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Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001 10:50:43 +0200
Subject: Re: [CB] Contra-altissimo + "new" contraalto

A lot of interesting things about altissimo fingerings the latest days.
(I started experimenting with this about 30 years ago).  About the
missing vent for the 3rd register, which we have on bass clarinets,
but not on contras: I never use it !!  The sound on the bass with
these fingerings  can only be used in pianissimo ensemble playing.

To get good sound useful for soloistic purposes, you must use
completely different fingerings.  The same is to be said about contra
fingerings, except they are different from bass fingerings (like bassett
horn and alto fingerings: lt=B4s something different still).

There are several "tricks" to let those tones speek, f.ex. on contra:
press the register key for the first 1/10 second of the tone, you will get the
tone easily by owerblowing middle G-Bflat, and the tone will not drop
down later.  For more detailes and fingerings, look at

Tip: Read the articles, not just the fingerings.  This will need a lot of
practice!  But when you can play Mozart and Weber on all sizes, then
its OK.  The most difficult is from Csharp to F (only 5 tones!).  The next
2 octaves is no problem.

Good luck!

Terje Lestad


Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001 20:50:41 +0100
From: Alberto Pinton
Subject: [CB] Contra-alto altissimo...

If it can be of any help, this is what I do to play above C on the
Contra-alto: for C#,D I use regular Bb clarinet fingerings, D# like low F/C
but no left index+reg key and then from E to Eb an octave above, I
basically overblow the 7th of the fundamentals, that is: low F# with
register key for vent gives me E4 on the horn and then just up
chromatically to F (left thumb) which gives me Eb5 on the horn, after that
the reed starts to give out...obviously, there're higher notes...
btw my set-up is: Selmer Rosewood to low Eb, Clark Fobes (GREAT!!)
mouthpiece for EEb contra-alto, VanDoren #4 contra-bass clarinet reeds and
a metal ligature with two strips of Rovner material where it touches the
reed...for stability on such a large piece of cane...

Thanks, best of luck to all of us for a squeak-free environment ;-§)


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