Volume 18, February 2024
E-portfolios as Learning Tools for Applied Double Bass Study; a Research-Based, Practice Oriented Approach

by Mark Elliot Bergman

Appendix B

Scales are the foundation of music and reliable intonation. For this assignment, you will work with two-octave major and minor scales. Please be consistent with your fingering choices. I recommend employing a scale book (see recommendations under "references"). You will record yourself playing two-octave scales against a drone and post the recordings to your e-portfolio as an artifact.

It is very helpful to practice scales with a drone. In my experience, the app Drone Tone Tool is an excellent resource (available via Google Play or the App Store) for mobile devices. If you do not wish to buy the app, you can access the audio using a browser here. Working with a tuner is very helpful. Sound Corset does a nice job picking up the low frequencies of the double bass. It is available for free in the Apple and Google Play stores.

Different intonation issues will become more apparent depending on the scale degree that you use as a drone. For example, practice against a drone on the root of the scale AND against the fifth of the scale. When you play against the fifth of the scale, it will be easier to tune seconds and sevenths.

Record yourself playing the following two-octave scales (up and down) against an audible drone (either the root or the fifth) and post your scales to your electronic portfolio. Begin by playing quarter notes at quarter note = 60 in a detaché style. Listen carefully for intonation on every interval! You must practice the shift slowly and smoothly so that you hear and feel the distance between each note.

Scales: D major, B melodic minor, A major, F# melodic minor

Answer the following questions:

  1. Which intervals are the most likely to be out of tune? Are they sharp or flat?
  2. Review your video in slow motion. Is your shifting motion smooth?
  3. Pay particular attention to the stability of the instrument. Are there moments when the instrument seems to wobble? Are you using your left hand to stabilize the instrument? If so, consider how to stabilize the instrument another way.


Drone Tone Tool. (n.d.). Drone Tone Tool. Retrieved August 6, 2022, from View Website

Morton, M. (1991). Dr. Morton's Miraculous Scale Fingerings for the Double Bass. Basso Profondo Publications.

Witzel, B. (2015). Scales for the Double Bass. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.