Vol. 1, No. 23

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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. 23 25 July 1996

EDITOR'S NOTE: Today let's welcome new subscriber Mike Mori!

Author: KUUP84A@prodigy.com (MR MARK A TRINKO) at SMTP

Date: 7/24/96 10:55 AM

TO: Grant Green at CHIRON-EME04

Subject: Re: Contrabass-L No. 22

I would be opposed to anything web based and would have to unsubscribe this list as web cost me much money.

Author: Timothy Tikker and Julia Harlow <tjt@efn.org> at SMTP

Date: 7/24/96 10:46 AM

Priority: Normal

TO: Grant Green at CHIRON-EME04

Subject: Re: Re[2]: Sarrusophones

Thanks for the note.

Briefly, my contributions to the discography were:

If you need more bibliographic detail on any of these, let me know.

Also, are you aware of the Percy Grainger biography which has a photo of Percy, wife and a friend playing a s-phone trio (Percy on soprano)?

- Tim Tikker

Bechet did another one? I've only ever found "Mandy Make up Your Mind". I found one erroneous reference to "The Sheik of Araby", but that one is notable for SB doing an early "sound on sound" recording, playing soprano, clarinet, and tenor sax (probably the only recording of SB on tenor!). The sound quality is very scratchy, and I'm sure they had to gerry-rig the recorder to make it.


Date: Wed, 24 Jul 1996 12:13:06 -0400 (EDT)

X-Sender: lederman@inforamp.net

To: gdgreen@crl.com (Grant Green)

From: drumming man <lederman@inforamp.net>

Subject: Re: Contrabass-L No. 22

Hi, Grant!

I was wondering if you could put this request to your readers. I am willing to pay a good price for anyone's extra back issue of Saxophone Journal's "Bass Sax" issue that was put out a couple of years ago. If someone has only one copy of this issue that they don't care to part with, I'll gladly purchase a photocopy. Somewhere I have the actual issue date and Vol.#, and if anyone thinks they can help, and they need more information, I'll be happy to provide it. Also, can anyone provide a videotape copy of the BBC documentary "Lowest Of The Low" which featured bass saxophones and a contrabass saxophone? I'm exploring a number of avenues right now in hopes of obtaining a copy, and if I do, I can make copies available to interested parties!

Thank You In Advance!


From: Francis Firth <Francis.Firth@uce.ac.uk>

To: gdgreen <gdgreen@crl.com>

Subject: RE: Artaud

Date: Wed, 24 Jul 96 08:44:00 BST


Yes, it probably is the same Austria Saxophon Orchestra.

I have the Artaud CD and no, I am afraid that it doesn't include anything lower than the regular flute which is a little disappointing.

I'll have to look out for the Roscoe Mitchell. What label was it on and number if you have it? I am also going to look out for the other one you mention by Mitchell.

By the way, do you know of any other CDs featuring the Conn-o-Sax (shaped like a straight alto but in F and with a Heckelphone-like bell (BTW did you ever buy the Heckelphone or was it overtaken by Sarrusophone events?) or the Mezzosoprano saxophone in F, both relatively rare instruments?

I'll check out the details of the Barney Childs which |I should be able to mail you about today and of the fingering chart which will probably have to wait until tomorrow.

Do you have Crystal's number/fax?



P.S. Apparently the David Murow LP, the Medieval Sound, I taped for you is due to be released soon (if it has not already been) on CD as is apparently the Medieval and Renaissance Instruments 2 LP set.


I gave it a semi-thorough listening, and I think I hear his contrabass in the first track of the disc, doing a jet whistle effect (lots of air, high harmonics).

Roscoe is on Lovely Music, Ltd. (Lovely Communications, Ltd., 325 Spring St., New York, NY 10013), LCD 2021 (for the "Four Compositions" CD). The tracks are

  1. Nonaah (for flute, bassoon & piano)
  2. Duet for Wind & String (violin, alto sax)
  3. Cutouts for wind quintet (flute, oboe, clar., bassoon, horn
  4. Prelude (Quartet for voice, bass sax, contrabass sarrusophone, and triple contrabass viol).

You can guess which piece caught my eye! The liner notes say (about Prelude):

"Prelude involve both notated and improvised sections and was originally scored as a duet for bass saxophone and contrabass sarrusophone. In 1979 this duet was premired with Gerald Oshita in a concert which also featured vocalist Tom Buckner at Soundscape in New York City.
That summer Tom Buckner, Gerald Oshita and I decided to start a long-term collaboration. The next performance of Prelude was in 1980 with our newly formed trio in Berkeley, California. That trio version was recorded for the 1750 Arch Records label (S-1785).
Later that year in New York City, I became acquainted with Brian Smith's triple contrabass viol which led to the writing of this quartet version. The quartet was performed for the first time at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in November 1981."

The liner notes include a picture of the quartet performing. GO appears to be playing an EEb sarrusophone (although, as you'll see below, I'm not sure I should trust my judgement on these). You know how bass players often sit on a stool to make playing easier? The triple contrabass player appears to be standing on a stool! All of the players in the picture are standing on platforms (maybe 3-4 feet high), but Brian Smith appears to be standing about 2 feet higher, and his instrument is resting on the stage.

The writeup on Gerald Oshita is also interesting:

"Gerald Oshita was born in Waverly, Iowa and now resides in San Francisco. He is an accomplisehd player of woodwind instruments including the Conn-O-Sax and the contrabass sarrusophone, for which he is composing an ongoing cycle of pieces called "New Compositions for Extinct Woodwinds". He has performed with Roscoe Mitchell throughout the United States and Europe since 1979 as a member of the trio Space. Mr. Oshita has collaborated with visual artists, dancers and poets, most notably a tour with Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Anne Sexton. He has composed, performed and recorded with pianist Yoshuke Yamashita and with the Diarakuda Kan Dance Company of Tokyo. Through his study of shakuhachi with Kodo Araki V, Mr. Oshita developed a series of solo forms for woodwind instruments. His composition "Cycle Textures for Chamber Orchestra" was performed by the Arch Ensemble for Experimental Music in New York City and Berkely, California. He continues his work in the fields of sound engineering, textural/timbral experimentation and multiphonics."

