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From: LeliaLoban
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2001 20:02:12 EST
Subject: [CB] Shriners

Grant Green wrote,
> I've played something like that at Lark in the Morning: basically a
> short (12"?) wooden body with evenly spaced fingerholes, a removable
> brass bell, and a stiff reed on a pirouette.  I think they're called
> zurna or suona or something similar.  Honk on it, and everyone in the
> store (and probably for several blocks around) stops what they're
> doing...

Grant, the name "zurna" looks familiar to me, too.  "Suona" is the
transliterated Chinese name for the ones Lark in the Morning sells, which
look a lot like one of mine.  I've seen them referred to as "Chinese oboes"
and "Chinese trumpets".  They're not oboes or trumpets, but the loud,
quacking tone seems like the result of an illicit romance between oboe and
trumpet, and ditto the appearance, with a double reed at the top and a flared
metal bell at the bottom.  The nicest ones I've seen have brass or copper
bells.  One of mine has a tin bell that looks like a kitchen funnel -- yuck
-- but the old, darkened copper on the (apparently) older one looks lovely.
I don't know if there's such a thing as a bass suona, but if there is, I bet
it sounds like the air horn on a semi.

I think horns of a this general type have been popular in several areas of
the Far East and Near East for centuries.  Ancient art from India shows
people playing something very similar to a suona.  I've heard that something
like it is also played in Afghanistan today.  I saw an old Chinese suona in
the Boston Museum of Fine Art about a month ago.

Somewhere in the archived messages, just before January 1999, Jim Lande and I
(and I think a couple of other people) wrote about our suonas.  We were
thinking of screaming in the Y2K New Year with them.  They'd make
ear-splitting party horns.  A Chinese-Canadian friend told me that suonas are
popular for parades in China.

Mine play a pentatonic scale, and although I don't have the right reeds on
them and can't be sure exactly what the intonation ought to be with the
correct setup, I suspect that suonas would be difficult to blend with Western
instruments.  My short, skinny little suonas require more air pressure than
my bass sax, by the way.  Phew!  A big bass suona would probably need an air

Lelia Loban

Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2001 04:09:08 +0100
From: "Klaus Bjerre"
Subject: [CB] Sue Nah

Sue Nah is the spelling in a catalogue from the Chinese Skylark Brand.

2 general types are illustrated:

a:     non-keyed in C or E with wood bodies and bells of laquered or nickelplated brass.

b:     westernisized with keys and rings somewhat like modern clarinets. Wood bodies and nickel bells. They seem to be in F in 3 different octaves. The lower version has two bends like the bottom of a bassoon and 2 bocals for vertical and horizontal playing respectively.


Date: Sat, 06 Jan 2001 21:13:16 -0800
From: bitwise
Subject: Re: [CB] Octocontrabass clarinet

A question: Does the Guinness Book of World Records say the
octocontrabass goes to 64' C? Bass clarinet is a four-foot tube
that sounds in the 8' register, contrabass is an eight-foot tube that
sounds 16' - shouldn't the octo be a 16' tube sounding 32'?
Additionally, 64' C would be about 8 Hz.

The last edition of the Book of World Records that I saw (several
years ago) listed what was then called a sub-contrabass clarinet
descending to 16 Hz (32') - and gave the title of lowest-pitched
woodwind (and lowest-pitched non-keyboard instrument) to
something called a "sub-double-contrabassoon", which went to
14 Hz (!)

I infer that the sub-contrabass was straight, as the article said the
player had to stand up. It also was evidently extended to concert
C0, rather than the next-lowest Bb (14.56 Hz in equal-temp).



From: "Tom Izzo"
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2001 17:40:03 -0600
Subject: Re: [CB] Octocontrabass clarinet

> Finally something is happening!  (Or is it just "chatting").

I hope it's constructive.

> In 1981, after I had the whole range of instruments from Ab to contrabass (11 clarinets),
> I asked for the price of an octocontrabass clarinet.  The answer was: Nous ne fabriqons
> ou envisageons de fabriquer pas de clarinette octo contra basse  (We dont't make and
> have no plans for making the octocontrabass clarinet).  So I didn't get any further
> with that, but I started composing for the instrument, mainly in clarinet choir, but also
> solo and in the orchestra.

hmmmm Not even money will "talk" to these manufacturers?
Maybe someone like Todd Clontz in Baltimore or Robb Stewart in L:A, would
try thier hands at this. Todd does a lot of work with Brass customizations &
"experiments", but Robb does both  WW & Brass.

> Also there should be made one american octocontraalto (not by Leblanc) for Lalo
> Shifrin's "Mission Impossible", which should be in Philadelphia.  The original
> information of this comes from Tom Izzo, who writes regularly in this group, so
> has he seen the instrument, or does anybody else know more about it ?

Yes I have, it's been probably 25 years, but it was in a museum owned by
Lucien Calliett, the man who commissioned it & played it on the TV Soundtrack.
(Calliett was then the principal Clar in the Philly Orch).

> There has been some people trying to do something with this, at least restoring
> the existing instruments to playing condition.  We know that they are useful,
> playable instruments, and that music has been written for them.  Maybe as a group
> we can do something.

We can hope, for sure.

> PS.  Why do somebody call the instruments LeBlanc, when the name is G. Leblanc ?

Probably the same reason why C.G. Conn's are called Conn's & Vincent Bach's are called Bach's. I think slang is used for brevity, when referring to company rather than person's name. My Meinslschmidt Tenor Valve Trombone in C, would even be longer if I stuck "Adolf" on the front of it.
Also my Bach customized 50B2LGC Bb/F/C Bass Trombone is already a mouthful. Vincent Bach Customized 50B Gold Plated Stradivarious Professional Double Valved, large bell, dual bore with extended C Crook. Yikes! I'd never finish saying it in A sentence.


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