Bottesini's Metodo Completo

Bottesini's pedagogic masterwork, published in 1887, in which he sets forth a New Virtuoso Technique for the Bassist. It leads any right-minded student along a Third Path between Artistry and Virtuosity -- toward the Bottesini Ideal.

This Method is unique in its attitude toward the Bassist, treating one not merely as a bundle of muscles and tendons that act upon the instrument, but as a whole being with heart, soul, and mind. No teacher for any instrument has approached this heuristic totality.

The students at Parma were the first -- and for a long time, the only -- to benefit from Bottesini's breakthrough approach. After the turn of the century, the orchestras of Europe profited from a flowering of Bass excellence.

The face of music might have changed radically for the better, but tragically, the Bottesini line has all but died out. A sampling of modern Bassists found that less than 10 percent of North American and Western European Bassists are direct Bottesinites. The portion is even less elsewhere.

One can only suspect the Hand of the Moristo. A suspiciously large number of Bassists of all nationalities disappeared during the holocaust. Furthermore, all complete copies of the Metodo Completo disappeared, leaving only a few bastardized and disappointing abridgments for latter-day Bassists.


The years since Bottesini's Metodo appeared have spawned a host of imitators, the most successful of which is the Method Complete by Edouard Nanny, a Frenchman. While a sound work for any student who seeks Bass Mastery, it pales next to the genuine Complete Method. Other imitations, such as those of Simandl and Bille, have a positive Umbertian flavor.

A new multi-lingual fully restored edition of the Metodo Completo, updated for the computer age, is forthcoming from MTIC Press.

"We all must learn where to place our fingers."
© 1997, Jeff Brooks (