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From: "Eric Faith" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: [Contra digest]
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 21:56:07 -0500
I definitely agree! In my first year of junior high band, my band director
was sick because the first, second and third chair clarinets all wanted to
play bass. To his credit, he still let us do it, and I've been hooked ever
From: Michael Cogswell
>Another (self fulfilling) factor influencing music at the academic level may
>be the tendency of some directors to push lesser skilled clarinetists into
>the bass clarinet.
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 20:24:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: Adam Kent-Isaac <email@example.com>
Subject: A compact, affordable contrabassoon
Do you realise that the high cost and cumbersome size of the mighty
Contra could be reduced by simply creating a cylindrical-bore bassoon
played with a contra reed! It could be quite ideal for the opera where
a large instrument is not needed. This principle has been applied to
the Racquet with marvellous results. If this was done, it would create
a very inexpensive, professional-quality contrabassoon. This would be
very good for a young people's band, where children are often too small
to play bass instruments. Schools could own two or three for
elementary/middle school bands.
And if a contrabassoon was created with a cylindrical bore, you'd have
yourself a Subcontrabassoon for orchestral uses.
I don't understand why the contrabassoon has not gotten a following in
Jazz. It is louder than the bassoon, has a bass-sax-like timbre, a
novel appearance, and ideal for a saxophonist to double on.
Fusing together the long joints of a bass clarinet and modifying the
neck to take a bocal could create a fine Contrabassoon at a very low
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Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 09:28:39 -0700
From: Grant Green <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: A compact, affordable contrabassoon
> Do you realise that the high cost and cumbersome size of the mighty
>Contra could be reduced by simply creating a cylindrical-bore bassoon
>played with a contra reed! It could be quite ideal for the opera where
Close: the first problem, though, is that it wouldn't sound like a
contrabassoon. In fact, it would not technically *be* a contrabassoon with
such a radical bore alteration. Second, by changing the bore profile, you
change the location of every tone hole on the instrument. You also end up
with an instrument that overblows in 12ths, rather than octaves, so you
can't use the traditional contrabassoon key system at all. Finally, to get
enough volume out of it, you'll have to widen the bore to something over an
inch (a rackett, despite the name, is loud enough to play with a recorder
consort, but not with a concert band or orchestra). Voila! You've
reinvented the contrabass clarinet (although perhaps with a double reed...).
> I don't understand why the contrabassoon has not gotten a following in
>Jazz. It is louder than the bassoon,
> has a bass-sax-like timbre, a
...not to my ear...
can't argue with that!
>and ideal for a saxophonist to double on.
...except for the fact that keywork is completely different, and its
written in bass clef, and uses a double reed, all things that many sax
players have trouble with... Actually, the contrabass sarrusophone is
ideal. You can even play it with a single-reed mouthpiece.
> Fusing together the long joints of a bass clarinet and modifying the
>neck to take a bocal could create a fine Contrabassoon at a very low
...except that none of the tone holes would be positioned correctly. You
might be closer if you found an old contrabass clarinet, and modified the
neck to taper down to something small enough to jam a reed on. I'd suggest
getting about 10' of PVC tubing and experimenting first: would probably
cost you less than $10.
Grant Green email@example.com
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 17:14:11 -0500
From: William Dawson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Then why is it so big?
From a second bassoonist:
Copeland's Appalachian Spring (orchestral arr.) not only utilizes Bssn II
in its lowest register, but also requires a unison high D (treble clef, 4th
line) with the first Bssn. No way to do this with anything but a single
instrument with all its glorious 3 1/2 octaves (some say it's 4). *If it
ain't broke, don't fix it*.
Dr. Bill Dawson
Chicago suburbs bssn/contra/barisax/tuba
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
At 11:05 AM 8/30/1999 -0700, it was written (in part):
> > What I don't understand is, if they're hardly ever going to use the
> >low notes of the instrument they could have shortened the bassoon
> >somewhat so thet it isn't such a pain to drag around everywhere. I
> >mean, sell bassoons in a set of two for different range pieces. If a
> >piece is played with no notes going above high D then that bassoon
> >could be used for that, and if a piece has no notes going below Bb on
> >the staff, then use that.
>Depends on the music you're playing: try playing the second bassoon part in
>an orchestra, and you'll have plenty of low register, including lots of low
>Bbs, Bs, and Cs. On tutti passages, the first bassoon may also playing in
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. USA
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