The School of Agility: A Technical Method of the Scale System for String Bass

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9780825846991: The School of Agility: A Technical Method of the Scale System for String Bass
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The celebrated Principal Bassist of the New York Philharmonic offers a bass-fingering methodology that reflects a lifetime of experience as both a teacher and a performer in this comprehensive book.

His teaching approach in The School of Agility focuses on developing fingerings that will improve rhythm, intonation and ease of fingerboard movement. Highlights include:

. A variety of fingerings that allow individual players to find the most suitable for their level and style of playing.
. Fingering that are appropriate to specific playing situations.
. Techniques for producing a clean, clear low frequency sound.

Simply put, The School of Agility will provide the modern string bass player with an innovative and effective approach to mastering the instrument.

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Review:

"This is a scale text designed "to introduce the modern bass player to a wide range of fingerings that will enhance the left hand's agility upon the fingerboard of the bass." In its 240 pages, Levinson presents his pedagogical approach to scale and arpeggio exercises that address technical mastery of the left hand, as well as right-hand playing actions. The emphasis is on a contemporary methodology of playing the instrument, utilizing all four strings in the most of the positions on the fingerboard."

Levinson cites Carl Flesch's violin method as a paradigm for bassists to emulate. Bass left-hand technique has traditionally emphasized a 1,2,4 fingering system, necessitating small shifting movements. Levinson advocates use of the third finger in lower positions to eliminate unnecessary "extra shifts and jumps," and elucidates the technique of using first and third fingers to conjoin a position-and-a-half. In a departure from many scale etude methods centered on the two upper strings, Levinson's fingering system explores playing across the lower strings while gradually moving up to the higher positions. The innovative use of the thumb position on all four strings extends the range and timbre of the bass. Levinson's scale method book is a stellar contribution to the field of bass pedagogy." --M.F. --American String Teacher, February 2004

"Eugene Levinson is a legendary figure within the bass world, as a renowned principal of the New York Philharmonic bass section, soloist and respected teacher at the Juilliard School. Any method by him is certainly worth a second, third and even fourth look. Levinson's approach to scales is adopted from the violin method by Carl Flesch. He includes every three-octave major and minor (harmonic, melodic and natural) scale and arpeggio throughout a four-octave range and offers as many as 16 fingering variations for each one. on top of that there are the rhythmic and bowing suggestions. Some fingering variations use extensions which may not be everyone's taste, but there are plenty of others to master that do not use extensions. This may, however, be a perfect opportunity to experiment with extensions throughout the range of the bass.

The foreword, preface and biography are interesting and helpful, putting Levinson's approach into context concisely and clearly. The book begins with E(major, minors, arpeggios) before moving chromatically upwards - always a popular progression with bassists, rather than the cycle of fifths beginning with C major - and the table of contents enables each scale to be easily found.

The volume is clearly presented, using a large typeface. It has plenty of fingering and string indications and keeps the clef changes to a minimum by only using treble and bass. It would suite any student of the double bass, young or old, who wishes to be a master of the instrument and play with confidence throughout its entire range. In particular, it would suit conservatoire-level students, who have the time to devote to scale practice and the fingering variations suggested.

I recommend this to any bassist who wants to play at an advanced level an wishes to use technique to improve the musical performance of the instrument." --David Heyes --Strad, August 2004

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