Vol. 1, No. 6

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| Contrabass-L: a list for discussion of contrabass *anything*|
|To subscribe, email gdgreen@crl.com with "subscribe contrabass"|
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Vol. 1, No. 6 21 June 1996

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm still having some trouble getting these sent out reliably. Please let me know if you miss an issue, or if you get duplicate copies of anything. You can always check to see if you're missing an issue by checking http://www.crl.com/~gdgreen/c-arch1.html .

From: groover@netcom.com (Robert Groover)

Subject: Re: Anyone up for a list?

To: gdgreen@crl.com (Grant Green)

Date: Fri, 21 Jun 1996 01:45:35 -0700 (PDT)

Sounds like a wonderful idea - please do it!

Here's a post:

Re: Artificial Air Assistance:

I've been working on a design for a contrabass sax with radically different construction - I've been trying to re-engineer some of the mechanics. Following is one of the more radical ideas - I'm not at all sure about the practicality of this one, but perhaps the group will have some useful positive or negative comments.

One problem in scaling is airflow:

if you scale wide-bore instruments (e.g. sax and tuba) directly to low pitches, you wind up with fairly Herculean air requirements. (This is not such a problem with narrow-bore instruments, which is why we have contrabassoons and contrabass clarinets.)

One approach to that problem (of several) is to use an air supply: e.g. for a contrabass or subcontrabass sax you could route two small air supply lines along the sides of the mouthpiece. The airflow would not have to be nearly equal to the peak flow for a loud note: the purpose is merely to permit longer phrases (and possibly reduce hyperventilation).

The sound of the instrument will still be modulated by what the player does with mouth and tongue, so this should not affect the sound much. (Thinking about the human role in playing large instruments: I want to acoustically modulate the sound, but I don't necessarily have to provide all the horsepower for the air supply!)

Practical details: Obviously the humidity in the air supply will have to be controlled carefully! Also, we may want to provide a foot control for the flow rate.

I find it hard to imagine what this would be like to play - but it does address one of the problems. Comments?

Robert Groover groover@netcom.com (PGP key on request)

Member ECS, AVS, ACM, OSA, Sen.Mem.IEEE, Reg'd Patent Atty

"All men by nature desire knowledge."

Welcome aboard, Robert!

The invention sounds like a great idea, but I think it's already been done! I remember reading that someone invented such a device for R. Strauss (or was it Wagner?), with a foot operated bellows and a tube to the mouth, for those unending, pauseless passages.

Anyone else remember this, or do I have to go look it up?



The Nuclear Whales are playing a concert with the San Jose Wind Symphony on 28 September 1996, at 7:30 PM, in the Mountain View (CA) Performing Arts Center. For anyone not familiar with NW, they are a saxophone sextet that employs all sizes of saxophone, from Eb sopranino down to the EEb contrabass. They play a wide range of music, from arrangements of Duke Ellington to strictly classical works.

I just got tickets, and it sounds like they're already filling up (it isn't a very large venue). For anyone interested in travelling, Mountain View is in the heart of Silicon Valley, between San Jose and San Francisco. If you're flying in (Mark, this means you!), you'll find that the San Jose airport is much more convenient than SFO. I unfortunately do not have the telephone number for ticket orders at hand, but will look it up for anyone who doesn't want to dial information.


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