I only wish I could hear it!!

The other Roscoe Mitchell CD (Sound and Space Ensembles) is the only one I've run across that uses Conn-o-sax. My quest for a Heckelphone has been put on hold for the moment, pending accumulation of sufficient funds to pursue one in earnest. The three sarrusophones were considerably less than the heckelphone I located, but the owner (in Canada) is getting impatient to sell. It appears that getting it across the border would also be an expensive proposition (with import duties).

I don't have the contact numbers for Crystal Records yet. If you already have them, it would speed things up a bit.


From: Francis Firth <Francis.Firth@uce.ac.uk>

Subject: Golden Bubble

Date: Wed, 24 Jul 96 09:14:00 BST

Grant, there appear to be 2 editions of Barney Childs: The Goldon Bubble for E Flat Contrabass Sarrusophone and solo percussion. One was (re?)published in facsimile in 1979 by Pembroke Music Co. of New York whose sole agents in those days were C. Fischer The other was published in 1968 by the American Publishers Alliance, also of New York and also a facsimile. The work was composed in 1967.

I think from what I have read about it that it is quite a modern piece using some extended playing techniques (even multiphonics, I seem to remember). Barney Childs must know about the instrument as he wrote the fingering chart (I think, but certainly an article about the Sarrusophone today) in Double Reed. I'll send details tomorrow.

BTW if you ever record this piece, even for yourself, I MUST have a copy.



X-POP3-Rcpt: gdgreen@mail

From: <Mike_Mori@psdi.com>

To: gdgreen@crl.com

Date: 24 Jul 96 6:46:43

Subject: contratalk

Hello again,

I would like to sign up for the email list, however this email address will only be valid until August 9. I will be moving to California in August. When I get settled in CA, I will give you my new address.

Until I hear from you again...



Hi Grant:

I tried out some web server stuff for mailing lists and don't like them much. Guess you feel the same.

I think I can get a maillist program running on our server, have to mull over the software awhile. I have been avoiding learning UNIX but I might bite the bullet. Will let you know how it goes ---- give me a week.


Scott Hirsch

1513 Old CC Rd., Colville, WA 99114 Phone: 509 935-4875

windworld@plix.com http://www.windworld.com


Many ISPs that provide services for commercial sites include mailing list software as part of the package. The two most common software applications are listserv and majordomo. Both are supposed to be relatively easy to use (especially if the ISP sets up the software). Typically (I think), all the list owner needs to do is name the list and set up the permissions (e.g., who gets to post, who gets access to the subscription list, etc.).

Many thanks, for whatever happens!


Re: Sarrusophones!

Boy, do I feel stupid!

The repair shop finished the big sarrusophone (the Evette & Schaeffer) on Wednesday, so I picked it up and ran it straight home to try out. I found that a bass sordune reed fits the bocal just right, and it sounds great. I went through a bunch of my old saxophone etude books, getting the feel of the horn, getting used to the fingerings, etc. Then I thought, well, I try learning the bari solo piece ("Paper Moon") so I'll have the fingerings down when the EEb contra is ready. Spent an hour or so working it up to the point I was comfortable with it. Then I thought, "I should check the tuning on this horn, to see if I could ever play it with the band". Pulled out the chromatic tuner, fingered a G, and honked.

The tuner says "A#". I thought, wait a minute, it should say "F"! Played it again: still a Bb. Played a C: tuner says D#. Went over to the piano and played "match the pitch". Sudden realization: I have TWO EEb contrabass sarrusophones! Checked the bass sarrusophone: it is definitely in Bb. The other horn (the Gautrot) is still at the shop, but I'm pretty sure its an EEb (its obviously larger than the Bb bass, and seems smaller than the E&S horn, so it can't be a CC or BBb). The E&S contra is about 5" longer than the Gautrot, and appears to be larger and heavier, but apparently both are EEb contras. It looks bigger, and when I examined it couldn't be played well to check it out (there were keys loose, and no workable reed handy). Faked me out, and the appraiser as well.

Good Lord, this means that Milton Marcus had three EEb contrabass sarrusophones! Does that strike you as the slightest bit...excessive? I suppose I'll need to sell one of mine, or trade it for something else....

BTW, the band is performing tomorrow night, and I just might pull out the contra...


Re: More Sarrusophones!

I've discovered a few interesting features common (so far) to the bass and contra.

First off, they have three octave keys. On the bass, all three are operated by the left thumb, while on the contras the lowest octave key is operated by the right thumb. That key seems to be useful for the second register D and D#, and for the altissimo range. ("First octave" is the fundamental range, without octave keys. "Second register" is the octave above the first octave. "Altissimo" is anything above the second octave. At least, that's how I'm using the terms here.) If the lowest octave key is O1, the second octave key (O2) is useful for e-g#, and the third (O3) for a-d. You can produce the altissimo d either by fingering C (LH2 + O3) and adding a RH1 key, or by fingering D with O1+O2 (O1O2 123|456). The O1O2 combination works for altissimo notes d-g. At least, that's what I can do so far. Comes in handy, because "Paper Moon" ends on a high F.

I taped a bit of my practice session, so you may find a new wav file on the web page in the near future. Don't say I didn't warn you!


End Contrabass-L No. 23

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