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 A

The détaché (detached) bow stroke is the basic bow stroke in string playing. The détaché stroke uses an even amount of weight and speed throughout the stroke to create an unaccented beginning. However, each stroke is distinct. For this assignment, you will record yourself employing the détaché bow stroke and posting these recordings to your e-portfolio as an artifact.

Ed Barker, Principal Bassist of the Boston Symphony, describes the détaché stroke in the following way: "this (stroke) is where we draw the bow. We stop the bow. Then we start the bow again in the other direction . . . . it makes for a clean break in the bow changes but not having a consonant attack on the bow change" (Heath, 2006, 28:00).

It is important to develop a reliable détaché stroke in different parts of the bow. Record yourself playing the following two-octave scales in quarter notes at quarter note = 60 using the détaché stroke; C major, A melodic minor, G major, and E melodic minor. Record each scale three times using three different segments of the bow (lower third, middle third, and upper third). You may find the resources listed under "references" helpful in preparing this assignment.

Reflect on your learning process by answering the following questions and posting your reflections to your electronic portfolio. Your reflection should be a minimum of 250 words.

If this is your first time completing this assignment, answer the following. Feel free to use creative language. How does your arm move? What did you do to improve your tone quality as you worked on your recording? What did you learn during your practice?

If this is not the first time you have worked on this assignment, answer the following questions: what improvements have you made in mastering the détaché stroke? Describe any changes in your conception of this stroke. How has your execution improved? Reflect on the fine motor skills required to make a smooth transition between the upbow and the downbow. How do the fingers, wrist, and forearm work to ensure a smooth, even stroke?


Elliot, C. (Director). (2017). European String Teachers Association UK; Double bass technique: Detaché. View Video

Heath, J. (2006). 165: Ed Barker Interview (from the archives). Contrabass Conversations. View Website

String Technique (Director). (2017, October 3). Double Bass Detaché Bow Stroke Characteristics. View Video