can be considered a type of sound-blog and are actually featured on blog-serving platforms as well. Lastly, the selection featured bellow can be considered a personal choice too – although the one that can easily be amended, should the good argument be offered in return.
- Blog de Roberto Terrón
- DoubleBassExcerpts Blog
- Double Bass Blog – “il Contrabbasso” – Vito Liuzzi
- Double Bass Podcast – Peter Jones
- Friedrich Witt – “Ein Kontrabass Spielt (Selten) Allein“
- Hella Frisch – Matt Heller
- Jason Heath’s Double Bass Blog
- Jonas Lohse – Double Bass Guide
- Jonas Lohse – Kontrabassblog
- Michael Hovnanian – Chicago Symphony Orchestra
- Musical Reminiscences : Robert Meyer – Playing the Double Bass
- Peabody Conservatory – Double Bass Blog
- Solo Double Bass Recordings – Complete Bibliography
- Upright Bass
Blog de Roberto Terrón
Description: The blog presents variety of personal contributions, including interesting series of Ludwig Streicher posts, various reviews and personal bass arrangements. In addition, there is also a lovely and informative post on Schubert’s Trout and the other contemporary (and later) chamber pieces that may deserve a better place in our chamber repertoire. A well written article by Xosé Crisanto Gándara on Streicher’s biography and his involvement with Spanish bass pedagogy is worth noting.
Created by: Roberto Terrón (2012) – Principal bass “Orquesta Sinfónica de la RTVE”, Madrid, Spain
Description: A meeting point for sharing information on all bass events taking place in Spain. An updated information on concerts, courses and bass links. Featured are also sections on Humor, Instruments for Sale, Youth Orchestra. The blog also features a wonderful gallery of bassist from our past. The overall impression is of a well made blog dedicated to Spanish bass events and heritage.
Created by: Jonathan Camps (2008) – Profesor at “Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya” in Barcelona and a member of “Orquesta Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya”
Description: A blog designed to be of service as an educational resource to bassists wishing to prepare for orchestra auditions. Aside form offering a good amount of audition advice, this blog can be a very useful tool at the time when you don’t have the audition books, because it contains the music for all the standard bass excerpts. In technical terms you may even try to put your tablet on a stand to read the notes straight from the screen. As an audition help-tool the blog also offers several reference music video-samples for each excerpt, performed by the world’s top orchestra. There are also a practice midi files for individual use – so the audition practice experience may be considered complete. Lastly, a nice feature is a listing of audition-advice videos from the top players in profession that may be worth of interest to both professors and students. In essence this blog is a small audition self-prepare guide, for the time when you need a refresher course from the conservatory days.
Created by: Michael O’Gieblyn (2013) – Freelancer bassist in Nashville, TN, USA
The Double Bass Blog – “il Contrabbasso” – Vito Liuzzi
Description: As anyone who has been acquainted with the online work of Vito Luizzi will attest – any casual attempt to systematize his contributions on the net will be bound to fail. Vito was contributing on his site and this blog in such an amount and diversity that only by chance you may find exactly what you would wish for. YET that aside, you will ultimately find here something of interest to you, regardless of your intent – since the quantity and diversity of the bass materials are simply world unique. Literally every aspect of bass trade, pedagogy, technique, repertoire, instruments or other sub-categories of bass interests, can be found here – along with much unique information related to the Italian bass schools that can hardly be found elsewhere.
Langauage: Italian (the blog offers Google auto-translation option)
Created by: Vito Liuzzi (2009)
The Double Bass Podcast – Peter Jones
Description: Podcast blog featuring interviews with established bass players, auditions advice, auditions excerpts, solo repertoire, orchestra bass profession topics. The blog contains 13 podcasts.
Created by: Peter Jones (Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, Canary Islands, Spain)
Blog Activity: 2005-2009
Friedrich Witt – “Ein Kontrabass Spielt (Selten) Allein“
Description: “The experience from the 45 exceptional years as a solo-bass of the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan” by Berlin Philharmonic bassists Friedrich Witt. This podcast blog consists of 10 episodes with the commentary, that appeared from 2005-2008. The episodes feature leading conductors, commentaries on the evolution of orchestra technique and the general aestetics of the orchestra music making over the last five decades. You will find here much of the personal information on the author, his orchestra colleagues and along also many invaluable references to the Berlin Philharmonic musicians’ lifes. In these episodes we witness a unique perspective of the emergence of Berlin Philharmonic as a world’s most prominent orchestra after the Second World War and under the leadership of Herbert von Karajan. There are also many invaluable insights in to the first American tours of the Berlin Philharmonic that are well illustrated with contemporary photos – and many other valuable contributions for those interested in Berlin’s orchestra tradition.
