Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Music Education and Music Therapy (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Donald Coffman

Second Committee Member

Charles Bergeron

Third Committee Member

John Daversa

Fourth Committee Member

Brian Powell


From the beginnings of jazz in New Orleans and into the modern styles of today, jazz bassists have utilized the bow to accompany ensembles, play melodies, and improvise solos. There are numerous recordings available of jazz bassists demonstrating these various musical functions with the arco technique. Many consider pizzicato to be the primary method for sound production by the double bass in jazz and other styles, however historically arco has been the principal method of sound production since the origins of the instrument in the 17th century. Beginning jazz students often receive more instruction in pizzicato technique and as a result do not develop important bowing skills that many successful performers possess. The purpose of this study is to investigate recorded examples of arco jazz bass performance in an effort to identify technical features which may serve as a starting point in developing a teaching pedagogy for arco jazz bass. Through transcription and analysis of arco jazz bass performances we gain knowledge of the skills and styles used in professional jazz performance. A selected discography of arco jazz bass performances will include a number of examples of jazz bass bowing on record from the 1920s up to today. After reviewing published pedagogical methods pertaining to the arco technique, compiling a representative discography, and analyzing the relevant transcriptions, trends will emerge to guide us in the development of a pedagogy for arco jazz bass.


bass; jazz; arco; bow; music; performance