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David Heyes

David Heyes: Bass Clef Unaccompanied Solos Book 2: 21 pieces for unaccompanied double bass

David Heyes: Bass Clef Unaccompanied Solos Book 2: 21 pieces for unaccompanied double bass

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About the Book

Bass Clef Unaccompanied Solos Book 2 brings together 21 pieces for unaccompanied double bass, all composed for friends and students of David Heyes in recent years. Each solo is a mini-musical soundscape, in the lower register of the double bass, offering musical and technical challenges in equal measure, which exploit the colours, timbres and playing effects available to the 21st-century bassist. Some pieces are short and succinct, others more extended, but none outstay their welcome and are ideal as study or recital repertoire. 

Table of Contents

A Small Suite 

"Over the years I have had a number of students with various left hand injuries or weaknesses. After focusing on lots of bow work, these students are desperate to have pieces they can play while gradually increasing their left hand strength…With this suite, students have the ability to work on pieces that don’t tax their left hand too much; they can actually build left hand strength and have fun! This suite is even more beautiful than I could have ever imagined and my students love it!" [Susan Hagen / Principal Bass, Boston Pops Orchestra / Assistant Professor of Double Bass, Berklee College of Music, Boston, USA] 

Three Nocturnes

The overall mood is dark and evocative with slow tempi and a generally expressive and legato feel. Nocturne No.2 employs simple harmonics in lower positions with an open string drone played pizzicato, contrasting the dark and brooding sounds of No.1 which is slow moving and sonorous. No.3 has more momentum but is still rhapsodic and sustained, with changing bar lengths and a recurring melodic motif which adds unity and cohesion. 


Commissioned by P Kellach Waddle in Texas with the brief of a work lasting about 90 seconds and with a 'beverage theme' for a concert in July 2016. 

"OMG I love it !!! what a hoot !! ... I wouldn't have imagined moonshine would be prestissimo .. but I LOVE when my own idea is subverted... love it .. this is a wonderful little piece and I have decided instead of 2nd to last .. It will be the LAST of the 11 piece set of yours I shall do on that late July concert !! thank you so much !! :" [P Kellach Waddle] 

Desert Landscapes 

‘Desert Landscapes’ was composed for Holly Reinhardt who had played 'Sahara' and said it was "her favourite double bass piece ever!" It includes arco melodies, pizzicato, sul ponticello, tremolando, col legno, double stops, harmonics and left-hand pizzicato, and is a patchwork of short motifs and themes echoing the brilliant colours and breath-taking landscapes of the ever changing sand dunes. 

George strolls along the Left Bank 

Imagine walking along the Left Bank in Paris, on a sunny summer’s afternoon, when you hear the distant sound of an accordionist playing a lyrical and relaxed Parisian waltz. The music is evocative and colourful and fades away as you walk towards a beautiful and elegant carousel which is gradually slowing down. 

"I've just taken a minute (finally) to read through the Grand Tour album and it is magnificent! I cannot wait to start using this when my 11-year-old finished up her first book of George's Adventures. Thank you, thank you for creating these little gems!" [Gaelen McCormick / Eastman School of Music, USA] 


‘Riff-Raff!’ was composed for Raphael Davey, one of my young students, and uses a limited number of notes and positions in the lower register of the instrument. Known to his family and friends as Rafi, the piece is fun, lively and rhythmic, with a constant energy which totally reflects the spirit and personality of Rafi. Repetitions are used to create cohesion and unity alongside col legno, sul ponticello, percussion and harmonics which add interest and variety. 

Postcard No.3 

‘Postcards from Prague’ is played pizzicato throughout and ‘Postcard No.3’ (Lento) depicts the stillness and history of the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague which dates back to the first half of the 15th-century. The music is peaceful and slow moving, with a recurring ringing open D string acting as a drone, and a simple melodic line which emphasises the sonorous qualities of the double bass in its lower register. 

Valse Sentimentale 

‘Valse Sentimentale’ was composed in 2020 as a 28th wedding anniversary present for David and Kathy MacGeoch and was premiered at an open-air concert in their garden in Glastonbury on Saturday 5 September 2020. In 3/4 time, it has an old world charm and elegance, harking back to a different time, allowing the double bass to sing throughout its middle and higher register. 


Composed in 2021, ‘Waltz-Time’ is the seventh piece from ‘Scaling the Heights’ and has been transposed a fifth lower and into bass clef. The music is charming and lyrical, encouraging the bassist to develop a ‘singing’ quality and to focus on bow speeds and placement to ensure long melodic lines. 

That’s Life! 

‘That's Life!’ is played pizzicato throughout and employs a number of jazz and contemporary idioms with the addition of a few effects which are common to classical and contemporary styles such as glissandi, 'hammer-on', pedal notes and left hand pizzicato. It has a strong rhythmic momentum and drive, remaining in bass clef throughout. 

Shadows & Silhouettes 

‘Shadows & Silhouettes’ is dedicated to Elsen Price and the music is built on three letters from his name [C, E, E flat] and is a description of the dark and mysterious corners of old Prague. The cobbled streets and hidden squares exude the magical history of the city, of legend and folklore, ghosts and spirits. The music is episodic, atmospheric, and evocative, exploring the colours of the solo bass. 


‘Dreamcatcher’ was composed for a talented young bassist called Benjamin Alge. The musical material is based on four letters’ from Ben's name (BEAG) and explores a wealth of 

colours and playing effects available to the progressing young bassist. The sound world, on the whole, is atmospheric and mysterious, written in an episodic style and exploring a range of colours and textures in the orchestral register of the double bass. 

About the Composer

David Heyes studied double bass with Laurence Gray and Bronwen Naish, later at the Royal College of Music in London, and completed his post-graduate studies in Prague with František Pošta (Principal Bass, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra). He has given recitals and masterclasses in 20 countries over the past few years and has been a juror at a number of international competitions, three times as chairman. 

David's collaborative work gained him a prestigious award from the David Walter Charitable Trust of New York for his pioneering activities as a soloist, teacher, publisher, and commissioner of new music for double bass and he works with composers throughout the world to expand the double bass repertoire by commissioning new music and by rediscovering forgotten ones. Since 1983 more than 700 works have been written for him, music from one to twenty basses and from beginner to virtuoso, and he has premiered ten contemporary concertos with orchestra. 

David began to compose in 2013 and has had music performed and recorded in 27 countries across five continents. He is a D'Addario Performing Artist and has recently commissioned a solo double bass from British master-luthier Martin Penning. 

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