Created by: Friedrich Witt (Berlin Philharmonic under Karajan)
Blog Activity: 2005-2008
Hella Frisch – Matt Heller
Description: This blog featuring orchestra related bass themes such as: auditions advice, orchestra pieces, chamber repertoire, masterclasses, conventions, Calgary Philharmonic repertoire and other musings of a qualified orchestra player.
Created by: Matt Heller (Calgary Philharmonic bassist)
Blog Activity: 2005 – 2009
Jason Heath’s Double Bass Blog
Alternate Link: http://jasonheath.blogspot.com/
Description: One of the best and most comprehensive blogs ever conceived – covering all aspects of professional bass trade in North America and worldwide. Featured topics include: auditions, interviews, performances, repertoire, early bass – historical practice, luthiers, master classes, bass instruments, bass equipment of all profiles, the on-the-job “gig” stories and lastly the variety of other memorabilia that constitute a life of a contemporary bass player. A brief description from one of the site sources may descibe the history of this enterprise at the best: “Conceived in 2005 while Heath taught at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, as a kind of bulletin board for lesson plans, the site lands around 5,000 visitors per week and features interviews with prominent performers such as Cleveland Orchestra principal Max Dimoff”. ( taken from: http://daawritingportfolio.com/Jason-Heath-s-Double-Bass-Blog )
Over time the author has managed to engage several additional collaborators to start contirbuting with interviews and their own writing – resulting in ever larger scope of the covered materials. Thus it may not be an exhageration to perceive this blog as actually a “bass blog universe”, which consists of the main blog and the two sub-cathegories blogs, separated as the podcast blog and the focus orchestra bass career blog – both described briefly bellow under “Sub-Blogs” heading.
Created by: Jason Heath (2005) – profile at: http://jasonheath.info/blog/
- Bass Humor
- Bass Luthiers
- Bass Videos
- Bill Harrison
- Car Explosion
- Chamber Music
- Contrabass Conversations
- Crazy Gig Stories
- Early Bass
- Electric Bass
- For Sale
- Jazz Bass Playing
- Jazz Improvisation
- Jeff Weisner
- Music News
- My Two Cents
- Nicholas Hart
- Orchestra News
- Peter Tambroni
- Phillip Serna
- Student Resources
- VMC tracks
- Walking Bass
- 3,570 posts.
- 4,775 comments.
- 48 categories.
- 184 tags.
Jason Heath’s – Contrabass Conversations
Description: The “Contrabass Conversations” consists of 159 podcast interviews featuring various bassists and themes – all moderated by Jason Heath and several of his associates. The goal of this podcast, in the author’s words was “to do interviews with double bassists from all walks of life, from professional orchestra players to students, educators, and amateur hobbyists” and moreover “to foster and develop learning and communication in the global double bass community” – and indeed this goals were quite well achieved! Featured are numerous interviews with classical and jazz bassists, luthiers, reviews of contemprary pieces and electric bass topics.
From an academic perspective “CC” offers a trully unique crossection of professional viewpoints at the turn of 21st century, and as such – and particularly from the historical point – it is, and it may become even more a unique and invaluable source for the future generations of bassists.
Podcast listing: The list offering a convenience of the episodes overviews can be seen at: http://contrabassconversations.com/feed/
Podcast activity: 2007 – 2011
Jason Heath’s – Nuevobasso
Description: “Nuevobasso” is a sub-section of “Contrabassblog” which features some of the choice posts realted to the orchestra careers, school selections, auditions, bass technique, podcasts, orchestra etiquette and other themes from the mother blog – yet presented in a different server package (WordPress). Recommended reading by any measure, as some of these articles may be missed in the quantity of offering presented at the main blog.
Double Bass Guide – Jonas Lohse
Description: A blog covering commercial, jazz and classical bass topics. Among the spciffics you will find information about bass amplification, bass conventions, bass festivals, lutherie, bass amplification, bass and electric bass instruction, bass iconography, festivals and masterclasses. Featured are also a separate pages for the history of bass and bass construction books – under “About the Double Bass” index – “Suggested reading” link, and the unique “Google map” presenting all the world’s double bass Luthiers (!) again under “About the Double Bass” index – “Double Bass Luthiers Google Map”. The blog’s general layout and contributions leave an impression of solid well thought out site that will certanly be of use to variety of bass interests. Jonas Lohse also manages the “Kontrabassblog” in German (listed bellow) which is similar in profile.
