Author Archives: Hagai Bilitzky

Give Them Fishing Rods

Imagine showing your students a totally different way of playing the bass, that is still based on the same principals and positions they are learning. See them get motivated by understanding they can play whatever they want and however they want with what they acquire by their work on classical repertoire. Letting them experience with eastern positions for playing quarter tones is actually having them have names for the notes between the notes they are usually trying to play, notes that up until now were just ‘mistakes’… The different kind of sound production this music requires allows direct experimenting with different bowings and made the students search for new sonorities and musical expression means on their own. Continue reading

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Eastern Positions for the Double Bass

3-4 position

The “eastern positions” for the double bass are a way to execute the micro tonality, or ‘quarter tones’*, that are in use in Middle Eastern music’s modal frameworks, making it possible to play the double bass in an ensemble and … Continue reading

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Mr. Karr, Would You Teach Me How to Drive a Double Bass?

Mr. Karr, Would You Teach Me How to Drive a Double Bass? My teacher Dr. Michael Klinghoffer has published his double bass method book- the method by which I was taught, and it includes all the great tricks and tips … Continue reading

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Study Abroad at the JAMD’s Oriental Music Division

Jerusalem Sounds – a new program for studying abroad in Israel: The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance (JAMD) and The Hebrew University Jerusalem (HUJI) announced a new program called Jerusalem Sounds, in which students from all U.S.A. colleges and … Continue reading

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Who’s afraid of Oum Kulthum?

Or: Thoughts about encountering Middle Eastern music When we discuss the double bass in Middle Eastern music, we almost always have to discuss the issue of connecting musical styles: either when discussing the western instrument in eastern music or when … Continue reading

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Arabic Music and the Audience

Traditional Arabic music includes a unique and inseparable connection between the performer and the audience. Due to the improvisational nature of the performance, the audience plays a major role in performing and the performer is often dependant on the reactions … Continue reading

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Bottesini in Cairo

The traditional Arabic music of our day has definitely evolved partly under the influence of the inevitable contact with western music, especially in the last one-hundred and fifty years. Almost all researchers of Arabic music note the first performance of … Continue reading

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Ornamentation in Arabic Music

One of the challenges we face when playing the double-bass as a solo instrument in Arabic music, even before the interaction with quarter-tones, is ornamentation. Ornamentation is an inseparable part of this music and we must try and express it … Continue reading

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A Brief History of Arabic Music up to the 20th Century

The history of Arabic music can be divided into several main periods. The first is the pre-Islamic period – the period of Jahiliyyah – ignorance, as it is called.This term, of course, was coined by the Muslim thinkers of later … Continue reading

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The Double Bass and Middle Eastern Music- Introduction

This is the first of a series of posts explaining how the double bass was accepted into the ensembles of the traditional Arabic music. Subscribe to the right and get the next posts to your inbox. Middle Eastern music, known … Continue reading

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