Contrabass Digest

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From: LeliaLoban@
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 20:56:10 EDT
Subject: [CB] the speed of light

Re. the headlights of a car travelling at the speed of light, LOL!  Thank you
all for going to the trouble of responding to a tagline, of all things.  It
turned up in a list of bumper sticker slogans and made me say "hmmm...."
Interesting answers!

Dave Taylor wrote,
>It's all a bit silly really. I understood our Special Relativity course in
>my 1st year here at Warwick (2 years ago) well enough to get 86% on
>it. The Relativistic Cosmology course I was examined on last week was half
>philosophy, half stupid fiddly unexplained Maths that was simply not
>possible to take in in the limited timescale I'd left myself (one day
>:-) ). Luckily the lecturer set two Philosophy-type questions.

All of you who answered know a lot more than I do.  My college transcript
from U. C. Berkeley would give someone the impression that, in 1967 or 1968,
I took (and passed!) a physics class from Edward Teller, "the father of the
H-Bomb."  That might look good (or appalling) to a prospective employer, but
what really happened was that the University, in a fit of high-minded social
responsibility, forced all of the full professors to teach a certain number
of "breadth requirement" (i.e., bonehead) classes for non-majors.  Evidently,
Teller just about blew a gasket when the department head assigned him to
teach Physics 10.

The university uses "10" in the Vietnamese sense: bottom of the sludge pit.
Physics 10 students have never taken a physics class before and pray to
Cthulhu that we never have to take another.  Teller strode in on the first
day of class, lectured about 400 of us on why he shouldn't have to teach such
a subject and why we wouldn't understand anything he had to say about it
anyway, then formally turned the class over to his impressive phalanx of
teaching assistants and stomped off the platform and out of the lecture hall.
 That was the last I saw of him until the final day of class

Fortunately, his pet grad students, who split the class into small sections,
turned out to be first-rate teachers.  On an entirely epistemological level,
since I'm a mathematical moron, I absorbed just enough to scribble a
ludicrous excuse for a term paper more indebted to Asimov and Heinlein than
to the textbook  (Gerry Mulligan's signature tune, "Utter Chaos," ran through
my head on continuous loop while I concocted this mess!), and to fake my way
through the final exam, despite total confusion. The last day of class, back
in the lecture hall, Teller made a grand entrance and gave another lecture,
about then- current theories of quantum mechanics.  My dad used to recite
this oldie, which pretty much sums up my comprehension of Teller's lecture:

There once was a lady named Bright,
Whose speed was much faster than light.
She started one day,
In a relative way,
And returned on the previous night.

I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be if there weren't any sponges....

Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 20:44:36 -0500 (CDT)
From: engelbrecht-wiggans richard <eplus17@>
Subject: Re: [CB] Newbie Questions

Thanks to everyone for their help.  Enough people suggested
that leaks--even small ones--could be the problem for me to
have it checked out.  As it happens, one of the lower of the
two low B pads wasn't closely 100%, but half a turn of the
appropriate adjustment screw fixed that...and also fixed a
lot of my problems.

Fixing this leak really improved the low notes in the lower
register.  It also got rid of most of the squawks in the low
notes of the upper register.  And now that I don't have to
fight squawks in the upper register, I don't get any squawks
anymore when crossing from the upper to lower register.


On Wed, 7 Jun 2000, Grant Green wrote:
> How airtight is it?  It could be that your bass leaks too, but not in
> a location that has given you trouble.  The contra might leak in a
> particularly bad spot.

Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans, U of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois
email: eplus17@; (217) 333-1088


From: "Aaron Rabushka" <arabushk@>
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 21:49:04 -0500
Subject: [CB] Concert in Olomouc

On June 18 the Moravian Philharmonic will present the world première of my
Concerto Vocale based on Psalm 126 in Olomouc, Czech Republic. No unusual
instruments (although there are some unusual playing techniques), just good
music. I will be temporarily leaving this list until my return to the US.

Aaron J. Rabushka
arabushk @


Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 10:20:21 -0400
From: "Robert S. Howe" <arehow @>
Subject: [CB] Bb Bass Clarinet FS

Anyone interested in a fine wooden Bb Bass Clarinet, range to low Eb,
wonderful condition?  It was used by a Boston area musician through the
1980s mostly for theater including Broadway shows, opera and ballet,
logging innumerable Nutcrackers.  The case is original and in fine
condition, although one latch is locked shut and the key is missing. It
has a left hand Ab/Eb lever, an articulation from the lower to the upper
joint to allow a true B-C#/F#-G# trill; this can be backed off or
removed if you prefer to play using the long fingering for high F.  The
clarinet has double register keys and the most reliable mechanism for
choosing between the register keys that you could ask for.

The clarinet is labelled P. Gerard/Paris/(three stars) on both wooden
joints and the bell.  Langwill lists this as a 20th century dealer.
Presumably this instrument is a product of another French maker such as
Buffet, Selmer, LeBlanc, Thibouville, Martin, etc, who are known to have
made stamp instuments for dealers. The wood is grenadilla, the keys

This bass clarinet plays like a son of a gun, don't be put off by an
unfamiliar name.  I am selling it because I own 5 other bass clarinets,
including two Buffets; understand that my main performing instrument is
the oboe, and that having a harem is of little advantage if you're
rarely in the mood for love.  This bass clarinet would be suitable for
any application, band or orchestral, it plays very well with a full
sound and a reliable upper register.

The WW and Brasswind in Indiana lists various second-label wooden bass
clarinets to Eb, including Amati and others.  They sell (heavily
discounted) for $2375 and up.  I have seen used instruments similar to
this one for sale at NYC dealers for $2200.  I would like to see $2000
for this puppy but I am quite willing to negotiate, particularly if you
are (like me) a collector with other instruments to swap.  If it doesn't
sell, I put it on EBay, but I would much prefer to have it go to a
colleague for a resonable price than to enter that den of greed.

Please reply privately.

Robert Howe

From: MusicDayDream@
Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 10:42:50 EDT
Subject: [CB] Leblanc Paperclip Contra Bass Clarinet..

I just bought a contrabass clarinet, and i think it has double register keys,
cuz of all the clarinets ive used, ive never used one with 2 in the back.
How exactly do theywork?  THanks!

From: "Tom Izzo" <jeanvaljean@>
Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 11:02:33 -0500
Subject: Re: [CB] Leblanc Paperclip Contra Bass Clarinet..

> Hey
> I just bought a contrabass clarinet, and i think it has double register keys,
> cuz of all the clarinets ive used, ive never used one with 2 in the back.
> How exactly do theywork?

Press down on them.
Sorry, couldn't resist. :-)



From: MusicDayDream@
Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 11:25:12 EDT
Subject: Re: [CB] Leblanc Paperclip Contra Bass Clarinet..

<<Press down on them.
Sorry, couldn't resist. :-)


LOL....yes i know that.  But if there are 2 of them, do  i use both of them,
or just one for some notes, one for the other?  Cuz some notes work only on
one, some work only on the other, and some need both keys, so im quite

Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 10:18:26 -0700
From: Grant Green <gdgreen@>
Subject: Re: [CB] Leblanc Paperclip Contra Bass Clarinet..

At 10:42 AM 6/11/00 -0400, Dana wrote:
>I just bought a contrabass clarinet, and i think it has double register keys,
>cuz of all the clarinets ive used, ive never used one with 2 in the back.
>How exactly do theywork?  THanks!

One key (let's call it o1) works for the throat Bb up to Eb.  You'll be
able to tell which is which by fingering Bb with either key and noticing
which one causes the Bb pad to open (it's near the top of the horn, above
the A pad). You switch to o2 for playing E up to high C#.  Above high C#
you go back to using o1.  You may find that the altissimo register is
actually easier to play using the 2 octave key setup.




From: "" <jonsmith@>
Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 10:34:11 -0700
Subject: Re: [CB] Leblanc Paperclip Contra Bass Clarinet..


I have a Selmer bass clarinet that used two separate octave keys. It is
actually more reliable than the current automatic mechanism; and it's not
hard once you learn it.

On mine I used the lower one (with the larger hole lower down on the
instrument) from notes B-E and the smaller one from notes E on up. But, the
automatic mechanisms switch from the larger to the smaller at D, not E. So
you should experiment.

I don't think it's supposed to require both keys for any notes. But, if the
extra vent sounds better, speaks easier, go for it. You have to get to know
your instrument.

Good luck,


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