Vol. 1, No. 13

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| Contrabass-L: a list for discussion of contrabass *anything*|
|To subscribe, email gdgreen@crl.com with "subscribe contrabass"|
|in the subject line |

Vol. 1, No. 13 2 July 1996

EDITOR'S NOTE: Let's welcome today new subscriber Sarah Themm. If you haven't noticed already, you can catch up on back issues in the archive at http://www.crl.com/~gdgreen/c-arch1.html . Enjoy!

From: groover@netcom.com (Robert Groover)

Subject: Re: Contrabass-L 1.12

To: gdgreen@crl.com (Grant Green)

Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 11:31:01 -0700 (PDT)

Re organ notes:

a 64' stop is unusual, but not unique. (For example, there is one on the big old Aeolian Skinner in Woolsey Hall at Yale.) This would be a closed pipe, so the physical length of the pipe is "only" 32 feet. The pitch of a 64' C would be 17 Hz, so it's not easy to record! I've heard the stop used, and it's exciting: I couldn't really hear the fundamental pitch, but my shirt was banging against my chest - it's more a visceral than an auditory sensation (somewhat like loud drumming in that respect).

Robert Groover groover@netcom.com (PGP key on request)

Member ECS, AVS, ACM, OSA, Sen.Mem.IEEE, Reg'd Patent Atty

"All men by nature desire knowledge."

From: A Myers <ezhm01@tattoo.ed.ac.uk>


Date: Mon, 1 Jul 96 19:31:12 BST

Paul Lindemann asks (30.6.96) "What's the rule for ...double BBb, CC, EEb etc?"

Who says there is a rule? ... or only one rule? ... You have to check each time!

When Sax introduced his range of saxhorns, the larger sizes were tenor (6-ft F or Eb), baritone (8-ft C or 9-ft Bb) and bass (also 8-ft C or 9-ft Bb but wider bore). The 13-ft Eb saxhorn was thus the contrabass.

In the British brass band, the 18ft Bb bass (in fact a tuba, though never called that) was from the start called the BBb bass or `double B' to distinguish it from the bass saxhorn or euphonium.

However, later terminology uses EEb bass to mean a wider bore instrument; thus a contesting band might regard its Eb basses as "double Eb" and those of a beginner's band merely "single Eb". I rather think that the presence of a fourth valve is not the usual distinction.

With brass instruments, it's safest to give a nominal tube length, for this purpose a round number of feet is handier than international (metric) units, e.g. trompe de chasse basse in 28-ft D.

Arnold Myers

Arnold Myers,
Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments,
Reid Concert Hall, Bristo Square, EDINBURGH EH8 9AG, Scotland
Web URL: http://www.music.ed.ac.uk/euchmi/

I guess the question then arrises: do "BBb" and "EEb" have any meaning applied to woodwinds? Would one call the narrow bore contrabass clarinet a Bb contra, and the wide bore contrabass a BBb contra? Is this just a matter of music publishers being sloppy in their terminology?


Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 23:55:07 PST

Subject: subscribe contrabass-l

From: sthemm@juno.com (S E Themm)


I would love to be a member of the contrabass-l newsgroup. I found your homepage a few weeks ago and have been hooked since. As long as i have been involved in music i have had a taste for the lower instruments. For the past two years i have played bassoon. I started on clarinet and wanted to switch to bass clarinet in jr. high. The director was stingy and said no, and I'm actually happy about that now because I love playing my bassoon. I recently purchased one of my own and am looking into contrabassoons.

Being from Michigan, where marching band is a big deal, I needed to learn another instrument to march. So I picked up the baritone and will be moving on to tuba and trombone in the next year. I am active in my high school's band program and in youth orchestras and bands in my community. I also busy throughout the year with newspaper and track. I am currently enrolled in AP classes and am looking forward to college. I am unsure as to where I will go, but right now the University of Cincinnati looks good. My major is also a giant question mark. A science (chemistry perhaps) seems to stick out as my best choice. This, in no way means I will give up music. I wish to minor in music, and if time and money permits, a possible major in music preformance.

That is enough about me to give you an idea. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sarah Themm, sthemm@juno.com

Can't argue with that! I majored in chemistry, and minored in music. I decided early on that I wanted to keep music enjoyable for me, and not convert it into work. You'll find that there are many more musicians around than there are chemists (and good chemists can more likely afford the contrabassoon, although you don't get to write it off on your taxes). Perhaps I should say that you may be able to afford the contra sooner...


Date: Tue, 02 Jul 1996 17:24:06 +0200

From: Hans Mons <Hans.Mons@IAEhv.nl>

Subject: Re: Great Bass Shawms


> Keith Loraine, in Petaluma, CA, makes (or at least sells) a great bass shawm
> with range extended to low G. It apparently breaks down into several
> sections, and comes in a heavy wooden case equipped with wheels. The list
> price in the catalog I have (which may be out of date) is US$5,900. It is
> 9' tall assembled.

I don't know about the wheels :-), but the rest sound pretty much the same as the instrument that John Hanchet makes. The instrument they played was indeed a great bass in C with a downward extension to GG, so it was the Quart Bass. John Hanchet also has a Quint Bass in his program, in the scale of BBb with an extension down to FF.

> I've always thought the "low consort" an interesting concept. (E.g., instead
> of SATB recorders, using T/B/GB/CB.

For recorders this works very well, I have done it many times. There are quite some recordings from Amsterdam Loeki Stardust with the T/B/GB/CB recorder instrumentation.

If a CB recorder is not available, then a viol or even better, a viol and a bass racket for the bass part also can work very well in combination with GB/B/T recorders.

I have never heard of a contra bass shawm. Preatorius doesn't describe the contra bass shawm in Syntagma Musicum, but perhaps a few exsist(ed). On the other hand I think that this instrument would be rather difficult (or even impossible ?) to play, a shawm in the scale of FF with as a lowest note CC should have a total length of about 4 meters (13.5 foot)! But, what a beast would this be to play, to listen to and not at least to look at.

Hans Mons

I think I'd be game to try playing it ;-) I think it would require a few keys, and would probably be awkward to hold (the GBs seem to be held at an angle, just to reach the crook), but I can imagine it being wholly worthwhile.


End Contrabass-L 1.13

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