Vol. 4, No. 83

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Contrabass-list Mon, 5 Jan 1998 Volume 1 : Number 83

In this issue:

Date: Sun, 4 Jan 1998 20:49:52 EST
From: BariSaxJzz <BariSaxJzz@aol.com>
Subject: Re: contrabass-list V1 #82

HEY!! I've sent SEVERAL E-mails to the CONTRABASS-L, and they never got on it! WHAT's GOING ON GRANT?

Date: Sun, 4 Jan 1998 20:49:21 EST
From: BariSaxJzz <BariSaxJzz@aol.com>
Subject: Paul Cohen's Vintage Saxophones Revisited

Hi Contrabass people!

Recently I bought Paul Cohen's Vintage Saxophones ReVisited, and I STRONGLY recommend it for ANYONE who likes saxophones. It has some of the RAREST saxes on earth on this CD. And, the information is great, too! It starts out introducing the saxophone to us, and then gives you a sound sample of one of the earliest saxophone recordings. Mostly, this is how is goes, but then, it changes, and starts showing us the instruments themself. Ever heard of a slide soprano saxophone? It sounds REALLY cool. But, what might be the best part of the CD is the track with the contrabass and soprano feature. It is so beautifully played, has a soft tone for the first minute, and then it speads up. This is the best feature with contrabass I have ever heard, and I have many CD's with contrabass sax on it. This is a MUST have for anyone that has ever wanted to hear a contrabass sax. You'll get your money's worth! ***** five stars and two thumbs up!

In other news, I was wondering if anyone out there wanted contrabass sax info or pictures. I have plenty of both. If you want, check out my website, The Sax site it has lots of pictures (I kinda cut down on the CB info, due to the limited webspace that the weirdos at aol gave me), but oh well. Still a cool site.



Contra Bass Sax Man

Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 11:05:38 EST
From: JolivetDVM <JolivetDVM@aol.com>
Subject: Re: contrabass-list V1 #76

Thought I would respond to the question about the quintfagott and quartfagott. The whole subject of bassoons in different pitches is very confusing in general and I don't know if there is any consensus at this time, but here is my understanding of the nomenclature: Most often quartfagott and quintfagott refer to the semi-contrabassoons pitched a 4th and a 5th lower than the regular bassoon. These sizes were easier to build than the full contrabassoon which really didn't become an effective instrument until the late 1800's. On the other hand, quartfagott and quintfagott have been used as terms to refer to bassoons pitched a 4th and a 5th higher than the bassoon as well although in that case the term "hoch" meaning high, was sometimes affixed to lessen confusion. In recent times, though, the higher pitched bassoons are usually called tenoroons or more properly, alto fagotts. The term octave bassoon or octave fagott refers to a small bassoon an octave higher than the regular bassoon. For more in-depth discussion you should read Langwill and Jansen. There could be something in back-issues of the IDRS journal as well (William Waterhouse would certainly know something about all of this!)

Michel Jolivet

P.S. I am going to send my slides of the sarrusophone restoration to a fellow contra enthusiast for scanning after I get duplicates made. I've played several band concerts lately just on sarrusophone. I play bass sax parts when available or treble clef baritone. Naturally, lots of people come up after the concerts to look at my horn!

Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 14:01:20 CST
From: "Stephen Del Rea" <srea@uaex.edu>
Subject: Re: mics & CB clar.

>I am playing my contrabass clarinet with my progressive rock chamber
>ensemble and I am in need of information about microphone placement or
>contact mic options. Any info would be helpful...

I play cello, in addition to my bass clarinet. I've seen a cello pickup mic (probably peizo-based) that is strapped onto the bridge and picks up the vibrations from the strings transmitted through the bridge. I've wondered if it, or something similar to it, could be strapped onto the neck piece of a bass clarinet (or, contra, in your case), or,on the mouthpiece, as I've seen some comments about.

(If I ever get a cello pickup, I'll have to try it out on my bass clarinet as well.)

