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Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2000 17:01:18 -0600 (MDT)
From: Shouryunus Sarcasticii
Subject: Re: [CB] BBb Contrabass Clarinet Sighted

On Sat, 9 Sep 2000 SEMarcus wrote:

> On the assumption that BBb contrabass clarinets are more rare than Eb
> contra-altos, I'd say that this was a good sighting.  Unfortunately, the
> student didn't have time to play it a bit so I could hear it!  Oh well, I'm
> happy playing even lower notes on my tuba, contrabass maniac that I am...

To be honest, Contra-alto and contra-bass clarinets are, in my opinion,
not particularly rare.  It is simply their performance venue that makes
them a rare sight.  The main performance ensemble of traditional music,
when the public thinks on it, is a symphony orchestra, and that particular
opinion is not unfounded.  The extended clarinet family really only sees
use in two particular venues, that of the wind band and clarinet/woodwind
choirs.  Every university ensemble that I've had the pleasure to hear at
one point or another used a BBb at least once in their performance, as
modern composers for wind bands continually make use of the instrument.
These schools included U of Arizona, U of S. Mississippi, U of Maryland, U
of North Texas, U of New Mexico, U of Texas at El Paso, and U of North
Colorado.  The BBb contra will almost always be seen at a winds concert
here at NMSU - on our next concert, I shall be wielding the monsterbass
for Nixon's Elegy and Fanfare, Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphasis, and
some freaky tune called Cave (it's a holloween concert).

Contra's aren't really a scarce item - you just have to know where to
look.  High schools generally don't always employ them unless that
particular school has the proper FUNDING to afford such instruments, and
even still, if they can, many high schools may not use them much, as the
majority of contra-intensive band material is on the higher end of the
difficulty scale (but not always).  Smart high schools will have them
anyways, if only for the sole purpose of playing anything by Grainger or
any tunes arranged by Calliet.  Universities, on the other's
pretty much a MUST for university ensembles to employ them in their wind
ensembles.  Certainly they aren't required for EVERYTHING, but if the
institution wishes to expose it's students to a diverse and well sampled
selection of wind band literature, and wishes to do it PROPERLY, then they
will need the contras.

J. Shouryu Nohe
Professor of SCSM102, New Mexico State Univ.
"Never put passion before principle.  Even when win, you lose."
      -Miyagi-san, KKpt.II

***End of Contrabass Digest***

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