Vol. 2, No. 3


An email list for discussion of bass and contrabass instruments of all kinds. To subscribe, send a message with "subscribe" in the subject line to contrabass-list-request@contrabass.com.

To post, send your message to contrabass-list@contrabass.com.
See the Archive for back issues.

Today's Topics:

Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 17:56:29 -0800
From: Grant Green <gdgreen@contrabass.com>
To: KUUP84A@prodigy.com (MR MARK A TRINKO)
Cc: contrabass-list@contrabass.com
Subject: Re: Contrabassoon/Sarrusophone doubling

At 06:47 PM 3/20/97 -0500, you wrote:

>-- [ From: Mark Trinko * EMC.Ver #2.5.3 ] -- >
>The other night the Cinncinnati Symphony played in Las Vegas and there
>were 3 bassoons and a contra-bassoon. The contrabassoonist (Frank Heinz
>) played the first piece "Something Espagnole" with four movements
>alternating between the contrabassoon and the sarrusophone. He had a
>gold colored shiny new looking sarrusophone that the audience liked a
>lot more than the contra-bassoon. This concert focused on the bassoons
>and contra. It was the climax of the Doublereedarama at UNLV that day!

Would that be "Capriccio Espagnole" by Rimsky-Korsakov? (Sorry if I've mangled the spelling there.)

Good to hear that sarrusophones are cropping up a little more often. I'd like to see them come back as "mainstream" instruments.


21 Mar 1997 11:48:15 -0800
From: Grant Green <gdgreen@contrabass.com>
To: "Stephen Del Rea" <srea@uaex.edu>
Cc: contrabass-list@contrabass.com
Subject: Re: Contrabass-L (Racketts)

At 12:52 PM 3/21/97 CST, you wrote:

>I was intrigued by the mention of Racketts. Here is some information
>I found during an internet search for "rackett". What do you think
>about it as a serious musical instrument? Can it do a full chromatic
>scale? Is it worth the investment? While we're at it, what is the best
>lowest reed instrument (full and deep, preferrably single reed) for
>concert performances (with or without written parts)?

I do consider it a serious instrument, and if I ever find a recorder consort, I hope to play rackett more often. It can play a chromatic scale, but you have to get used to half-holing (fork fingerings don't work). It does have a lot of fingerholes: one for each thumb, two each for the first fingers, and one each for all other fingers - except the left little finger, which holds the instrument up ;-). The extra holes for the first fingers are often extended out from the body of the instrument by tubes (called "tetines", I think). I think they're worthwhile, especially if you get one directly from Keith Loraine: he also has his own webpage at WindWorld (www.windworld.com - look for the gallery). The alto/tenor or bass sizes are probably the most useful, the contra the greatest novelty.

The fingering on KL's horns does not strike me as illogical. I guess it doesn't have to be the case on horns by other makers: with nine parallel bores, the fingerholes could come out just about anywhere. KL, however, has at least arranged them logically. The thumb holes cover the two lowest notes (C, D), the RH1 tetine covers E, and the rest of the scale is "normal" (RH4 = F, RH3 = G, etc.). The LH1 tetine is only for the upper note(s).

The nominal range is 1.5 octaves, but it can be goosed higher.

As for the "best" lowest reed, that really depends on what you want to play, and who you want to play with. If you're limiting choices to single reed horns, you've narrowed things down to: bass clarinet, Eb contrabass clarinet, Bb contrabass clarinet, bari sax, bass sax, and the extremely rare contrabass sax. You'd probably get the fullest sound from the bass sax, and range down to Ab below the bass staff. The lowest pitched would be the Bb contrabass clarinet (the folded Leblanc will reach the lowest Bb on the piano). If you want to maximize range and versatility, it is hard to beat the bass clarinet. And for traditional big band jazz, the bari is essential. What did you have in mind?


Next Digest>

Back to Index<