Vol. 2, No. 56

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8 August 1997

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, the digests are not as frequent as in (some) times past. I've been really busy at work, and since we're still in manual mode, it makes a definite impact. Scott and I are still exploring possibilities.

DON'T MISS the sarrusophone for sale notice below!

From: Al Norman <Al.Norman@ReadRite.com>
Subject: RE: RE:picture book
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 18:05:00 -0700


These monster instruments are difficult at best to transport, a meeting of the instruments would be tough. your plane problems were just like mine. borrowing sizzers and tape and cardboard in an airport, not a job i would do again. the luggage inspectors wanted to know if they were saxophones,

the Eb Conn contra s-phone i got was painted black so it could be used in an orchestra in NY as the story was told by Nina Marcus, apparently Mr. Marcus was a professional reed musician whose hobbie was collecting instruments, he at one time had over 400 instruments, most all of them sold by now, she said that the conn contra was purchased at a second hand store for $80 back in the 50's, he borrowed money from his motherin law to buy the ___ thing, Grant this guy has you beat when it comes time to be an instrument nut,

al norman

From: gdgreen@contrabass.com
To: Al Norman
Subject: RE: RE:picture book
Date: Thursday, July 31, 1997 2:27PM

At 12:05 PM 7/31/97 -0700, you wrote:

>sorry I am send you this so many times, but some addresses dont do
>they are all the same ,,,al norman
Hi Al,

I've had a little trouble with my mail over the last few weeks. The "grant_green@cc.chiron.com" address is extinct (my old employer). I can receive mail at any of the following (in order of preference):

  1. gdgreen@contrabass.com
  2. gdgreen@crl.com
  3. green@fr.com (my office)
  4. 70451.1616@compuserve.com (my wife's)

>Regarding the picture book, I was hoping to be a contributor,
>mostly i am interested in detailed descriptions and fine neuances of the
>ie pitch (440,415 A), number of keys,sounding range, serial
>#,inscriptions,maker,reed sizes, taper, differences between makers,
>dates of mfg,modifications, ect.

Contributions welcome! I know that we do have at least one published author amongst our subscribers - perhaps he'll let us know what we're getting into...
>most random selection of historic instruments usually only show one or
>two instruments of a particular family and usually of different makers.
>clearly in sarrusophones there are 4 possibly 6 makers
>Gautrot, E & S, Tribert, Conn---- Schenkelaar, Orsi
>it would be good to show whole familes of each maker.
Also Buffett, and I suspect several more Italian firms (the sarrusophone was fairly popular there as well).
>a chapter on restoration and care of vintage instruments would also be

>possibly a directory of collections of instruments. ( i have visited
>several private collections and the owners have given me permission to
>photograph their instruments.)

A possibility, although sometimes collectors are not too keen to have their collections known to the public at large (e.g., chance of theft, etc.).
>also, what is the Smithsonian, Met and Conn holding in their basements
>that never get displayed, that's a project I want,

>I never published before, and I purchased the three sphones from lyn

Hey, congratulations!
>each one has some small problem, the airline would not let me on the
>plane with the contrabass, I spent over 2 hours packaging it so it could
>go with the luggage,
Imagine me trying to board with two contras and a bass :-) My Gautrot contra didn't even have a case, so Lyn and I wrapped it in an entire roll of bubble wrap for protection. I was prepared to check the two horns that had cases, but when they wouldn't let me carry on the caseless contra, the gate agent cut down a large box and we wrapped it in a layer of cardboard as well. Turned out to be better protection than the instrument cases, where there was enough play for the horns to rattle around a bit. (I now have an Altieri gig bag for the Gautrot contra.)
>I noticed that several tone holes on the Conn and the Gatrout were
>modified with paper and resin to lower the pitch of that note, were
>your's modified too ? On my way to LA I met a man(engineer) who
>actually knew what a sarrusophone was.
My horns do not appear to have been modified at all.
>al norman
How is the contra? That's the one horn I didn't look at. Given the description, I thought that the other Eb contra would be plenty, and wanted the one that was in best repair. Did it turn out to be a Conn painted black?


From: ddorff@presser.com (Daniel Dorff)
To: contrabass-list@contrabass.com
Subject: buying bass clar with low C
Date: Fri, 01 Aug 1997 02:46:06 GMT
Reply-To: ddorff@presser.com

Stephen Rea <srea@uaex.edu> wrote

>Frederic Weiner in NY also seems to specialize in clarinets. There's
>also a clarinet dealer somewhere in the South who's name escapes me at
>the moment...

>I'll post your question to the list, in hopes someone closer to your
>locale has any ideas. There's also a clarinet list (klarinet) that is
>often helpful.

If you go to NYC, try Ponte's. When I got mine, they had 8 Selmer low C bass clar's there, plus their own store brand. It's also right near Manny's, Sam Ash, etc., so it might be worth a special trip.

PS - I just discovered this list. Aside from being a bass clarinetist, I've also composed several pieces for contrabassoon.


Daniel Dorff
Composer-in-residence, Haddonfield Symphony

From: "Daryl Fletcher" <daryl@www.walker.public.lib.ga.us>
Organization: Cherokee Regional Library
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 10:29:55 EST
Subject: low pitched trumpets and other stuff

I found this the other day. There are pictures and descriptions of Bach Stradivarius alto and bass trumpets at http://www.selmer.com/htdox/trpt13.htm

Also, there's a listing of some of the orchestral pieces that include bass trumpets at http://otto.cmr.fsu.edu/~pilato_n/euph.html

And, check out out the L.A. Sax web site at http://www.lasax.com Lots of unusual and colorful horns there, including slide trumpets and straight alto and tenor saxes.


