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David Heyes

Christine Donkin: Bass-Time Beginners: 6 Easy Pieces for the Young Bassist for Double Bass & Pianofor beginner double bass & piano

Christine Donkin: Bass-Time Beginners: 6 Easy Pieces for the Young Bassist for Double Bass & Pianofor beginner double bass & piano

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About the Compositions

Bass-Time Beginners is a set of six short easy pieces for the beginner bassist. They offer simple musical and technical challenges, using a limited number of notes, keys and positions to encourage confidence in the early years of study, also introducing simple harmonics and pizzicato effects to create a greater awareness of the possibilities of the double bass.

The piano accompaniments are independent and supportive, written for the double bass teacher with some pianistic skills, creating music that is useful for both educational and concert use. Written in a popular and accessible style, Bass-Time Beginners were composed in 2010 for Recital Music's BassLines Project to create new repertoire for beginners.


No.1 The Ogre’s Dance - ABRSM Grade 1 / TCL Grade 2 / MTB Exams Grade 2
No.2 Evening Star - ABRSM Grade 1 / MTB Exams Grade 2
No.4 Romance - ABRSM Grade 4 / MTB Exams Grade 3
No.5 A Summer Day - MTB Exams Grade 4
No.6 Serenade - ABRSM Grade 4


Each piece makes a good teaching point well, for example 'Ogre's Dance' playing with string and light bowing and early use of slurs. 'Masquerade Waltz' is very good for supporting the use of half and first positions, and 'A Summer Day' has a smooth melody line that takes the performer into neck position. I found that 'Evening Star' is a beginner's equivalent to 'Deep Song' by John Walton, with lovely romantic piano harmony; it is a pretty piece for the early use of slurs. I think these pieces would also make a good addition for enjoyable sight-reading practice. [Liz Bradley/ESTA/Arco]

So far, so good!

It is a fun piece for the progressing young bassist. Suitable as a study or concert piece, the mood is upbeat and joyful, with effective musical and technical challenges in the lower positions of the double bass. The accompaniment is rhythmic and supportive and ideal for the double bass teacher with some pianistic abilities.

“When learning to distinguish between the sounds of major and minor chords, I was told to remember that major chords ‘sound happy’ and minor chords ‘sound sad’. I suppose it’s a useful starting point for learning to identify chords on their own, but when they are used in progressions and in combination with rhythm, tone colours, and so on, the overall effect doesn’t always reflect the individual chords’ characteristics in a way that one might expect. In other words, I find it interesting that I (and many other composers) often use so-called sad chords to create music that is anything but sad. ‘So far, so good!’ is a simple piece that features both major and minor sections, but is light-hearted and cheerful throughout.” [Christine Donkin]

About the Composer

Christine Donkinis a Canadian composer of educational, choral, and instrumental music. Born in Grande Prairie, Alberta, she holds degrees from the University of Alberta and the University of British Columbia and, in addition to her work as a piano teacher, she is active as an adjudicator, clinician, judge, and guest speaker at educational events across Canada.

Christine's compositions have won awards at national and international competitions notably the DaCapo Chamber Choir's NewWorks Competition (Ontario, 2010); International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition (Greece, 2009); Living Music Under Living Skies Competition (Saskatchewan, 2009); Choral Horizons Competition (Minneapolis, 2009); Classical Marimba League International Composition Competition (2009); Guelph Chamber Choir Young Composers Competition (Ontario, 2008) and Sorel Medallion Competition (New York, 2008).

Christine Donkin's music is increasingly being performed throughout Canada and

America, and also in many European countries. Her educational and choral music has been particularly popular and her works are available from a number of international publishers.

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