Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Music Honours

School

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Tim White

Abstract

In Australia, a contrabass player who wishes to win a full-time orchestral position must pass a formal audition. Australian contrabass auditions normally consist of both solo works and a set of orchestral excerpts. In order to be successful in the audition, the aspiring musician must meet the standard expected by the adjudicating panel of musicians. This dissertation explores the keys to success in such auditions, shining light upon why some musicians are successful and others not. A series of interviews have been conducted with string musicians around Australia to assist in discovering optimal strategies and approaches to achieving success. Practising and studying the required orchestral excerpts is also key to performing a successful audition. This process can be achieved by systematically working through contrabass excerpt books, accumulating a knowledge of the repertoire and developing a high performance standard in preparation for auditions. However, there is a gap within the commercially available contrabass excerpt books. In these books, the information provided by the authors is limited to the orchestral part, marked only with bowings and fingerings. While information regarding bowing and fingerings is useful, incorporating information regarding tempo, vibrato, bow use, dynamics, orchestral context, phrasing and expression would also be beneficial. This dissertation explores the missing link neglected by these texts and offers a more comprehensive guide to the preparation of seven of the most frequently requested orchestral excerpts in Australia.

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