Daryl Fletcher

From: Opusnandy@aol.com
Date: Sat, 2 Aug 1997 02:00:22 -0400 (EDT)
To: contrabass-list@contrabass.com
Subject: Heckelphone and Sarrusaphone samples

This is for any Contra-List readers who also own an Akai sampler of some sort. I have sampled my newest aquisitions in my instrument collection and they have turned out very well. If any akai sampler owners out there are wanting to purchase heckelphone or Eb contrabass sarrusaphone samples for their sampling work (at a minimal price, much less than the approx. $30,000 heckel charges for a new heckelphone), please e-mail me at Opusnandy@aol.com . The instruments are sampled every minor third, so that the pitch is never transposed more than a half-step, and covers the full range of the instruments, including altissimo register. I have used the heckelphone sample in a sequence of Mars from The Planets and it sounds great! I do not have the highest-tech microphones and recording enviornments, but the samples work very well in what I've put them to use.

By the way, the Sarrusaphone (the real one, not the sampled one) made its public performance debut last week at a Palatine (IL) community band concert playing the contrabassoon part on Malcolm Arnold's "Prelude, Siciliano, and Rondo". It definitely raised a few eyebrows!

Date: Sat, 02 Aug 1997 20:31:07 -0500
From: Bob Bailey <bbailey@nwol.net>
Organization: Trans Global Productions, Inc.
To: Low people <contrabass-list@contrabass.com>
Subject: Frustration!

Last year at Nimitz JH I had Mr. Ragsdale as assistant band director, and he arranged all of our marching music. He always had good parts for us bass clarinettist, and I really enjoyed the marching season. Now I'm at Permian HS. We've started summer band, and our parts have been arranged by Mr. Carroll, but the bass clarinets have been forgotten about. We're also playing alot of traditional music which has no bass clarinet parts. I'm having to play clarinet, clarinet II, and baritone T.C. parts, which I feel is a total waste of my time. I played the cello at one time, and I enjoyed it. My mom said she wouldn't have any objection to me switching back to orchestra, but I really don't want to give up the bass and contrabass clarinets. I want to know what you all suggest for me to do. Baritones only play to our lowest concert E, but our parts can go down to concert Db, and besides, those parts were intended for BARITONES!!. At least I'm not having to read Tenor Sax parts-- that'd be REAL inefficient for the bass clarinet. The clarinet parts don't work because they're not written as bass. I'm REALLY not having much fun right now.

Gregg Bailey mailto:bbailey@nwol.net

My solution was to play bari sax. Our HS marching band had four sousaphones and two bari saxes, and despite the fact that our parts were usually the same (OK, the bari doubled the sousas at the octave), you could always hear the baris. Aside from the weight, bari is actually an OK instrument to play in marching band.

If you're set on staying with BCl, you could try transposing the bari sax parts. They'll at least be in the right register, and in the right idiom for a low woodwind.


From: "Sydney R. Polk" <jazzman@rahul.net>
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 1997 11:31:36 -0700
Subject: CHOPS plays San Jose Jazz Festival 8/9/97

Hello! On Saturday, August 9, 1997, the CHOPS Big Band will appear at the San Jose Jazz Festival with special guest artist Greg Abate. This a free shindig, so come on down!

We are actually playing twice. The first time is at 3:30 is some yet-as-undetermined place on the San Jose State campus. This is an open rehearsal/clinic, and is a good thing to bring kids to if they are interested in music.

The main performance is at 7:00 on the Paseo Stage. This is located in a vacant lot just north of the Fairmont Hotel on Market accross the street from the park.

Both of these events are FREE.

Also, CHOPS has released its second CD and they are available for $10. Contact me for more info.

Will know more about location of clinic later, and this info will be put onto my web page ( http://www.rahul.net/jazzman/public_html/music.html ) tonight or tomorrow.

Syd Polk

PS If you do not wish to receive mailings about my performances, please let me know.



Ophicleide! I've been corresponding with Tony Bingham (Old Musical Instruments & Works of Art) who is a fairly well-known dealer in antique and collectable instruments (I'm looking for an ophicleide). In the course of our correspondence, I've learned that he has a Conn Eb contrabass sarrusophone (with its original case) for sale, for £5500 (that's in English pounds). That is not inexpensive, but then, I don't think any of us are going to top Opusnandy's bargain.

He also has a c.1900 Spanish contrabass guitar (£2500), a c.1930 Stahl Milwaukee bass guitar (£2500), and a c.1930 Rancilio, Milan contrabasse a anche (£4500).

If you need his fax number, I'll be happy to provide it - as long as nobody buys my ophicleide! (The image at right is an ophicleide, NOT a sarrusophone)


Saxophone J:

Contrary to Usenet rumors, Saxophone J still appears to be publishing. The latest issue (July/August 97) arrived a few days ago, and contains part II of Paul Cohen's look at the Contrabass sax. Along with three more contra-photos (a picture of one with the Charles Houston big band, Florian Schneider with his new Orsi contra, and Scott Robinson comparing his W. Stowasser's Sohne contra to PC's Evette-Schaeffer), Paul has cataloged probably every work ever written for contrabass sax, including the recently released CDs by Thomas Meyer, Scott Robinson and Daniel Kientzy.


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