Vol. 2, No. 38


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Date: Wed, 7 May 1997 03:20:48 -0400 (EDT)

Contrabass-list Digest Volume 97 : Issue 38

Today's Topics:

Date: Tue, 06 May 97 16:32:00 BST
From: Francis Firth <Francis.Firth@uce.ac.uk>
To: "'contrabass-l'" <contrabass-list@contrabass.com>
Subject: Rarity of Use of Some Instruments

I imagine that bass and contrabass trumpets never became standard because decently tuned and made instruments at these sizes arrived too late to establish themselves in the orchestra (outside of the Wagner/R. Strauss/Varese/Stravinsky size of orchestra) and that, consequently few were made and therefore played anywhere else either. A case of not arriving at the right place at the right time!

The same could be said of the contrabass clarinet in orchestral (except film) music and chamber music (compare the success of the early-established bass clarinet). Even in Jazz the contrabass clarinet is rare outside of avant-garde circles (Braxton, Fuchs, Koch), a situation paralleled by its use in a solo capacity in avant-garde classical music.

Sarrusophones also came on the scene too late for orchestral success except for the contra. and even saxes are rarely used in classical orchestral or chamber (as opposed to solo) music. Double reeds being more difficuly to play than single (or so it is generally accepted) it is not surprising that they did not find their way (generally) into jazz until recently with more avant-garde players looking for new tone colours. The tone of the smaller members of the sarrusophone was generally considered thin above the fundamental octave or so and not in any way comparable with the established double reeds. Also they were not really loud enough (especially compared with clarinets and saxophones - their bores are rather more slender than that of saxophones) to compete in band music in the long term.

Finally, in mainstream music there is the question of cost! You have to hire someone who has one of these instruments. Some of Hans-Joachim Hespos's music which requires such instruments as Ab clarinet, tarogato, soprano sarrusophone, heckel-musette, piccolo heckelphone has either not been performed because of the scarcity of the instruments (either through being obsolete or very expensive) and those who own/can play them or has had to be played with the parts played on other instruments such as Eb clarinets, oboes, soprano saxophones, etc.

There is a growing interest in all of these instruments but they are still generally played by a few enthusiasts who like to make unusual tones, or those who like to have a complete family of instruments (such as Paul Cohen and Marion Garver, who is expanding her collection, on this list, oboists like Lawrence Cherney and Ernest Rombout, flautists like Pierre-Yves Artaud and Robert Dick, saxophonists such as Daniel Kientzy and Anthony Braxton and clarinettists such as Terje Lerstad and David Smyers).

Francis Firth

Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 14:56:46 EST
From: "Daryl Fletcher" <daryl@www.walker.public.lib.ga.us>
To: contrabass-list@contrabass.com
Subject: Re: CB Trumpet Mpcs?

On 6 May 97 at 11:31, Grant said:

> Carl said:
> >As for mouthpiece choice with the CB trumpets I've built, during
> >play testing, I found only the shallowest of mouthpieces would
> >work.

> Carl, can you recommend a decent mpc for me to start out on? Joe
> sold me his PT-60 (which is made for F tuba solo work), which seems
> like a good mpc, but does not have a particularly shallow cup.

I tried a PT-64 that I borrowed from a friend of mine. It's supposed to be a good general purpose F tuba mouthpiece, but also works well with CC and BBb tubas too. I wasn't 100% satisfied with it on the Cb. Tpt., but I found it to be a better match than my Chuck Daellenbach and Shilke 66 mouthpieces. It seems to me that if the PT-60 is designed for solo work, it would be even better.

The Yamaha 66B is the best I have found so far. The B on a Yamaha tuba mouthpiece designates that it is shallow. I noticed a huge improvement in sound, control, and intonation as soon as I took it out of the box.

I ordered mine through Giardinelli and their web site is http://www.giardinelli.com/ This is a special order, so you'll have to call it in instead of order it online, but they'll still only charge you the regular price of $38. That's a whole lot cheaper than most F tuba mouthpieces, and they're good quality too.

Daryl Fletcher

Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 14:18:06 -0700
From: Grant Green <gdgreen@contrabass.com>
To: contrabass-list@contrabass.com
Subject: Table of Home Pages?


Just a thought: I'm considering setting up a table somewhere on the contrabass site (possibly on the "list" page) for everyone's URLs. Is anyone interested in posting their URL? Anyone not want their URL posted?


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