In the last print edition of Maclean’s, I had a profile of Joel Quarrington, the principal double bassist of the NAC Orchestra, who won a classical-music Juno a few weeks ago for his CD Garden Scene. Principal-chair players in every section in every prominent Canadian orchestra are formidable musical talents, but Quarrington’s influence and the respect he commands among peers goes further than that. Also he’s a funny guy.
But what’s most interesting is the way he’s adopted an unusual method for tuning his bass, at intervals of a fifth instead of a fourth. This turns out to have effects on the instrument that would have been hard to predict, so while I was interviewing Quarrington I shot some video. This’ll help readers see, hear and understand what I’m trying to describe. So here’s Joel Quarrington: