François Rabbath (born in Aleppo, Syria) is a contemporary French double- bass player, Another technique used by Francois Rabbath is the Crab Technique, named for the way the hand movement resembles a crab’s sideways walking. François Rabbath demonstrates his crab fingering system as an alternative to traditional shifting. In contrast, the New Method of François Rabbath and his followers divides the double bass into six positions and navigates the notes in each of these large.

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The following is a summary of this life story. Rabbath was born in Aleppo, Syria in He had six brothers metbod the entire family was very musical.

However, he did not know of any double bass players in Syria or Beirut where his family was moving so he had to experiment on his own. Rabbath did not think the tailor would sell him the book so he stole it! Rabbath promises this was his first and last robbery. Not only did Rabbath not speak French at this time but also he could not read music. But thanks to the diagrams and music examples Rabbath was able to make connections between printed notes and positions on the strings of the double bass.

Rabbath countered this by inventing the pivot. Rabbarh of keeping his thumb behind his second or third finger constantly shiftinghe kept his thumb in one place and allowed his fingers to pivot without having to shift the center of his entire hand. Rabbath discovered this approach as he practiced the bass, completely on his own.

This is before he has ever even met with a double bass pedagogue! By Rabbath had saved enough methox to go to Paris he was 24 years old. Sadly, Nanny had died eight years earlier and Rabbath would never get to have these conversations with him. Instead Rabbath picked rabbtah sheet music from the Paris Conservatory, learned it, and auditioned there three days later. Mtehod professor was not interested in his new fingerings and Rabbath also started to have difficulty paying for his lessons.

Rabbath left the conservatory frabcois good terms and began to pursue other opportunities. He also began to make jazz and pop recordings and this desire to record has continued through his life reports Reelp. That is part of his genius. In his mid-life Rabbath worried about finances and auditioned for a position in the Paris Opera Orchestra. Of course he won the spot and he remained there for 15 years until65 years old. He started teaching private lessons in about 50 years old and meethod teaches, although clearly not as much now that he is 80 years old.


He is frabcois regular guest at bass conventions and still does rabbwth performing as well. Several very well known double bass teachers have gone to Paris to study with him and bring his approach back to their own students. Much of this will be discussed below but it is important to mention here to reinforce that Rabbath, his students, and most importantly his ideas, are still very much alive and progressing today. In addition rabbzth these great compositions, Rabbath has also contributed to the recordings available for bass players to listen to.

But the recordings that are available include: In Rabbath met the American composer-double bassist Frank Proto. A close friendship quickly developed when the two discovered that they had many shared musical experiences and philosophies.

Neither had any respect for the boundaries that separated classical, jazz and ethnic musicians. Both were as comfortable playing chamber music at a formal concert one day and improvising with jazz musicians the next. Proto is also quoted by Reelp. They have collaborated on compositions and recordings and surely their friendship has fueled their desire to be musical together.

Although it is commonly agreed that Dabbath is a phenomenal player, often cited as the Paganini of the double bass, his influence on double bass pedagogy is still controversial.

François Rabbath: Bass Pedagogue — Lindsay J. Fulcher

He divides the bass fingerboard into six positions, based on the natural harmonics of the instrument. Using these six positions and the pivot technique where the fingers rock backward or forward but the thumb does not move a bassist is able to reach many more notes from a single position than they can with more conventional positions and shifts.

Similarly, Rabbath developed and named the crab technique, wherein a finger is never lifted from the string until the next finger is placed. The fingers truly look like a crab running along the beach as they scurry over each other.

One, it is important to remember that he did not have a formal teacher. Second, he believed students should learn to play the double bass as soloists, no matter what their ultimate musical function would be Rabbath,p. Even though the double bass is so often an accompaniment instrument, it should not be learned this way.

Rabbath believed that once a student had the six positions mapped and understood the fingerboard geography there would be significantly less fumbling for accurate notes and therefore much more music making. However, from the onset when choosing the fingering for difficult passages, one should endeavor to play a piece up to speed. A passage played slowly may well require a different fingering to that needed at normal speed.


The note is more important than the fingering and one should eventually be able to dispense with the annotation of the score. Rabbath gives additional advice here about how to hold the bass and deal with the physical demands of such a large instrument and he briefly mentions the bow and pizzicato. His discussion of how to practice is most interesting. He does not recommend sight-reading.

Instead he says the student should study the score and work on the music without the instrument. This is quite different from most other methods, which reinforce sight-reading and performing on the instrument as quickly as possible. He also gives the invaluable advice to not use difficult fingerings in public; instead use what is practical.

Rabbath is known for his incredibly musical bowing and he addresses right hand issues more in the second volume as well. Movement is the fingering, space is the accuracy of the notes he never says something is out of tune, instead he says the space is not rightand time is the playing time. Rabbath believed that these three elements must be synchronized in order for the music to happen accurately and does an excellent job of explaining this theory.

François Rabbath

This third volume also includes a separate handout of hundreds of bowing exercises and a section specifically on the crab technique. Rabbath offers exercises to practice the crab technique but notes that the scales exercises and fingerings must be completed before the student can hope to be successful at the crab technique Rabbath,p. He wants to ensure that each student is making good music in a way that they feel truly successful.

Strategies for teaching strings.

A new technique for the double bass: How the Rabbath method helps bassists get unstuck. Diversity in the Orchestra. Preparing for a Successful Job Interview. Not only is she willing to inspire those she conducts; she is constantly searching to learn more herself. Her positive attitude is contagious. Teacher, Conductor, Scholar, Performer, and so much more. Francojs on String Teaching in General Although it is commonly agreed that Rabbath is a phenomenal player, often cited as the Paganini of the double bass, his influence on double bass pedagogy is still controversial.

To adhere blindly to a certain system would be a serious mistake and detrimental to performance. Straight rabbaty the heart.