Vol. 2, No. 25


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Date: Mon, 21 Apr 1997 14:01:17 -0400 (EDT)

Contrabass-list Digest Volume 97 : Issue 25

Today's Topics:

Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 13:14:47 +0000
From: Paul Cohen <PaulC135@AOL.com>
To: contrabass-list@contrabass.com
Subject: no C basses

> Subject: Swedish
> Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 08:40 +0200
> Do you know if there were ever actually made any contrabass or
> baritone saxes tuned in F?

According to Dr. Paul Cohen, no such things exist.

> Were there several C basses made?

At least two, Sax' original instrument and another one he made back in the 1860s or 70s. (The latter is pictured in the January 1990 issue of SAXOPHONE JOURNAL, Vol. 14, No. 4.)


But wait! That bass sax in the picture from the SAX JOURNAL (1990) is pitched in Bb. I should know. Its my picture from my article on the early history of the bass sax that is referred to in the earlier post. We only know of one bass sax in C made, the prototype from 1840. If others were made, their existence is still unknown.

Paul Cohen

Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 14:24:04 -0700
From: Grant Green <gdgreen@contrabass.com>
To: Tom Oatmen <oatm0001@maroon.tc.umn.edu>
Cc: contrabass-list@contrabass.com
Subject: Re: subscribe

At 05:04 PM 4/18/97 -0400, you wrote:

>Tom Oatmen

You're now subscribed! BTW, would you please let me know if you received an automatic response from the software (i.e., before this message)? I've been tinkering with the settings, and would like to know if they're working.



Date: Sat, 19 Apr 97 10:27:00 BST
From: Francis Firth <Francis.Firth@uce.ac.uk>
To: "'contrabass-l'" <contrabass-list@contrabass.com>
Subject: Gavin Bryars Bass Oboe Concerto - The East Coast

Dear All,

with the help of Brian Moses Schott sent me a promotional tape of Gavin Bryars's Bass Oboe Concerto entitled The East Coast. Here are my thought on the work:

The work is lyrical with a nice melodic bass oboe part showing off the instrument well. The idiom appears to be 'new tonality' - a relatively static accompanying background with little harmonic development or rythmic drive and with relatively little interaction with the soloist or independent material thus allowing the soloist to stand out. It is plangent and is easy on the ear but should prove popular (the audience at Winnipeg seemed to have loved it). It is good at long last to have a concerto for this instrument and by a well-known composer.

The tape is promotional so I can't make copies for anyone unfortunately. The music itself is available for hire from Schott.

I hope that this of interest to people.

Francis Firth

Date: Mon, 21 Apr 1997 11:07:19 -0700
From: Bob Bailey <bbailey@nwol.net> (by way of Grant Green <gdgreen@contrabass.com>)
To: contrabass-list@contrabass.com
Subject: super-low, resonant tones!

I couldn't figure out what your name is; I assume this is your address. I am very glad to have found someone on the internet who shares my "maniacle obsession" of extremely low tones. I also prefer the absolute lowest woodwinds. I found a cd with contrabass flute on a Muze system of cd's and just yesterday I was wondering if a sub contrabass flute had been made. I was glad to find on your site that there is such a thing.

My favorite instrument is the classical pipe organ. My dad has been a member of several rock bands, and my mom is a rock person, so I really know no one who has the same musical interests as I do. I don't know if you know about organ-tone lengths, but I want to design a huge music hall when I grow up--I'm only 15-- ; I want to design an extremely powerful pipe organ for it with a 64' tone(an octave below the lowest concert C of the true sub contrabass clarinet, with a frequency of a little more than 8 Herz/sec.!!). My dad doesn't like anything lower than a 16' tone, and tells me that I should be "practical" about low notes. He sais that he likes bass more than the average person but that he has heard enough organ music to "know" that an organ doesn't need anything below a 16' tone!! I get frustrated.

The limit of an average contrabass clarinet is a 16' tone and isn't very distinguishable by itself, yet the same frequency on an organ is perfectly distinguishable by itself--I don't understand why this is so.

** We seem to have had a problem with the mail here **

bass, contra alto, and contrabass clarinets!! The contrabass is metal, and has a nice tone when the notes are slurred, but when I tongue the notes in band, it is fuzzy, and seems to take away from the overall tone of the band. Are all contrabass clarinets this way? The contra alto clarinet is a plastic Bundy Resonite, and has a nice tone on nearly every single note, but isn't very loud. Many people think I play too loudly on the bass clarinet, and I understand that I have to blend with the band, but sometimes I don't agree with the band directors.

I found out about the sub contrabass clarinet and sub contrabassoon only through the Guinness Book of World Records--how did you find out about these lowest instruments?? The tubas don't resonate, in my opinion, enough on their lower tones, so I wonder if, since organ pipes of 16' resonate so well, sub contrabass flutes would have the same rich, smooth resonance. The sub contrabass flute has the same frequency of it's lowest note as a 16' organ tone.

I hope to get a reply from you!

I have a Gemeinhardt flute and piccolo, but I rreeaallllyy want to hear all the lower flutes!!!!

I don't understand what defines "hearing" a tone-- When I hear a 32' organ tone, I much more than just feel it, yet I couldn't hum the note in my own register just going by what the tone sounds like.

I still can't really believe that I have found someone, along with a large group of people, that also likes ultra-low notes so much!!!

Please tell me what you think of all of this!

I have always liked tones that produce primarily odd harmonics(clarinet, panflute, square wave), and I was delighted when I learned of the bass clarinet 3 years ago. If I had just known that this is just the beginning of the low world! I remember when I thought an 8' tone was super-low. I like playing all instruments with edge, and some people think I use too much edge on the low clarinets. What do you think of low, reedy edge?

The piece you mentioned that uses harmonium, bongo drums, sub contrabass recorder, and sub contrabass clarinet: What does the sub contrabass clarinet do? I know I'd like its tone, but, since its lowest tones are undistinguishable, how is it applied to music?

I found a picture of a contrabass saxophone with a player in a book, F.Y.I.

Well, I don't want to wear you out, so I'll quit for now, and I hope to get a reply!

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