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Date: Fri, 02 Jul 1999 19:38:08 -0400
From: Gerald Corey <>
Subject: [Fwd: Heckelphone information from a Heckelphonist]

Hello friends.. Michael (Titan) Rodick thought that my
reply to him about Arlen Fast's excellent research into improving the
acoustical response of all contrabassoons (in the high register and in
fact, in the entire instrumental compass) would be of good interest to
more contrabassoonists here. As well, my response to his question about
replies from any Heckelphone players is also included. I don't mind
sharing this with the list. All the best, Gerald Corey

From: Michael Rodick <>
To: 'Gerald Corey' <>
Subject: RE: Heckelphone information from a Heckelphonist
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 15:50:31 -0700

Mr. Corey:

It's me Titan (Michael) Rodick again, you know, the one that also has an
interest in the french bassoon.

I finally managed to get the french reed, french bocal, and tried them
last night.  I am sad to report that the instrument sounds like a cow
being slaughtered in my hands.

The instrument is in fact quite difficult to play.  I'm not sure if it's
the instrument or player.

I noticed that if you don't use the exact correct fingering with the
pinky and thumb keys as directed, the instrument does not play in tune.
One has to be careful.  I'm beginning to wonder if I should have my head

One piece of good news is that Chuck Holdeman will be moving to
Washington state from Delaware this fall so I will have the opportunity
to learn from him.

I got the bocal from Larry Ibisch in New York.  I'm not sure if the
bocal agrees with my french bassoon, though.
I have a feeling that the bocal is not a good match for the instrument.
The low register is next to impossible to sound.

I am trying to raise the money for his 25 year old Buffet as I am led to
believe that it's a better instrument for my future needs.

It seems that since my father passed away, I am single handedly trying
to save the rare double reed instruments.

I may have the opportunity in the months to come to purchase a
heckelphone.  I have always thought this was a neat instrument since I
first encountered it in Eine Alpensinfonie 20 years ago.  It was
probably within a few weeks of hearing the french bassoon.

There is one I know of made in the sixties and is the same color as a
bassoon.  The other is at Forrest's from the 20's.  The newer one is 20k
USD.  Do you think this is a fair price?  It all depends, of course, on
what my father's estate gives me.  I also plan to purchase a new
bassoon, and a more modern contra.

These undertakings are not cheap, though they make me feel very happy.
I wish I had done this years ago.  It finally feels like I'm doing
something right.

I started studying with Mr. Grossman a few weeks ago.  I can tell after
a few lessons why he has had so many successful students.  The results
after a few lessons are noticeable even to me.

He really is an outstanding player/pedagogue.  He told me that he finds
the Heckephone tough to play as well.

He had very nice things to say about you in addition.  He said you
played beautifully and that you were one of the nicest people in the

I will write more about my interest in the heckelphone this weekend.

Titan (Michael) Rodick
Seattle, WA

-----Original Message-----
From: Gerald Corey []
Sent: Thursday/July/01/1999 6:06 PM
Subject: Heckelphone information from a Heckelphonist

Hello Titan (or Michael?).. I was wanting to add some other data about
Heckelphones from the vantage point of a bassoonist and not an
oboist/English hornist. I think that the reason a player who complains
about the difficulty of producing the low notes on a Heckelphone and
then claims that it is much easier to do this on a Bass Oboe, are so
used to blowing on a small bored double reed instrument. A bassoonist,
on the other hand, is accustomed to performing music daily on an
instrument having a LARGER bore than the Heckelphone.
    Thus, when I play on a Heckelphone, the entire compass of the
instrument is quite easy to play, and I can produce the lowest notes at
will with a good reed (chosen from among examples of smaller reeds for
bassoon in my collection)..
    As with any instrument, the reed must be trimmed to maximize a
beautiful tone color and yet be able to play well at the extremes of
pianissimi to fortissimi. The Heckel company in Wiesbaden (Frankfurt),
Germany, is a wonderful source for more information on their
Heckelphones. You can order from them a reed or two (they will be quite
stiff to blow at first, but with judicious trimming of the entire reed
blade area, they will soon produce a nice dark tone on the Heckelphone.)
Heckel can provide owners with an alternate bell which is called a
"muting bell". This will make entries such as the one in Holst's "The
Planets" sound great with more ease.
    I have played Heckelphone on three occasions so far:

  1. Paul Hindemith's "Trio" for Heckelphone, Viola and Piano in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with Steven Dann, Violist  (at the St.Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts)..
  2. The same work at the International Viola Society's convention at the University of Toronto in the same year.
  3. Graham Waterhouse's "Trio, Four Epigrams after Escher" for Heckelphone, Viola and Piano at the IDRS 1998 Conference in Tempe, Arizona.

    If you have a Heckelphone and would like a reed and a fingering
chart, just send me a personal email reply. Best wishes to you in your
continued interest in this fine musical instrument. Sincerely yours,
Gerald Corey, Ottawa



Date: Fri, 02 Jul 1999 19:55:29 -0400
From: Gerald Corey <>
Subject: [Fwd: Hi!]

Hello again to list. This message too may be of good
interest to the contrabassoonist followers of the list. Cheers, Gerald


From: "David Neubauer" <>
To: "Gerald Corey" <>
Subject: Re: Hi!
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 11:59:26 -0700

Very encouraged by your report, maybe it should be shared with the contra
list??  Please send the bocal, am anxious to try it.

-----Original Message-----
From: Gerald Corey <>
To: David Neubauer <>
Date: Friday, July 02, 1999 8:31 AM
Subject: Re: Hi!

>Hello David, I have contacted Arthur Grossman in Seattle for the pricing
>of the WOLF contra bocal: it will be $485 U.S. and that is such a good
>price for an excellent bocal that if I were playing a Heckel or a FOX or a
>WOLF contra, I would choose this one over all others - it is hand-hammered
>and beautiful in appearance and sound. I will send it to you along with
>your reed, unless you instruct me not to.
>2. My thougths on the WOLF contra are mostly very positive too. I tried
>one in NJ at the Grossman, Wolf, and Arlen Fast meeting. I found the
>instrument to be very even in its tuning and to have a fine resonant
>contra tone. The use of a wooden wing joint section (rubber lined) is
>different, and I need more opinions on how this affects the projection in
>concert halls. But the instrument is very easy to play and is constructed
>beautifully. The price at about $16,000 U.S. is very generous, as well.
>3. Arlen Fast has done exemplary research into improving the current
>contrabassoons by placing acoustically-coreect new tone holes and then
>bringing the best self-planned operating system with keys and pushers to
>open these vents when he wants them. Guntram Wolf was most impressed with
>the dramatic improvement of upper register notes - and he plans to
>incorporate some or all of Arlen's ideas. Chip Owen at FOX has also agreed
>to do this key and tone hole work following Arlen's dimensions. And the
>Heckel company will do the same. This is quite a support group!!! Arlen is
>to be thanked sincerely by all contra players. His is a vision for a
>strong future for the contrabassoon as a solo instrumental voice.
>    I will wait for word from you as to whether you would like to try the
>WOLF contra bocal .. and then will send a package with (or without) it,
>and your contra bassoon reed. I hope you will like that. Sincerely yours,
>David Neubauer wrote:

>> David Neubauer
>> PO Box 55009
>> Sherman Oaks, CA 91413-0009
>> I would be interested in trying the Wolf bocal, how much is it?
>> anxious to know your thoughts on the Wolf Contra and Arlen's modified
>> contra with the new proposed key design.
>> David
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Gerald Corey <>
>> To: David Neubauer <>
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 1999 10:26 PM
>> Subject: Re: Hi!
>> > Hello David, Sorry that I have not sent your reed. Which is finished and
>> > ready to send. I just returned from teaching in Costa Rica.. so please
>> > send me your address (I probably have it nearby, but it will same me a
>> > search) and then I will send you a well-tested contra reed which I hope
>> > you will enjoy very much. By the way, while at the Arlen Fast and Guntram
>> > Wolf meeting in New York - a very positive experience for us all.. I
>> > picked out a fine Wolf hand hammered contra bocal in case you would like
>> > me to send it to you on approval. Can you let me know if this would
>> > interest you by return mail (email)? thanks again. I can fill you in on
>> > the price and other details after I hear from you. Sincerely yours,
>> Jerry
>> >
>> > David Neubauer wrote:
>> > > Jerry,
>> > >
>> > > How was the contra get together in NY with Arlen and the Wolf
>> > > contrabassoon?  By the way, I never received the reed, did you get my
>> > > check??
>> > >
>> > > Thanks,
>> > >
>> > > David Neubauer
>> > >
>> >

Date: Sat, 3 Jul 1999 00:51:21 +0100
From: Jim Katz <>
Subject: Re: [Contra digest]

>Mostly harmless...heh heh.

Wonderful!  I love to tune into this list especially for the Lelia Loban
Lateral Thinking Show, The Heliconman Chronicles, Grant Green and his
ability to coax music out of every conceivable plumbing fixture, and the
grand supporting cast. Carry On!


Jim Katz,DSB
(Distant Second Bassoon)
I Medici di McGill
Physician Orchestra
Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Date: Sat, 3 Jul 1999 15:52:36 EDT
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Heckelphone information from a Heckelphonist]


As a bassoonist who got his hands on a Heckelphone a couple of years ago, I
am definitely interested in your offer of a reed and a fingering chart.  How
do I go about doing this, cost, etc.?  I have been using trimed down bassoon
reeds and they work fairly well, but they tend to slip off the bocal while
playing (due to not having an open enough bore), even after a good reaming.
Also, I'm not quite sure if what I'm using is quite correct for the
heckelphone, even though I get a decent, dark tone.  Looking forward to your

Jonathan Carreira
Gurnee, IL

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