The singing, humming, whistling, hollering, growling, storytelling bassist

double bass 1

During the past half-century many works have been written for vocalising double bassists. Lisa Mezzacappa delves into this highly creative phenomenon

At last summer’s BassEurope congress in Lucca, Italy, amid an embarrassment of bass riches, I was especially taken by a presentation by the young American bassist Cody Takács, ‘The Double Bass-Voice’, in which he gave an overview of the wide range of works written in the past fifty or so years for vocalising bass players, and outlined the considerable challenges of preparing those works for performance. The lecture made me curious about the origins and trajectory of this unique subgenre of bass repertoire, and I soon came to realise that this idea of ‘bass plus voice’ connects a diverse and thrilling set of musical practices across genres and generations.

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