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19 March 1997
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 12:59:45 -0500 (EST)
Subject: contrabass-list Digest V97 #1
X-Mailing-List: <firstname.lastname@example.org> archive/volume97/1
contrabass-list Digest Volume 2: Issue 1
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Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 10:00:37 -0800
From: Grant Green <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: email@example.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Contrabass
> Dear Grant,
> In response to my posting you wrote:
> " Ah, the Renaissance rackett!...Some would probably say that they
> died out centuries ago due to their "unrefined" timbre, but they
> probably aren't any worse than many modern timbres."
> I have a follow up question. I've also read about an instrument called
> a Baroque "ranket" that was similar to a rackett (9 parallel bores). I
> read that it had a bell on it. I would guess this would change the
> timbre (even overtones as well as odd, perhaps?) Have you ever seen
> and/or heard this instrument? Does it have a "nicer timbre". Not that
> there is anything wrong with the timbre of the rackett.
The baroque ranket (also spelled rackett or rankett) is very similar to the Renaissance variety, but has a conical bore rather than a cylindrical bore. The consequences of that are
In fact, the baroque ranket is often referred to (when it is referred to at all) as a "pocket bassoon." The timbre is "rounder", and less hollow and buzzy. Frankly, I like both timbres. Unfortunately, baroque ranketts seem to cost much more than the renaissance variety, possibly because it is more difficult to drill a bunch of parallel conical bores.
The difference in octaves is due to the stopped pipe acoustics, i.e., the same reason that a clarinet plays an octave lower than an oboe or flute of the same length: a cylindrical bore stopped at one end (the reed does that) sounds an octave lower than a conical bore stopped at one end (like an oboe) or a cylindrical bore open at both ends (like a flute).