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Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 21:52:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Adam Kent-Isaac <>
Subject: Re: Low clari's in pop; piano

Adam KI

In response to Gregg's post…

THIS IS A ***LONG*** post. But it's good so just read it!

>  As I said in my mail, the "Ben Folds Five" use what I think is a
contra clarinet (it might be a real low-playing bass clarinet),
apparently to give a "Jewish" atmosphere to the song (the 'Klezmatics,'
a Jewish music group, are fetatured on it with Matt Dariau playing low
clarinets.) It can be heard quite clearly and easily, playing four low,
long notes at the last verse of the song… "We were talkin' 'bout
 Edwin McCain uses that instrument in his song "I'll Be" Now do not
mistake; there is also a tenor sax in that song playing low. But that
is NOT the contra; it's a sax.
 In the old Jackson 5 recording of "Rockin' Robin" you can hear a
contra clarinet playing throughout the song, but most notably, playing
two eighth notes at the beginning of each stanza of words in the song.
It is playing loud and clear.
 The Beatles used the contrabass clarinet to great effect in "Martha My
Dear", playing some low notes during the first part of the song.
 MatchBox 20 has a bass clarinet playing a little in their song "Back
to Good" playing a bass line, during the beginning of the song.
 As for jazz and swing, these low clarinets aren't uncommon. Eric
Dolphy, the flautist and altoist, was also a virtuoso on bass clarinet.
Bechet did a little work on it too. Stan Getz, the musician most noted
for his tenor playing, played bass and contra clarinets as well as
bassoon and double-bass. And the jazz band, which is very good, where I
live, uses the contralto and contrabass clarinets all the time.
> Now, in swing, I'm not sure of the low clarinet's tone would carry
that well. I once brought my bassoon over to a jazz band rehersal,
where I normally play Bari sax, and played some bari parts on the
bassoon. although it sounded fine, it was drowned out by the other bari
 For solo jazz however, the low clarinet is very fine and can be used
to a wonderful potential, giving an edge to the tenor and bari sax
 And as for plucking or bowing the piano, somebody actually wrote a
piece of music for piano and orchestra requireing it to be played in
that somewhat unconventional manner!

end contrabass list

Adam KI
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