The Big Bass Singer (1919)
Last updated: 18.07.18
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Composer: W. Rolfe Suppliers: dbe15.gif
Editor: Geoff Grainger Quintet D/A/T/B/B(GB)
Publisher: Ditty Box Enterprises Publication: DBE 1445T
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Length: approx. 2 mins.
The Big Bass Singer, obviously a fun piece which delights with its charming simplicity. As an adaptation for recorder ensemble this piece is an absolute rarity in that it is actually a solo for the second bass. Its form is AABBA whereby the A and B-strains are written in the keys of C and G respectively. The basses have all the glory whilst the descant, treble and tenor are obliged to tongue subdued um-da-das throughout, the ums being silent by the way.
Whoever the big bass singer was, is lost in the mists of ragtime history. He is illustrated on the front cover of the original sheet music as a hugely rotund gentleman whose girth appears to share the same dimensions as his height. Clad in evening dress with an upright posture, swept-back brilliantined hair, waxed moustache, a four-finger singer's mouth and holding his music unseen at his side, he is the absolute model of a bass singer.
The Big Bass Singer was published by Theodore Presser, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
A tempo of 126 crotchets per min. is suggested