Forerunners of the modern double bass, the different forms of violone – which make up the instrument family of historical basses – all have their own history, repertoire and role. The numerous tunings which were used in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as well the different sizes and the choice of number of strings, point to a period of great experimentation, in the true Baroque spirit. Students will be led to explore and experiment with these essential and fascinating aspects of this huge range of historical bass instruments.
The Conservatoire offers Bachelors and Masters courses in baroque and classical double bass, within the department of Early Music. The Bachelors course consists of three years, while the Masters lasts two years.
The Bachelor course focuses on playing the historical bass. Students develop a fine understanding of the different styles from the Renaissance to the classical period, and the situations as related to playing in a consort, basso continuo, or as a soloist. This process happens in relation to the courses in applied theory taught within the Early Music department, helping students to gain a comprehensive training in artistic, practical and theoretical skills alongside general and cultural skills.
Alongside the weekly group and individual, instrumental and chamber music classes, each year students also participate in projects organised by the department (colloquia, concerts, seminars, orchestra sessions, conferences). The training also includes classes in reading, theory, and writing, and Bachelor students thus receive a solid musical, cultural and general training which gives them a good overview of all practices related to the historic bass.
Students can then build on this solid foundation during the Masters programme, allowing them to further develop their specific approach to their instrumental and artistic work, in particular work as a soloist. This culminates in the realisation of a personal artistic project at the end of their studies. During this second cycle, or masters programme, chamber music grows in importance, and leads students to develop links to the professional world (concerts, recordings...). Students regularly take part in ambitious projects, thanks to the artistic partnerships of the Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles.