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Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 08:05:14 -0400
From: Bill Welch <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [Contra digest]
List Server wrote:
> Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1999 14:14:07 +0000
> From: Joel Palsson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: Re: [Contra digest]
> Reply-To: email@example.com
> I've finally got my hands on a beutiful coiled Leblanc contrabass clarinet with
> a great Selmer D mouthpiece. Everything works fine, except I'm having trouble
> with the notes above high C. Are there any special fingerings for those? Does
> anyone have fingering suggestions for multiphonics on the big horn? Are there
> any neck- or shoulder straps made for the coiled cbcl?
I play a coiled Leblanc contra-alto clarinet and have never been able to
play any notes above high C. Leblanc told me that regular fingerings
should work if the horn is adjusted properly, but I've had it adjusted
and high C is the limit. I'd be interested in any special fingerings you
come up with.
What is a Selmer D mouthpiece and how did you make it fit the Leblanc
I use a regular sax neckstrap on my contra-alto. I just have it in case
I drop the horn by accident - fixing bent keys is very expensive.
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 09:41:14 -0400
From: FranÚois Villon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: [Contra digest]
Bill Welch wrote:
> I play a coiled Leblanc contra-alto clarinet and have never been able to
> play any notes above high C. Leblanc told me that regular fingerings
> should work if the horn is adjusted properly, but I've had it adjusted
> and high C is the limit. I'd be interested in any special fingerings you
> come up with.
> What is a Selmer D mouthpiece and how did you make it fit the Leblanc
> I use a regular sax neckstrap on my contra-alto. I just have it in case
> I drop the horn by accident - fixing bent keys is very expensive.
I played Leblanc 340 contra at Woodwind and Brasswind and had no problem
going up to high F! Are you using bass clarinet fingering when you play?
Partially close the LH first finger hole (it has that tiny hole
specially designed for playing in high register). You can look at bass
clarinet fingerings at www.sneezy.org.
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 15:48:39 EDT
Subject: The Phantom Tuba
Last Saturday, I went to the D. C. Big Flea at the Expo Center in Chantilly,
Virginia. Saw some overpriced, modern, student-quality instruments. Didn't
buy anything, but something odd happened and I wonder if anyone can figure it out.
First, I should mention that this vast, open space has a high ceiling and a
large expanse of blank walls far above head-height. The acoustics are
distorted and very live. Sounds carry farther than they seem as though they
should. At one point, I heard what sounded like someone playing a long tone
on an oboe. A loooooooooooong tone, quietly but insistently. Then it
started doing the Doppler shift thing, so I turned to see what was making the
oboe sound and saw it came from a whining baby ferried along in his stroller.
Either that kid had the bottomless leather lungs of an opera singer, or he'd
mastered circular breathing at age nothing-and-a-half, because Torpid Tim,
The Human Oboe wound out a perfectly steady, seamless, seemingly endless buzz
of a tone. As he passed me, with his eyes slowly blinking but not really
focussing, I saw that he looked half-asleep, hot and tired and getting
cranky. He and his stuffed green plush dinosaur wanted a real nap in their
own quiet bed in a cool, dimly-lit room, not this crowded, noisy, smelly
warehouse with its endless aisles of unfamiliar goods piled haphazardly under
screamingly bright fluorescent lights, where the air conditioning couldn't
begin to keep up with the mobs of strangers looming over him and bustling
past him and sometimes jostling him on this humid, 95-degree day with a Red
Alert for ozone pollution. I noticed him again about half an hour later,
when he woke himself up the rest of the way, decided it was time for serious
action and morphed himself into Baleful Ben, the Human Battle Bugle,
shrieking out dubba-high-C blasts that sent his mother propelling that
stroller at a right smart pace toward the exit door. She didn't walk quite
fast enough for him, though, because he morphed himself again, into Loco
Motion, The Human Steam Whistle, as the crowds (people giggling and giving
each other amused but rather shocked glances when they realized where all the
Noize was coming from) parted like the Red Sea to make way for that
stroller-train to carry him and his dinosaur OUTTA HERE RIGHT NOW!
But anyway, about the tuba. I heard someone playing a long but tentative,
experimental-sounding note on it somewhere back in a section I'd already
prowled. Okay, my husband and I had spent the whole morning yard saling in
that weather and I was just about hot and tired enough to start whining for
the exit myself, but even so, how could I have overlooked something the size
of a tuba?! Shame on me! I headed in the direction of the sound, warily, so
I could sneak up on my target and ascertain its location without alerting the
competition as he sampled the merchandise. Then I would lurk and circle and
sniff and maybe pounce when he went off to think things over.
I'd thought things over myself last year, when as you may recall, I spotted
an old bass horn in a junque shop. In my ignorance of all things tubistic, I
told the list I thought it was an over-the-shoulder horn and gave the address
and phone number of where to find it. Much to my chagrin, someone on this
list arranged to have it shipped and *then* figured out it wasn't an OTS.
I'd made a stupid mistake and expected to have to make good on it. But then
it turned out to be a teardrop horn and the buyer wanted it anyway. Somewhat
to my surprise, I felt rather *sorry* I hadn't got stuck with it. Just
because at $250 it must've been a pretty good bargain, you understand, and
maybe I could have sold it at a modest profit to one of the other people who
e-mailed me about it. Not because I wanted it myself. And naturally I'm not
really dumb enough to go looking for another bass horn when I don't know how
to play one. Really not. Although I did pick up a nice cornet last month
because, well, it was there, it was pro quality and it was cheap. And I did
start learning to play it. And it did occur to me, just in passing, you
understand, that the embouchure and fingerings of a cornet would give someone
a boost in learning to play a tuba, if someone wanted to learn to play a
tuba, which, of course, being a sensible person, I wouldn't think of doing at
age 51. So of course I was only looking for this tuba so I could tell people
on the list where to go find it. Honest. That's all.
So that's why it got frustrating when I walked up and down and up and down
the aisles and couldn't find this tuba on Saturday. I knew my competition
hadn't just bought it and made off with it, because I heard it again, quite
nearby. I walked up and down some more, looking and looking. No tuba.
It played mostly orchestra F. Sometimes it played the next higher orchestra
Bb. Once it played the lower Bb. I thought to myself, "It's a BBb tuba.
He's playing the open notes. Probably the valves aren't in working order."
But I couldn't find the tuba! Then I looked at that ceiling and those big,
blank upper walls, and decided, okay, the sound isn't coming from the
direction I thought. It's bouncing off one of those surfaces. So I went
back to where I'd originally left off and finished exploring the enitre oven,
on the theory that I hadn't walked past a tuba after all; I just hadn't got
to it yet.
(My husband, meanwhile, had found a big box of old books to paw through, and
was happy I'd found something to do besides hang at his elbow and whine to be
let out of there.)
I finished my walk-through, then stood clear to one side and listened. I
heard it again. The sound came from back there near the middle, in the same
place where I'd thought I heard it before. It was never loud, never the
Titan Blast-Master Industrial Tuba. It sounded soft and mournful, like the
ghost of a tuba slain by a falling piano in days of yore. I walked back
through *THE WHOLE FREAKING WAREHOUSE*. I heard the tuba twice more, but I
never did find it.
I've concluded that there was no tuba. So what did I hear? A bizarrely
magnified chair scrape? The death-groans of the air conditioner? In a place
where a whining baby sounds like an oboe, what sounds like a tuba? This
isn't a trick question. I have no idea. Any theories?
(wondering purely pro-forma, if the screams of the newly-acquired cornet
might bring a sousaphone charging to the rescue)
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