"It's a beautiful thing that you actually have to make a physical effort to make the instrument sound beautiful"

- Josefiina Vannesluoma in a private conversation, 2019


In this thesis I aim to research the possibilities of using the harmonic spectrum of overtones in conjunction with traditional pizzicato playing in order to find new ways of approaching the upright bass as a chord instrument with access to a broader range than possible when playing the bass in the traditional sense. 

I plan to work towards adapting this method in the field of jazz and its sub-genres with traditional western hamony as a starting point, experimenting with concepts such as time, time signatures, keys and ensemble playing. I do stress that the field I am working towards is the field of music with traditional western key signatures as its foundation, even if the techniques are widely used - perhaps even mostly used - in freely improvised music.

Personal Story

My discovery of the upright bass is pretty straight forward. I started my musical journey as a tenor saxophone player at the age of eight. i played for about ten years, learned how to sight read and played in the local orchestra. I never really felt connected to the instrument, however, and when I turned sixteen I slowly quit playing music altogether. 

A few years later some friends of mine wanted to start a rock band together, and seeing as there was no one around to play the bass guitar, I was asked. I bought from a friend and instantly connected with the instrument. I was 18 years old at the time, and since then I have attended higher music education for almost eight years. I bought my first upright bass at age 22, and after one year of practicing got the change to study at HSM in Gothenbur, Where this master thesis is currently being written.

Being an upright bass player first and foremost, I have worked extensively on playing chords on the upright bass using both traditional pizzicato playing and harmonics. In my bachelor thesis I presented several simple "chord maps" of my own design to cover the more straight forward ways one can approach the upright bass as a chord instrument. This thesis will expand on those ideas and hopefully approach the matter from a more mature, artistic angle. 

For who?


I had been working on this thesis for quite a while when a lecturer pointed out the importance of having a clear idea of who I was writing this thesis for (excluding the fact that I am in part researching how to expand my own boundaries as a bass player). After giving the matter some though, I hereby state that the recipiant of this thesis is anyone who has an interest in the upright bass as an instrument, be it a classically educated orchestra player or an amateur with an interest in the notion of the upright bass as something other than the typical "player of root notes".

I strongly believe in the idea that every genre, style of music, musician and instrument is nearly infinite in terms of what can be achieved given enough time, dedication, love and curiority. When applying to the masters programme, I was in part inspired by my own teacher and mentor Anders Jormin, who utilizes many of the techniques that will be presented in this thesis with incredible finesse and skill, as well as norwegian trumpet player Arve Henriksen, who somehow has made his instrument sound like a traditional japanese shakuhachi at will. Another example is an american beatboxer going by the name Butterscotch, who has honed her skills to include bass lines and melodies on top of her already rhythmically advanced beatboxing. This approach to music, this curiosity and love for exploring, is very much why I decided to write this work.



I do hope that you will enjoy this thesis, which will now continue in the method and Theory and Implementation sections. (link below)


A Master Thesis by Daniel Andersson


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