___________________________________________________ | | |CONTRABASS-L | | An email list for discussion of bass and | | contrabass instruments of all kinds. | | Contact email@example.com for subscription. | | See www.crl.com/~gdgreen/c-arch1.html for | | back issues. | |___________________________________________________|
Vol. 1, No. 67
17 December 1996
EDITOR'S NOTE: Let's welcome new subscriber Tim Johnson, < firstname.lastname@example.org >. Welcome aboard!
Here's a post reprinted from the Doublereed list, for anyone interested in a contrabassoon:
>Date: Thu, 12 Dec 1996 14:14:29 -0500
>Subject: Contrabassoon for sale
>I have a Mollenhauer Contrabassoon for sale. It goes down to low A and is in
>excellent condition. It comes with a stand and a hard case. Contact me at
From: KUUP84A@prodigy.com (MR MARK A
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 1996 00:28:31, -0500
Subject: Contra-everything festival
I am surprised as to the amount of interest in the 1997 Contra-everything festival. I wish I could get this much excitement about the 1996 contra-bassoon festival. Oh well, still some late comers registering even this week.
Anyway, it has been expressed by many that next year the contra-everything festival should be the week after New Year rather than the week before. Learning from that mistake this year, I want to get feedback from all of you (since you will all be attending in Las Vegas in January 1998) before I do anything. :)
Author: email@example.com (Grant Green) at
Date: 12/17/96 10:46 AM
TO: KUUP84A@prodigy.com (MR MARK A TRINKO) at SMTP
Subject: Re: Contra-everything festival
>Anyway, it has been expressed by many that next year the contra-
>everything festival should be the week after New Year rather than the
>week before. Learning from that mistake this year, I want to get
>feedback from all of you (since you will all be attending in Las Vegas
>in January 1998) before I do anything. :)
The week after would be better than the week before, but mid-Summer would still be better. My wife wouldn't mind going to LV if she could lie out in the sun by the pool. LV in winter doesn't seem to interest her at all.
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 1996 02:05:10 -0500
Subject: Contrabass-L, No. 66
Well, hello all you Bass Clef Dwellers!
It is great to find a group like this on the Net. I first discovered my bass instincts aroused by the contrabass clarinet that was played in a performance of Puccini's "Tosca" with the Melrose (MA) Symphony Orchestra (America's oldest continuous community orchestra, by the way!). The low rumble of this axe reminded me of the 64 foot pipes of the pipe organ in the hall we were playing in. We didn't use the pipe organ in the performance, but I think I remember checking to see if the keyboard console had been set up. What a great sound! As I remember, the bass trombone player had great chops, too! He was really into it! At the end of the "Te Deum" at the close of Act 2 is where we trombones got to break loose and he always let out an excited "whoo!" through his horn at the end. Took us a while to figure out what the sound was. On the subject of the pipe organ there in Memorial Hall (in Melrose, MA), my high school band did a concert there featuring pieces for concert band and pipe organ as well as solo organ pieces, particularly the Toccata from the Suite Gothique by Leon Boellman - a real "Phantom of the Opera" type piece that climaxes with all the stops out and featuring the melody on those killer 64 foot pipes. As a tuba player, I got to sit right at the foot of the pipes, upstage. Yow!! Must have been about an 8 on the Richter Scale! The organ itself, in fact, had such volume that when it was first installed, was taking out the windows in the hall, so they installed a spike under the top end of the volume pedal to prevent excessive volume. It makes quite an impression. I've always wanted to do a recording with that pipe organ on it.
If you love a great pipe organ, in Gloucester, MA there is a castle built by John Hammond from sections of castles from around Europe. It was built around the pipe organ, which was so loud it can be heard a mile out in the harbor and you have to evacuate the building. It can, of course be played much softer, either from the console or from the player unit, which is on a timer so that Mr Hammond (who did NOT play the organ!) could get out of his castle (and perhaps into a boat) and enjoy the megalomaniacal pleasure of this awesome sound. His neighbors were not as enthusiastic. Anyways, the Hammond Castle Museum is open to the public for viewing the extensive art collection, architecture and organ concerts. Many of Hammond's inventions are also on display (he was the inventor of the radio guided missile).
In the way of introduction, I play trombone (King 3B & Conn 44H) and Bb helicon (Carl Fischer, NY), cornet (Besson "Prototype", made in London in 1912) and various percussion toys. I use a DOD envelope filter on occasion with the trombone on funk gigs. I got the idea of using effects from a Wet Willie album (70's) were the bone guy was using disortion and a wah pedal. I worked at ARP Instruments & Aries Music Systems, analog synth manufacturers, where I learned how to program some really phat, nasty contrabass sounds!
Regarding the bass harmonica, I've been a fan for many years, ever since I heard Paul Simon's recording of Papa Hobo's Blues. Don't remember the album, but it's the one with a head shot of Paul in a parka on the jacket. Other recordings of the BH are the Beatles' Fool on the Hill which features an ocarina/bass harmonica duet in the middle, various incidental music on Green Acres, one of the Cosby themes from the 70's and locally, performances of the Cambridge Harmonica Orchestra, who had a couple of basses.
At Tuba Christmas in Boston this year, we had a record 125 musicians playing tuba, sousaphone, baritone, euphonium, marching baritone & mellophone, flugabone, my Bb helicon and a bass saxhorn made in 1857. If the film was properly exposed, I may have 3D pictures of the bass saxhorn, helicon and the bevy of big brass. Oh yeah, I'm a 3D photographer too.
One last item and I'll finally shutup and go practice my helicon (must be why I'm so long-winded!). The director of the Boston City Band is looking for a contrabass clarinet and any "OTH" instruments, such as saxhorns or recumbent trumpets and the like. He is a collector of old instruments and generally has a few available for sale. I will try to keep you posted of any available.
....and remember....follow your bass instincts, but stay out of treble!
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 1996 06:16:24 -0800
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Johnson, Tim)
Subject: SUBSCRIBE CONTRABASS
Hi, My name is Tim Johnson. I live in Palmer Alaska. I play Bass Clarinet. I am a computer programmer.
Author: email@example.com (Grant Green) at
Date: 12/17/96 10:56 AM
TO: firstname.lastname@example.org (Johnson; Tim) at SMTP
Subject: Re: SUBSCRIBE CONTRABASS
>Hi, My name is Tim Johnson. I live in Palmer Alaska. I play Bass
>Clarinet. I am a computer programmer.
Welcome aboard! You're now subscribed.
The next digest will probably ship today or Wednesday, depending on traffic (and my work schedule).
OK, it was today ;-)
Some time back ( contra57 ), Syd Polk mentioned:
>- I got to play a reduction of Danny Elfman's A Nightmare
>Before Christmas. The part was for bass clarinet,
>conta-alto clarinet, and contrabass clarinet. The
>soundtrack is a must for low reed afficianadoes, as
>he has parts for bass sax, both contra clarinets, and
>contrabassoon, in addition to the more mundane bari
>sax, tuba, string bass, etc.
Just found the CD, and have been blasting it out in the old minivan. Its very well done, and uses all those leviathins to good effect. If only I had a subwoofer....
End Contrabass-L No. 67
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