Discordia Music specializes in publishing transcriptions and new works for the double bass.  Our goals are to make available previously unpublished music, and to publish premium quality, well-researched editions of music that is already part of the standard double bass solo literature.

Like many bass players, I have often performed transcriptions of works originally written for other instruments. As a student, I accepted without question whatever appeared on the pages of the editions put before me, unaware of what changes publishers, editors, and transcribers might have made to the original along the way. Only after developing an interest in baroque music and historical performance practice did I become aware of the importance of consulting original or well- researched sources for the music I was playing. When I consulted Urtext or facsimile editions of some of the most popular transcriptions in the bass literature, I was surprised at how far from the original some of them had strayed in the hands of various editors.

The most troubling changes in some of the existing editions are the ‘simplifications’ of the original in order to facilitate performance on the bass. Modern bass technique is in a state of constant evolution, and what was once considered extremely difficult, or even unplayable, has today become commonplace. Many of the most popular transcribed editions are outdated in that the editorial decisions reflect the less developed technical abilities of an earlier era. In other cases, where simplification, or at least some alteration of the original is demanded, the most common available editions give no indication where they depart from the original and of what changes were made. Alterations to phrase and articulation markings and the inclusion of bowings and fingerings often represent capricious or idiosyncratic decisions by editors.

When I decided to play a particular transcribed work I often found myself buying two separate copies – the bass edition, in order to have the music in the proper key, and the best available edition of the original – and then using them side-by-side. Eventually I would end up making my own ‘edition’ of the piece, which was usually the bass part with the changes and omissions messily corrected in pencil. As a teacher, I have always encouraged my students to view transcriptions with a degree of skepticism and to go to the original whenever possible.

Discordia Music came about when I had the good fortune of finding two students at Northwestern, David Cardon and Brian Baker, both of whom were also interested in the idea of putting some research into the pieces they were working on for recitals. Luckily for me, neither of them shared my tolerance for reading off of messily rewritten parts, and so I was presented with beautifully transcribed and printed editions of the pieces they were working on at the time. The work they did with editing and layout was, in my opinion, far superior to anything I was finding from small ‘bass specialty’ publishers. And so the idea for Discordia Music was born.

Our philosophy is a simple one: make the editorial process as transparent as possible, and leave the decisions about altering the original work to the performer. We strive to be sort of an ‘Urtext for Bass’.

Michael Hovnanian
President
Discordia Music, Inc.