From Academic Kids

François Rabbath (b.1931) is a contemporary French double-bass player, soloist, and composer. He was born into a family of musicians but his only intruction came from a book written by a Parisian bassist Edouard Nanny. In 1955 he went to Paris, hoping to meet Nanny, who had died before he arrived, but he continued to study, and in 1964 recorded for the first time.

Rabbath's greatest influence was in the field of bass pedagogy. His Nouvelle technique de la contrebasse is a new approach to double-bass playing that works especially well for soloing.

The main difference in his approach from that of Franz Simandl is his use of the left hand. In Simandl's system, one position (below thumb position) encompasses only a whole step. In Rabbath's method, the entire fingerboard is divided into only six positions. This is done by using extension fingerings, and playing across the strings. Passages that would be quite difficult and require large amounts of shifting are made much easier by using this method. Though Rabbath's method is progressive, some argue that Simandl's method should be the first taught to beginning students because the rigid position system gives them a very good idea of where they are on the fingerboard, and it is easier to play in tune.

Rabbath's system also uses extensive scale repetition for study. He writes out a two-octave scale, perhaps F major, then writes every fingering variation within his system. He has also developed a number of bowing variations, from whole notes to sixteenthth notes to even faster, all to be performed at the frog, middle, tip, and then middle parts of the bow. This method is different from Simandl's who focus on certain segments of the bass instead of the entire finger board in one study.

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