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Jacob Warren

Debussy: Sonate pour Violoncelle et Piano L. 135 (Transcribed by Jacob Warren)

Debussy: Sonate pour Violoncelle et Piano L. 135 (Transcribed by Jacob Warren)

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About the Transcription

This sonata is a wonderful piece that can be performed almost entirely at pitch on a standard-tuned double bass (with the low string tuned down a whole step)! The Debussy Sonata is a common piece in cellist's repertoire, so finding a pianist who knows the work already is fairly easy, and it’s made even easier by the fact that on a standard tuned double bass, this transcription is in the original key of D minor. If you’d like to perform this piece in solo tuning, I have included a score and part in E minor as well!

Working through this piece, it was my goal to interpret as faithfully as possible the gestures and effects that it seems Debussy intended. In the double bass part, I had to alter a few chord voicings, and do an occasional octave jump to make the part playable and musical, however, this was always done with the overall effect of the moment in mind. When I needed to make a change from the original, I noted this in boxed text above each measure that was altered.

I have been working through this piece for a while now, and as such, I have developed bowings and fingerings that I felt might be helpful to include. These are intended as starting points, but one should feel free to explore other options if they feel inclined to do so. Debussy’s original bowings are noted in the part (these are the long ties in the first movement, etc.), and I used “up” and “down” bow markings to show where I have been breaking up the ties to better suit our shorter double bass bows. I included fingerings for all of the passages that have given me the most trouble over the years.

I hope you enjoy learning and performing this great piece as much as I have, and please feel free to reach out with any questions you might have! This was a large project to do, and I’m sure that there will be a few errors in the part, even though I have tried my best to be thorough. If you do happen to find anything that’s incorrect or difficult to read, please send me an email with notes. I’ll be gathering fixes to eventually send out to everyone in a 2nd edition. -Jacob Warren


Jacob generously provides includes parts in orchestral (D minor) and solo (E minor) tuning.

About Jacob Warren

Curiosity, commitment, and collaboration define Jacob Warren’s exceptional career as a multi-style double bassist, composer, and educator. As a classical double bassist, Jacob was awarded first prize in the 2023 International Society of Bassists Soloist Competition, where his program displayed the diversity of his musicality, including an original transcription of the Debussy Cello Sonata, an original composition, an arrangement of a Canadian fiddle tune, and more.

In addition to solo performing, Jacob is also an avid chamber musician. He is currently a member of three nationally touring ensembles, two of which he co-founded and co-manages. Warren & Flick is a duo project with multi-instrumentalist Grant Flick. Together, they have released two albums (Kestrel, 2019 and Waxwing, 2022) of original material that spans genres from classical to American and Swedish fiddle, jazz and more. The quartet Westbound Situation released Pilotin 2019 and Accord in 2023. The quartet explores thematic development through their arrangements of original compositions drawing sonic inspiration from string ensembles and electronic music styles. Jacob also tours with the Grammy-nominated string quintet Kittel & Co. Through his diverse collaborations, he has been able to perform at a wide range of venues, from local listening rooms, house concerts, and jazz clubs, to performing arts centers, Royal Albert Hall, the Kennedy Center, and more.

As an educator, Jacob has been invited to give guest masterclasses at the Curtis Institute of Music, Indiana University, Wabass, and Mimi Zweig’s Jacobs String Academy, among others. He has maintained a flourishing private studio since 2015, and also connects with other curious bassists through educational videos and online workshops exploring techniques that he has translated to the instrument. He has also been selected to present at multiple International Society of Bassists conventions, including presentations on his own music and techniques.

Jacob began double bass studies at the age of 10 under the tutelage of Robert Rohwer. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Music Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance in 2017 along with the Earl V. Moore Award in Music. During his undergraduate degree he studied with Dr. Diana Gannett. He also holds both a Masters of Music in Improvisation and a Masters of Music in Chamber Music from the University of Michigan.

In addition to writing music for his ensembles, Jacob composes original works for solo double bass. Videos of his compositions, teaching, and arrangements have been featured by The Strad, The Violin Channel, and others. His compositions are available for purchase online. Jacob currently lives in Ann Arbor, MI.

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