Contrabass Digest

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From: Timothy Johnson <>
Subject: Re: [Contra digest]
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 1999 14:53:29 -0900

I don't think that agility is everything. In fact somewhere someone said
that "timing was everything". Well, they may have been in Real Estate, but
it still rings true. Stick to timing.

At 03:34 PM 3/27/99 PST, you wrote:
>Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1999 18:10:08 -0600
>From: "William J. Dawson" <>
>Subject: Re: Contrabass agility
>To the list members,
>I'd like to add my $0.02 worth on this thread, and from a medical
>standpoint. As a hand surgeon, specialist in performing arts medicine and a
>50+ year player of bassoon/contra, clarinets and saxophones, I must agree
>with Grant's statement about less agility in playing on the lower family
>members. Having measured ranges and arcs of finger motion of performers on
>all these instruments, I determined that:
>(1) Larger instruments generally require the performer's fingers to be more
>widely spaced than the smaller ones; this requires extra muscle activity to
>maintain these wider spans.
>(2) Depressing most keys on larger instruments requires a larger range of
>finger motion than in the smaller (higher) ones.
>(3) The keywork neede to operate larger instruments is progressively more
>complex and slower to respond to finger pressure.
>(4) Lower-voiced instruments have longer tubing and thus take more time for
>an initial note to speak. Once this impediment is ovecome, and the
>performer's air column continues to force air across the reed (or flute
>mouthpiece), there should be little, if any, difference, in the rapidity of
>notes from a respiratory standpoint.
>All three factors seem to add up to the fact that playing many notes per
>second on low instruments, especially if the notes are not diatonically
>(scale) related, is more cumbersome, and requires greater ranges of finger
>motion and of muscular strength. As such, less facility is to be expected
>(compare "Clarinet Polka" as played on B-flat clarinet and contrabassoon,
>for example).
>Hope this information helps.
>Dr. Bill Dawson
>Board member, Performing Arts Medicine Association
>Bassoon/contra/etc. -- Chicago area groups

Date: Sat, 27 Mar 1999 21:51:31 -0700 (MST)
From: Shouryu Nohe <>
Subject: Re: Contrabass agility

On Sat, 27 Mar 1999 wrote:
> Why the hell do you do this grant. What I mean by this is copying what the
> person said in the previous note and putting it on one that is a reply to it.
> I mean its ok for one or two lines. But you copy the whole damn message.
> Matt    (extremely good bari sax player)

Because it's HIS list and therefore he has the right to be God here if he
wants to.  Basically, he gets to do whatever the hell he wants.

Shour (a well trained woodwind specialist without a Narcissus complex)

J. Shouryu Nohe
Professor of SCSM102, New Mexico State Univ.
One of Key's 30,000 Friends

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