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Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 23:29:53 GMT
Subject: [CB] String notation
From: go_oaw

Naming for strings makes perfect sense, it just happened more than 10 years ago and in a foreign language.  Someone fixed up his oud so that he could play it with a bow. The vihuala, latter changed to viola.
Then someone made it smaller and applied the diminutive, violin.
Someone made it bigger and applied the 'opposite of diminutive' to get violone, latter changed to bass violin. someone made a small violone and named it by appling a different diminutive to get violoncello.  So we have the viola, the small viola, the Big viola, and the small Big viola, all members of the viola family.  Or should we say, the c-Viola, the g-viola, the EE-viola (or CC-viola if it has an extension machine (4 th valve)), and the C-viola.

  Strings did not choose to transpose, they invented different cleffs instead, but if you would like a real transposition puzzle, check out the Biber sonatas written for scordatura (mis-tuned) violin.  Maybe this is why fiddelers rejected transposition!   Oscar


Date: Wed, 08 May 2002 17:34:31 -0700
From: tubadave
Subject: Re: [CB] [CB Digest]

"It's odd that strings have escaped scrutiny - look what happened to the violin family."

actually, if you look up the work of the catgut acoustical society &/or Carleen  Hutchins you will find that an 8 piece violin family has been proposed for all who would be concerned with such things. with completed scientific work & several full octets existing in the world today with compositions having been written for, as well as old works being "re-worked" for the new 8 string ensemble.

Date: Wed, 08 May 2002 17:40:05 -0700
From: tubadave
Subject: Re: [CB] [CB Digest]

Here is a picture of the String Octet

Date: Thu, 09 May 2002 09:01:11 +0000
From: David Bobroff
Subject: [CB] New_violin_family

>It's odd that strings have escaped scrutiny - look what happened to the
>violin family. Violin (soprano), viola (alto), 'cello (baritone), string
>(contrabass) -- where's the bass? Or, seeing as 'cello is commonly the
>'bass' of the quartet, where are the tenor and baritone voices?
>Perhaps it was thought at the time that gambas (themselves available in
>several sizes to confuse things still further) would continue to serve in
>that role.

Well, there is a new family of violins called "The New Violin Family" (I'm not making this up).  It consists of eight instruments all constructed according to violin proportions unlike the string family of violin, viola, 'cello, and bass.  The eight members of the family are:

I've seen these instruments.  There is a set on loan here.  A bass player friend has the set.  He often uses the large bass in the orchestra we play in.  He currently has it tuned C-G-D-G rather than E-A-D-G (low notes, right?).  They *all* look like violins.  When the large bass is next to the other basses the difference is strking.

I don't have an URL at my fingertips but a search for "New violin family" or "Hutchins Consort" (Carleen Hutchins is one of the original makers) should produce results.

David Bobroff

From: "zhenya"
Subject: Re: [CB] New_violin_family
Date: Thu, 9 May 2002 08:08:52 -0400

I can't wait to see a photo.
Just to mention, I'm the hurdy-gurdy person. I came on this year. I'm buying a bass hurdy-gurdy (a mechanical fiddle,) in December. Oh, and someone else is, too, in the states.
But, these are sophisticated, yet rustic fiddles, and about six CDs have been dome that put them together with the various sizes.
Similarly, there is that one Nyckelharpa CD that attempts to offer this as a group or family setting, doing the Swedish instrumental music. The Nyckelharpa, is also a rustic, but really cool fiddle. I have a photo of a bass Nyckelharpa, about six feet tall, if anyone wishes to ask to see that.
For that matter, the bass hurdy-gurdy, too.

Ask via the list

best wishes; great thread on this--
all the family members represented in a string group...



From: "Gregg B"
Subject: [CB] Past List Member Returning--organ and low wind enthusiast
Date: Thu, 09 May 2002 10:34:02 -0500

Hello, List!  This is Gregg Bailey, a 20 year-old organist in Odessa, Texas.
  I've been on the list before, but it's been a couple of years.  I am an organ major and am aspiring to become a concert organist.  My favorite instruments to play in wind ensembles are the bass and contrabass clarinets .
  Overall, I can play all the standard members of the woodwind family well enough to play in an ensemble, except for the bassoon.  I've taught myself the bassoon as far as the fingering chart and emboucher, but I haven't spent much time getting used to seeing the note on the page and automatically translating that to a particular fingering on the instrument without thinking.  I can do it to an extent, though.  Except for low clarinets, I taught MYSELF to play all the other woodwinds.  I just couldn't resist!  The flute and tenor sax are what I play most regularly next to the low clarinets.  However, as I'm sure you can all agree, the organ has the best bass of ANY instrument, because the pipes can be of any length and width without being under the limitation of human mouths and lungs!  I have a dream of having a concert hall and organ consructed that has several 64' and 128' ranks of pipes (yes, the largest pipes would have a 128' speaking
length for a bottom frequency of about 4 Hz).
Anyway, I'm excited to be back on the list where I can be amongst other deep-frequency enthusiasts!