Stephen Rea <srea@uaex.edu>
University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service

Date: Mon, 05 Jan 1998 13:38:21 -0800
From: Grant Green <gdgreen@contrabass.com>
Subject: Microphones

Chuck Biel wrote:

>I am playing my contrabass clarinet with my progressive rock chamber
>ensemble and I am in need of information about microphone placement or
>contact mic options. Any info would be helpful...

If you have two mics to use, I'd position one above the bell, and the other 1-2 feet in front of the keys midway between the hands. Mix to taste. This is how bass clarinets are mic'ed. If you can only use one mic, I'd skip the bell. Most of the sound radiates from the 2 or 3 highest open tone holes, although the bell does contribute and may alter the timbre.


Date: Mon, 05 Jan 1998 15:00:23 -0800
From: Grant Green <gdgreen@contrabass.com>
Subject: ORSI Review

I'm back!

Just thought I'd pass along my impressions of ORSI, having visited there last week.

ORSI is located in a suburb of Milan, in northern Italy. The building itself resembles a large warehouse. My wife and I visited on January 2, which is apparently a holiday time for them. There was only one craftsman there (putting keys on a series of curved sopranino saxophones (probably destined for LA Sax), in addition to Mr. Perin (the general manager), his wife, and his teen-aged daughter (who fortunately spoke some English, and served as our impromptu translator). Mr. Perin has been the general manager for the last two years, having been installed there when the company changed ownership.

The workroom is filled with benches and workstations, most of which contain instruments in various stages of manufacture. Cabinets lining the walls contain raw materials, and in some cases exemplars. The tops of the cabinets are covered with "example" instruments, ringing the large room. If you order an instrument that isn't in regular production, it appears that they simply take a model instrument down from the ceiling and measure its dimensions. They aren't necessarily playable - nobody keeps them repadded or oiled, or *polished*, but again, they're models. The range of instruments was fantastic: contrabassoons, contrabasse ad anche, sarrusophones in several sizes (that I saw), clarinets from Ab sopranino to Bb contrabass, cimbassos, tubas, horns and bugles of all sizes, flutes... In their office are display cases containing numerous clarinets, oboes, and flutes, some dating back to the 1850s. They had an interesting Bb/A clarinet, patented by the original professor Orsi (who was the principal clarinetist at La Scala at the time) which *telescoped* from Bb to A, with parallel sets of tone holes and keys. I imagine that one set of holes is closed and the other set opened by telescoping the instrument. The contrabass sax model was *not* on top of the cabinets, but on a stand on the floor. It looked like there were at least two contrabass saxes in production at the moment. They are also building bass saxophones, and were working on a new prototype. This one had an alternate key for low Bb, positioned for the left thumb much like the low A key on many baritone saxes.

Their new clarinets appear quite well made, with a separate Bb vent and repositioned octave vent, to cure the clarinet's problems with throat tones.

I also played a few of the instruments. Their oboe seemed quite nice, once I had the reed in shape. Seemed to play with good intonation (although I did not bring a tuner along). Their 4 valve cimbasso is shaped rather like a tall euphonium, but with several wraps of cylindrical tubing (and sounded nice too). They had a brand new contrabass ad anche, which they supply to Italian military bands, that played nicely. There was a beautiful tenor sarrusophone, silver plated with gold plated keys, that even my wife thought sounded wonderful. Hmmm.....

I took pictures of many instruments (to be posted shortly after I get the film developed), but didn't record anything. Didn't have a chance to play bass or contrabass sax, as only models were available, and they weren't in playable condition. Guess I'll just have to go to LA later this month for the NAMM show, where LA Sax and ORSI will be showing the contrabass sax....

All in all, it was a very nice visit. Mr. Perin and family were all quite hospitable, and seemed dedicated to improving the quality and reputation of the company. Their web site is being designed now, and is scheduled to go online sometime this quarter. Should be interesting to watch.


End of contrabass-list V1 #83

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