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Characteristic Pieces Book 1

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Price £11.00

Composed in France over a century ago, these three short pieces are ideal for the intermediate bassist. The style is lyrical, tonal and approachable, offering interesting study or concert repertoire with lively, supportive and effective accompaniments.

Parade is lively and rhythmic, remaining in bass clef throughout; Cantabile is melodic and dramatic, offering cantabile and musical challenges in equal measure and Menuet Varie has lyrical and rhythmic contrasts and is the most challenging of the three.

Ratez was a fairly prolific composer and these pieces were dedicated to M. Charpentier, Professor of Double Bass at the Paris Conservatoire. These pieces are popular with students and teachers alike and Book 2 [RM190] is also available.

Cantabile has been selected for Level 7 by MTB Exams (www.mtbexams)

"Emile Ratez (1851-1934) penned these three Characteristic Pieces for Monsieur Charpentier, professor of double bass at the Paris Conservatoire, and they are delightful, thoroughly accessible compositions. Considering Ratez's dates, the harmonies are quite fresh and modern-sounding, and although the composer was a violist he has here written music which does indeed consider the characteristics of the double bass.
Characteristic Pieces is suitable for intermediate bassists, aside from a brief passage in the third piece which includes a written B above middle C, none of the three works extend beyond the (written) G above middle C. Additionally, the marked tempos (the three pieces range from crotchet = 69 to 120) mean that rhythmically the pieces are quite playable.
The opening piece, aptly titled 'Parade', is a pleasant, showy number in D major. 'Cantabile' is second in the collection and allows the performer to exhibit their abilities to play lyrically, using the lower half of the bass's range in entirety and to great effect. Finally 'Menuet Varie', would challenge an intermediate level player. It begins in E minor marked allegretto scherzando (with hints of the relative major), moves to an E major piu mosso section during which the bassist is required to switch from the soloist to the accompanist role, and finally returns to the key of E minor for a rousing allegro con fuoco.
Throughout the collection changes in dynamic and tempo are provided, and the piano accompaniment is generally sight-readable and harmonically interesting. However, all three pieces present challenges for the intermediate bassist and are thus good learning tools. Two examples of these challenges are the switches from arco to pizzicato playing (and back) in 'Menuet Varie' and some syncopation and other rhythmic interest in 'Cantabile'. When good learning tools are also lovely music, everybody wins." [DOUBLE BASSIST]

French composer Rene Emile Ratez was born in Besancon on 5 November 1851 and died in Lille on 19 May 1934. He studied composition at the Paris Conservatoire with Francois Bazin (1816-1878) and Jules Massenet (1842-1912), and subsequently became a viola player in the orchestra of the Opera-Comique and conductor of the Choir at the Concerts du Chatelet.

In 1891 he left Paris for Lille when he was appointed Director of the Lille Conservatoire. His interest in education led to several published theoretical works including 'Traite de contrepoint et de fugue' (1902) and 'Traite d'harmonie theorique et pratique' (1908).

Emile Ratez was a fairly prolific composer, alongside his duties as Director of the Lille Conservatoire, writing pieces for piano, violin, oboe and french horn, songs and choral works, string quartets and five operas - Rase d'amour (1886), Lyderic (1895), Le Bateau ivre (c.1900), Paula (1904) and La Guivre (1925).

His other works for double bass are Six Characteristic Pieces for double bass and piano (RM190) and Theme, Variations et Fugue Op.35 for double bass and piano.


  • Cantabile
  • Menuet Varie
  • Parade
Syllabus info
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music: Bowed Strings Syllabus 2016-2019   (until Dec 2019)  

Double Bass - grade 7 ( Cantabile )

Trinity College London: Bowed Strings & Harp 2016-2019   (until Dec 2019)  

Double Bass - grade 6 ( Parade )
Double Bass - grade 7 ( Cantabile )

Samples available

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Cat No. RM189
Price £11.00
ComposerEmile Ratez
EditorDavid Heyes
CategoryDouble Bass & Piano
PublisherRecital Music
Difficulty level6 - 8
ISMN 979-0-57045-189-0
EAN-13 9790570451890
Weight 98 grams
Published 19th July 2009
Availability 6 in stock
See also...
RM190  Characteristic Pieces Book 2
RM396  20 Melodic Pieces Book 1
RM547  Theme, Variations et Fugue