Created by: Jonas Lohse (2007) – Freelance bassist on the Frankfurt jazz scene – Frankfurt, Germany.
Kontrabassblog – Jonas Lohse
Description: From the blog author himself – “he writes on the themes of bass and sometimes on the other matters”. The blog’s general layout and contributions leave an impression of solid well thought out presentation that covers various subjects pertaining to sale, promotion and discussion of commercial and jazz bass materials. It is also one of the oldest blogs created and still working (2005). Moreover, the contributions also cover bass conferences, masterclasses, workshops and competitions pertaining to education and instrument making, book reviews, and some valuable topics related to historical construction and improvements of bass – for example: bass bridge adjusters, the onset of modern 5 string bass and some other improvements to our present day instrument. This blog is in German, however Jonas Lohse also manages an English blog “Double Bass Guide” which is similar in profile.
- Über den Kontrabass
- Die Geschichte des Kontrabass
- Handwerklicher und industrieller Streichinstrumentenbau
- Kauf eines Basses
- Carbon – ein neues Material im Instrumentenbau
- Setup und Klangoptimierung
- Elektrische Verstärkung
- Verstärker und Lautsprecher
- Impedanz, Phasenauslöschung, Feedback
- Kontrabass-Werkstätten (in Deutschland und weltweit)
Created by: Jonas Lohse (2005) – Freelance bassist on the Frankfurt jazz scene – Frankfurt, Germany.
Michael Hovnanian – Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Description: Should you wish to know what the life of a professional bassist with the top level orchestra such as Chicago Symphony Orchestra looks like – this is the blog to follow. All entries are well organized and offer clear points for further reflection. Featured also are the commentaries on many standard and non-standard compositions performed with the orchestra – including the excerpts with author’s own fingerings (an effort worth every praise). In addition you will find here the real technical exercises used to keep the author’s technique in shape (all posted with the pro-level music notation samples). The other posts may feature particular week’s bass section seating arrangement, comments on current repertoire, composers and conductors – and the coverage of various international trips. The blog delivers very unpretentiously a true insight in the life of professional orchestra and certainly offer many points of interest to both professional or avocational bassist.
Created by: Michael Hovnanian (2006) – Chicago, IL, USA
Musical Reminiscences : Robert Meyer – Playing the Double Bass
Description: A blog featuring reminiscences of Robert Meyer – a bassist with tenure in all top London orchestras and the other world leading groups spanning back to Second World War era. Covered topics feature bass technique and the style of playing as practiced few decades back and compared with present-day norms, auditions, wide coverage of orchestra experiences, composers (Britten), many notable conductors (Koussevitzky, Karajan, Klemperer, Furtwängler, Reiner, Stokowski, Walter) and fine reminiscences on bass professors (Montag, Cruft, other less known British). A life time of bass experience under the most famous conductors and memories of many great contemporary and bygone bassists.
Created by: Robert Meyer
Blog activity: 2006-2009
Peabody Conservatory – Double Bass Blog
Description: This blog-presentation could become a fine model for future bass departments blog projects. Everything related to a bass department including a variety of immediate student interests, such as: auditions, interviews, schools, orchestra career perspectives, musicianship and pedagogy matters – are neatly incorporated here. It is regrettable that the blog has ceased to be active as of few years ago.
Created by: Paul Johnson, Jeffrey Weisner, Ira Gold (classical). Michael Formanek (jazz). Artist in Residence Hal Robinson.
Blog Activity: 2007 – 2010
Solo Double Bass Recordings – Complete Bibliography
Description: From the blog: “The list comprises of 400 recordings of (mostly) unaccompanied double bass music reflecting what has been done in the field since 1964”. This probably the most complete bibliography of all solo albums made in recent times. The lists consists of mostly jazz and contemporary compositions – yet covers also the Bass Ensembles since the “solo” term here encompasses multiple basses in ensembles too. The term blog may not apply here in its full meaning, since this is in essence a one page web site with a listing – or a blog with a single post, more precisely. Regardless of the format, from the scholarly point this is a project worth every praise.
Created by: Sebastian Schaffmeister (2012)
Description: A well designed blog dedicated to the contemporary genres, including Jazz, Fusion, Funk, Rock, Blues, and Avant-garde. A place to browse for information on commercial – jazz bassists, gear, events and professional issues. In few posts however, you will find even the themes that cover classical bass and pedagogy fields. The blog also features the good section of posts on beginner’s bass interests, as well as several features of notable jazz bassists.
Created by: Lawrence Wu (2009)
Created by Igor Pecevski
Posted: December 2, 2013