Vol. 2, No. 19


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Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 22:41:16 -0400 (EDT)

Contrabass-list Digest Volume 97 : Issue 19

Today's Topics:

Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 11:09:25 -0700
From: Grant Green <gdgreen@contrabass.com>
To: contrabass-list@contrabass.com
Subject: Ophicleide

>I understand this instrument was popular in the mid-nineteenth century.
>It's name is somehow derived from the root word for "serpant" in Greek, am
>I right? I have never heard a real one, and am curious if they ever get
>played any more. Are there any recordings made, or are there any events
>that occur in the NYC area that might be likely to feature one? Does
>anyone on the contrabass listserve have or play one?


The ophicleide is a keyed brass instrument (like a keyed bugle), having 9-11 keys and pads. The name means "keyed serpent", as the serpent also has a brass-type mouthpiece, a conical bore, and fingerholes to change the length of the sounding bore. However, whereas the fingerholes on the serpent are basically placed where the player can reach them, the keys on the ophicleide are positioned for acoustic effectiveness. They're pitched in 8' C or (more commonly) 9' Bb (the alto version is in Eb and F, and called, if I remember right, the quinticlave).

Adolphe Sax made ophicleides, amongst other things, and his horns are highly regarded.

Some people still play them, including a subscriber or two here. Dr. Neuman of the Pioneer Brass has recorded on the horn, even an ophecleide duet. I think Paul Cohen still has one for sale. If you go to http://shoga.wwa.com/~ocleide/photo.htm , there's a picture of an ophicleide toward the bottom of the page.

Anyone else care to elaborate?


Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 11:09:34 -0700
From: Grant Green <gdgreen@contrabass.com>
To: contrabass-list@contrabass.com
Subject: Re: Cimbasso

>Those who also read tubaeuph have probably seen this already, but there's a
>picture of a cimbasso at
> http://www.smh.com.au/daily/archive/960802/national/960802-national3.html
>This is the only picture of one that I'm aware of on the net.

So, this is basically a contrabass valve trombone? Does anyone know of a recording?


Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 12:09:44 -0700
From: Grant Green <gdgreen@contrabass.com>
To: contrabass-list@contrabass.com
Subject: Back Digests?

I'm still trying to get an idea of how many people received any of the first batch of digests (e.g., issues 1-12), and how many didn't. If anyone would like the back issues retransmitted, please let me know. If there are a fair number, I'll just rebroadcast the back digests to the whole list.


Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 19:40:01 -0700
From: ROBERT HOWE <arehow@vgernet.net> (by way of Grant Green <gdgreen@contrabass.com>)
To: contrabass-list@contrabass.com
Subject: Re: contrabass-list Digest V97 #15

I too have an Orsi reed contrabass, circa 1880, in working condition. The keywork is neither oboe nor saxlike, more like a piano, each finger opens a single large key. What reeds are used on this instrument? Where can I get one?

An Orsi Eb Contrabass Sax is available at International WW and Brass (aka Rod Baltimore Music) in midtown Manhattan for $40,000 new. It plays wonderfully

Robert Howe

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