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Håkon Thelin: A new world of sounds

A study focusing on the development of new playing techniques for the Double Bass.

Field of study: Artistic Research (Double Bass)


The objective of the project is twofold:

  1. To investigate novel playing techniques for the double bass as found in the works Zab ou la passion selon st. Nectaire (1981, ca. 30 min.) by Philippe Boivin, and Luciano Berio: Sequenza XIVb – Versione per Contrabasso di Stefano Scodanibbio (2004, ca. 15 min.). Analyses of these techniques will be compared to related techniques, where such exists in other works.
  2. To develop new techniques for the double bass.

The playing techniques investigated and developed through this project are mainly based on harmonics (tones where the natural fundamental frequency and some of its overtones are suppressed by lightly touching the string), multiphonics (complex sounds based on overtones), and percussive techniques. It is in combination with unorthodox bowing- and pizzicato techniques that quite new sounds have emerged.

Knowledge of these techniques is still not widely established, as they only exist in a few cutting-edge works, played by a few dedicated performers. Through musical and technical analysis, Thelin seeks to master playing techniques that are used in the work Zab ou la passion selon st. Nectaire, composed by Philippe Boivin in collaboration with the French double-bassist Jean-Pierre Robert. It is especially necessary to learn skills in order to perform the percussive techniques in the work.


Full title: A new world of sounds. Recent advancements in contemporary double bass techniques.

Artistic Result

Thelin's final concert was held at NMH on 14 June 2011 with the following programme:

  • Luciano Berio: Sequenza XIVb - Versione per Contrabbasso di Stefano Scodanibbio
  • Håkon Thelin: Glasperlenspiel for double bass and vocals (vocalists?)
  • Philippe Boivin: Zab ou la Passion selon St. Nectaire The CD “Håkon Thelin - Light”, with the following compositions all by Håkon Thelin:Amarcord for solo double bass
  • oibbinadocS for solo double bass
  • Light for violin and double bass
  • Shared moments for solo double bass with tape
  • Glasperlenspiel for double bass and vocals Scores of the following compositions by Håkon Thelin:Glasperlenspiel for double bass and vocal tenor
  • Light for violin and double bass
  • Shared moments for double bass and tape

Documentation of the artistic result is available on Thelin's home page (, togheter with other documentation from the project period.

Written documentation

Link to the written part of the project (

Articles relevant

Published: Jun 29, 2015 — Last updated: Feb 22, 2024