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| Contrabass-L: a list for discussion of contrabass *anything*|
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Date: Tue, 20 Aug 1996 14:00:55 -0700
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kenneth R Pergrem)
Subject: Community bands in the Bay Area
In Contrabass-L No. 33, you write:
> There are a number of community bands and orchestras in the area that
> could undoubtedly use a bass clarinet (even a beginner). San Ramon is
> a bit of a drive from Berkeley, but has a good community band that meets
> Tuesday evenings. I've played and subbed there from time to time.
Do you have any more details on community bands in the area? Are there any in the East or South Bay? Do you know if they require auditions or money or anything like that in order to play? Thanks for any info.
I grew up in Modesto, over in the central valley, and they have had a community band since 1919. The only requirement is that you had to be out of 8th grade. I played 1st & 3rd soprano clarinet & Bass Clarinet for 10 years and had a great time, and I sort of miss it.
I don't know of any bands specifically in the East Bay or South Bay, although Fremont isn't all that far from San Ramon (straight up 680). I think there's a community band in the Orinda/Moraga/Lafayette region ("Lamorinda"), but don't have any details. Alameda has a jazz band. I think that most community colleges have bands of some sort: I've played at a number over the years.
The community college band is typically listed as a course. I've usually paid something like $20-30 to register just for band in such situations. The ones I've played in haven't required auditions - they were usually just overjoyed to finally have a bassoon!
Maybe I should look one up, and show up with a sarrusophone....
Author: email@example.com (Jeff Sharp) at
Date: 8/20/96 3:27 PM
Subject: Re: Re: Low clarinet questions
> Actually, what I meant is that you can find:
> wide bore BBb contras,
> narrow bore BBb contras,
> wide bore EEb contras, and
> narrow bore EEb contras.
That would explain why most every EEb reed I have bought in my Search For The Perfect Reed was misshapen in relation to my mouthpiece.
> Haven't had a chance to check on the reeds yet: hopefully sometime
> this week...
Thanks for checking for me. I've been looking for a long time, but almost no one has contra reeds in Oklahoma. Once I get the brand ID'd for my old reed, then I can just order a bunch at once and be stocked up (and get something a little more stout than a 2 :) ).
One lead you might want to follow: The reed in question may be a Marca. A fellow contra player at an honor band played with one of these, but I don't know how well it was working for him. I never had the chance to compare my reed to his.
Please excuse me for keeping on asking questions (I must be beginning to annoy you) but I have one more thing to clear up: Basset horns/clarinets. I know that a basset horn is a tad smaller than an alto clarinet and is pitched in F. In a catalog, I see a basset clarinet advertised (bore 14.60mm, key of A). What exactly is this?
> And, consider yourself subscribed. The next digest will probably come
> out today or tomorrow (depending on work...)
I can't wait to receive it!:)
Author: Grant Green at CHIRON-EME04
Date: 8/20/96 4:16 PM
TO: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeff Sharp) at SMTP
Subject: Re: Low clarinet questions
>> Haven't had a chance to check on the reeds yet: hopefully sometime
>> this week...
>Thanks for checking for me. I've been looking for a long time, but almost
>no one has contra reeds in Oklahoma. Once I get the brand ID'd for my old
>reed, then I can just order a bunch at once and be stocked up (and get
>something a little more stout than a 2 :) ).
Not even in Enid, OK (home of the TriState Band Festival)? Sorry, played there when I was in high school. Even around here (near San Francisco) I have trouble finding contra reeds. I've had reasonable luck ordering mine from the Woodwind&Brasswind (1-800-348-5003), although of course you have to order a box at a time. I tried the Marca reeds: didn't fit my mpc. WW&BW carries the Marca, Rico ("contralto, contrabass, bass sax, one size fits all"), and Vandoren reeds for contras.
>One lead you might want to follow: The reed in question may be a Marca. A
>fellow contra player at an honor band played with one of these, but I don't
>know how well it was working for him. I never had the chance to compare my
>reed to his.