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Date: Thu, 09 May 2002 17:42:46 +0200 (MET DST)
From: "Drake MABRY"
Subject: Re: [CB] [CB Digest] 

Here's a message I received from Paul Schmidt concerning a new version of Peter and the Wolf which includes a serpent. I place this alongside the version I have with Dave van Ronk and a jug band.


A fairly recent CD release with serpent has come to my attention; a French language reading of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf (Pierre et le loup) featuring distinctive early instruments.

plus the Nouvel Ensemble Instrumental de Conservatoire National Superieur and Eddy Mitchell, narrator

The CD is an interactive one, so it also works in a computer to present educational interviews with the instruments.

Pierre et le loup
Eddy Mitchell (recitant)
Jacques Pesi (direction)
EMI/Virgin Classics # 7243 5 45369 2 2 (also listed as 5 45369)

I found this only on the French Amazon site (, and it came in about 10 days.

Not having a personal grip on the French language, I wish it was in English, but it's still kinda cool.

-- Paul Schmidt


From: "Gregg B"
Subject: [CB] Nomenclature of Clarintet vs. other winds
Date: Thu, 09 May 2002 11:04:52 -0500

I understand John Kilpatrick's comment perfectly, because it is something that I have thought myself for quite some time--that the Bb clarinet should be called an Eb instrument.  The reason I feel this way is because, ignoring the bassoon (which reads concert pitch anyway), all the other woodwinds are such that low C is fingered Left Thumb, L1, L2, L3, R1, R2, R3, and R4 depressed.  Therefore, to be consistent, what is currently called Low F on the clarinet should be instead called Low C.  Besides, the C scale in the flute and sax is the one that is easiest since you simply lift up the fingers one by one going up, and vice-versa coming down.  This makes since, as the C scale has no flats or sharps.  The F scale in the low register of the clarinet is this way, but it has a Bb in the scale.  In order to play the C scale on the clarinet below middle C on the page, you have to play a funny fingering for the B natural that does not fit this pattern of simply
lifting the fingers one by one.  Therefore, since the F scale on the clarinet fits the finger pattern of the C scale on the flute, sax, and oboe (for the most part), I agree that low F on the clarinet should be renamed C, thus becoming an Eb instrument.  John is right--the nomenclature seems to be instead based on the clarion register.  In this register, the C scale IS this finger pattern, because everything is shifted up a fifth in terms of fingering from the chalumeau register.  I suppose we can take a look at the name of the instrument--Clarinet.  In French, you have "Clairon," then in another language, the i and the r are transposed to form what we commonly know as "Clarion," and in yet another language, this "Clarion" is
manipulated whereby the o and the n are transposed to form "Clarino."  I assume that the Clarinet got its name from "Clarino", which refers to that second register.  So, maybe the clarion register is considered to be the most important register of the instrument, which would explain why the nomenclature would lend itself to that register, where the C scale DOES fit the finger pattern that I mentioned.

I have done a project on my own where I took 4-part recorder music and multi-tracked it at my dad's studio using the clarinet family.  I used the Bb clarinet for the soprano, the alto clarinet for the alto, the bass clarinet for the tenor, and the contra-alto clarinet for the bass.  Intervalically, these clarinet instruments would be the equivalent of the recorder family.  The irony is that the soprano clarinet can play lower than the bass recorder because the entire family is shifted down by one octave and a major sixth.  Anyway, due to the fact that clarinet fingering is basically identical to the soprano recorder if you think of low F on the clarinet as being C instead, this is how I used the instruments.  In other words, for the soprano recorder part, for low C on the soprano recorder, I fingered low F on the clarinet because it is the identical fingering.

I hope I haven't just confused everyone even more!  Anyway, John, I DO sympathize with you!!!


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