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Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 20:46:44 EDT
Subject: Re: Nazi Clarinet for Sale

Harry Searing wrote,
>Now playing the clarinet - that's a war crime if I ever heard one!>

My cat approves of you!

He continued,
>I once saw at Herb Kleeman's repair shop (NJ) a beautiful old bass clarinet
(don't remember the manufacturer) that, if I remember correctly, had a
swastika on the bell!!!! It also still had the original cloth with the same
logo on it!!!>

For the June, 1978 issue of The Strad, a violin magazine, I wrote an
article about strange things repair technicians find written inside violins.
Stringed instruments sometimes need opening for repairs.  Taking the top off
sometimes reveals writings never otherwise visible inside the fiddle and left
there for fellow repair techs alone or for people with curiosity, time on
their hands and dental mirrors that will fit through the f-holes!
Subsequently my violin-playing husband has heard of or seen many more
examples.  One repairman wrote, "This piece of [bleep!] ought to be burned
instead of fixed.  I am a whore."

But the creepiest example I heard about in time to include it in the article
was a good French violin with a note inside the top, evidently from a Nazi
who had looted it in France.  He wrote, in German, "To the victor belong the
spoils, Abbeville, 1940."  Underneath that, in English, another hand had
written, "Not for long, bastard.  Berlin, 1945."  Now here is the chilling
part:  It was a child's half-sized violin.


Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 21:05:20 EDT
Subject: Re: monster instrumentation

>>Does anyone know of some other woodwinds that would add a distinctive
supplementary tone to my ensamble.>>

Hans Mons wrote,
>What about renaissance shawms?  They are loud, sound different from all
modern instruments, exist in soprano (c' or d'), alto (f or g), tenor (c) and
 bass (C) or quart/quint-bass (GG of FF).  Or even louder, a set of
Rauschpfeifen.  These exist as sopranino (f'), soprano (c'), alto (f) and
tenor (c).>

While you're at it, how about a pair of Chinese sonas?  The sona is a keyless
wind instrument, with a double reed, a wooden conical bore and a copper or
tin bell.  It's a type of shawm, I think.  It should cut through the din with
no trouble at all.  In fact, the sound of a sona could pierce a tuba at sixty
paces, so you do want to aim the sonas at an expendable (i.e., not
load-bearing) wall, not directly at the audience or at anything in your

I bought a pair of sonas (in soprano sizes, alas) at a flea market last year.
 Every time I attempted to figure out how to finger scales in various keys
(the sona seems to be pentatonic), local dogdom would tune up with, "Yeow,
wow, wow, wow," and then let fly with a lusty accompaniment of, "Ah-
ah-ah-aaaaagh -- ahWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" (or whatever that would look like in
dog notation), mostly in fifths and octaves.

I complained to Shadow Cat that I had not requested any Dracula's Castle
accompaniment and I would decline to pay for it, but she informed me that it
came free of charge with the sonas, that spurning the gift would insult the
Canine Chorus, and that the only polite way to put a stop to the
accompaniment was to desist from shrieking on the sonas.  At least, she said
it was free accompaniment from the Canine Chorus.  I did suspect it might be
an exorcism ceremony, secretly laid on by the Feline Wizards' Guild
controlling the dogs' minds, in which case, interrupting the Howling
definitely seemed wise, even if that also meant putting the sonas away for
now.  But, assuming the accompaniment comes from well-intentioned Canine
Choristers, if you add sonas to your Monster Mash, then why don't you bring
on the Singing Beagle Team, too?  The Singing Beagles, in their cute little
ruffled white collars, could line up on their haunches, all along the front
of the stage.


Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 13:42:31 -0500
From: John Howell <>
Subject: Nazi Clarinet for Sale

>>>I was under the impression that use of clarinets against a civilian
>population ....
>As far as I know that prohibition in the rules of engagement only applied
>to bassoons and similar heavy ordnance.

Yeah, like bombards!  What a cryin' shawm!!


John & Susie Howell
Virginia Tech Department of Music
Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S.A. 24061-0240
Vox (540) 231-8411   Fax (540) 231-5034

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