>Please excuse me for keeping on asking questions (I must be beginning to
>annoy you) but I have *one more thing* to clear up: Basset horns/clarinets.
>I know that a basset horn is a tad smaller than an alto clarinet and is
>pitched in F. In a catalog, I see a basset *clarinet* advertised (bore
>14.60mm, key of A). What exactly is this?
The other characteristic of the basset horn is that it has an extended range (down to low C written). Thus, the basset horn goes down to low F (below the bass clef), a half step lower than the alto clarinet (which hits Gb). Many clarinet players drool over basset horns, and feel that the timbre is the ultimate clarinet tone. A basset clarinet also has a low C extension and plays in the key of A, and is alleged to also display the basset horn timbre (haven't heard one myself). In short, its a long A clarinet.
Date: Tue, 20 Aug 1996 23:45:45 -0400 (EDT)
From: drumming man <email@example.com>
Subject: Contra mouthpieces
My mouthpiece could be better for my EEb Contra Alto LeBlanc. It is a stock LeBlanc, and I'm sure it originally came with the horn. I have to cut down Contrabass reeds to fit it. Baritone reeds barely touch the rails.
Does anyone know a superb refacer for mouthpieces like this, and more importantly, does anyone have an idea where to buy alternate mouthpiece choices for a pig like this? Does anyone make mouthpieces for these horns, or is it only LeBlanc, LeBlanc and the other one.....oh yes...LeBlanc?
Everyone should go take lessons from Ben Goldberg in Oakland. He plays Bb and bass clarinet, and since I went and took a couple of lessons with him on my Contra Alto, he went out and bought himself one!! At least buy the CDs if you don't treat yourself to a thought-provoking lesson......
Well, the Woodwind & Brasswind lists EEb contralto mpcs by Bundy, Selmer (C, C*, and C**), and "Woodwind" ("fits Leblanc and Vito only"). I've been told that the Woodwind mpc is basically a Vito mpc. If you have a wide bore Leblanc, you may be stuck with Leblanc mpcs.
For refacing, I'd ask Clark Forbes. I know he makes soprano, bass and contra mpcs, so he may do refacing work as well. He subscribes on the clarinet list, and I have his address around somewhere....
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 1996 11:30:24 -0700 (PDT)
From: Philip Neuman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I think every ophicleide player I've talked to pronounces the name of the instrument differently. I've always pronounced it the way you suggested (OAF-uh-klide) but I've heard others say AWF-uh-kleed. I imagine that Germans would say OAF-ih-klide-eh and the French oaf-y-klay-eed. Perhaps the French pronunciation is the original since the inventor, Jean-Hilaire Aste (Halary) was French. The Spanish word for the inst. is "figle".
On another subject, I don't know if I mentioned that our brass band, Pioneer Brass, has a CD out called "A Pioneer Brass Christmas" on Gagliano that has solo feature pieces for two contrabass reed instruments. One is "Let it Snow" for contrebasse a anche or reed contrabass and 5 brass (which ends on the low DD) and the "Echo Carol" for slide reed subcontrabass and 5 brass. The slide reed subcontrabass is an instrument I built which is in essence a slide rackett that looks like a very narrow, short trombone. Its lowest note is EEEb (the first Eb below the piano), making use of an "underblown" range that some crumhorns and racketts have as well, depending on the reed. I have not yet read a satisfactory explanation for existence of this range which is about a 5th below the fundamental. Any ideas?
I like it! "Senor, es a figle!"
The slide reed subcontra sounds fascinating as well. I'm ordering the CD as soon as I find the Contrabass-L digest where you provided that info...
As for the suboctave, I'll open up my (well-used) copy of A. Benade's "Woodwinds and their Acoustics" this weekend... I know that bassoonists can play notes below the instruments range as multiphonics: some fingerings produce beat frequencies in the range of F-G below the horn's lowest Bb, and with practice one can minimize the (generally obnoxious) higher partials of the multiphonic (if desired ;-) ). Perhaps there's a similar explanation for cylindrical bore instruments?
End Contrafigle-L No. 34
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