Vol. 1, No. 72


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|CONTRABASS-L                                       |

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8 January 1997

Date: 7 Jan 1997 16:57:09 -0000
From: "Mats 0ljare" <oljare@www.hotmail.com>
Subject: re.contrabass-l no.7O

Does anyone know more about the old octavin??It appears in every music dictoniary there is,but noone has ever seen one.

Mats 0ljare

Get Your *Web-Based* Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

Author: A Myers <am@tattoo.ed.ac.uk>
Date: 1/8/97 8:31 AM
Subject: Re: Contrabass-L, No. 71

Grant Green wrote in Contrabass-L, No. 71 (7.1.97) on alphorns:

> They're played with a brass-type embochure, using the natural overtone
> series. Sort of a straight bass bugle, or an unwound French horn.

It's really in a class of its own. Just how far the alphorn differs from an unwound french horn is graphically shown in a picture in "The Musician's Guide to Acoustics" (Campbell, D.M., and Greated, C., 1987) which shows an Aflat alphorn being played side-by-side with a french horn that the maker never coiled up.

And just a little quibble - the term "overtone" is more properly reserved for the higher spectral components of a single sound. In wind instruments and bowed strings the overtones of sustained notes form a harmonic series, but this is not the case for the overtones of drums, pianos, guitars, xylophones etc.

Arnold Myers

Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments,
Reid Concert Hall, Bristo Square, EDINBURGH EH8 9AG, Scotland
E-mail: A.Myers@ed.ac.uk
Web URL: http://www.music.ed.ac.uk/euchmi/

I stand corrected.

My references are all still in boxes, stacked in my garage, so I'm reduced to relying on my memory :-(

I did avoid saying "harmonics", as I know most acoustic instruments have some degree of inharmonicity in their upper components. However, don't the partials correspond to the frequencies of the overtones in the case of valveless brass instruments?


Author: Philip Neuman <neuman@uofport.edu>
Date: 1/8/97 8:27 AM
Subject: Re: Contrabass-L, No. 71


In Pioneer Brass we all play alphorns - we have six: an 8' wound alphorn (or buechel), a 9' Bb, a 12' F, a 16' C, a 18' BBb, and "big Al" a 24' FF alphorn. 4 of them were made for us by Peter Wutherich in Boise, Idaho. We recorded two alphorn ensemble pieces on our PB Xmas CD. Several years ago we had Peter bring his giant alphorn for one of our concerts. It is officially the world's largest alphorn at 154' in length. We could only fit 80' of it in the church, but he has parts for it to make it playable at a variety of lengths. I could play the 16th down to the 8th or 9th partial. It apparently, at that length, is pitched in Ab, the fundamental theoretically being AAAAAAAb.

All of our long alphorns are made to come apart in 3 or 4 sections, fortunately, so travelling with them is possible; we even made a hard case for the 12' alphorn and took it with us to Japan some years ago. Each of us use different size mouthpieces for our various sizes of alphorn; I use a tuba mouthpiece on "big Al".

Phil Neuman

Wow! That would put the fundamental somewhere around 3.4 Hz, bridging the gap between brass and percussion/rhythm instruments ;-) Is the 8th partial near the piano's lowest A (or am I off by an octave or so)?

Am I correct in assuming that Mr. Wutherich does not drive a Mazda Miata to gigs? And must he play facing North/South to remain within Idaho's boundaries?


Author: KUUP84A@prodigy.com (MR MARK A TRINKO)
Date: 1/7/97 8:05 PM
Subject: Contra-bassoonist doctor

Sorry I can't answer what the specific ailment was, there was so much going on when Dr. Dawson gave his lecture, I missed it. You could communicate directly with him at w-dawson@nwu.edu

I know that he specializes in things between elbow and fingertip. All the contra players said his presence was a must for any fest such as this. He had some great handouts on his table that he would probably mail you too.

Author: Mans Engman <c92manen@und.ida.liu.se>
Date: 1/7/97 8:04 PM
Subject: <no subject>


Before Christmas I promised to introduce myself, and now it's about time!

I'm a student of computer science in Sweden, and a hobbyist pseudomusician. When I was young(er), I played quite a lot of recorder - ranging from sopranino to bass. Even though my fingers were a bit too small and the instrument almost as big as myself, there was always something special about the bass. Anyhow, young and restless, I leaved the recorder and have played drums (and a little percussion) since then. Recently I got back to the wonderful world of woodwind and now play clarinet.

Right now I only have a vanilla Bb soprano clarinet but have of course gradually developed an octocontrabassclarinetfetish. Okay, let's face reality, I live on student loan, so I'm primarily looking out for a cheap bass or contrabass clarinet to begin with, so if you happen to have a spare one why not send it to me. :)

Now a CD tip which might interest you:

"Music by Frank Zappa", performed by Omnibus Wind Ensemble. (Opus 3 records, CD 19403)

This disc features playing of a variety of woodwinds, including bass/contrabass clarinet, bassoon, and contrabassoon. Plus a fair amount of percussion, a little double bass, flute, and french horn. On some pieces, the low playing really stands out, like "Alien Orifice" (which is very much based on low clarinets and bassoons) while others are of the slightly hysterical Zappaish type. Overall, I like this album even though there's a little too much of those tiny little oboes and clarinets. :)

Complete track list:

Well, that's all for now, I'm looking forward to more intricate discussions. How low can we go?

/Måns Engman

One more CD: Hamiet Bluiett fans may be interested in "Bluiett's Barbeque Band" (1996 Mapleshade, 04032). This CD is much more R&B/gospel than most of HB's recorded work, and uses more electric bass & keyboards than any I recall. The most interesting feature, however, is that HB actually plays a track on bass sax. It isn't credited on the CD case, but is mentioned in the liner notes:

"Body and Soul: "This happened because Pierre had been bugging me about the bass sax and even brought one around to the studio. So I practiced a couple of hour. I actually had a good time on that great big horn. Since the tune's been played a zillion times, the bass sax made it different right away. And the electric piano brought out new sonorities."

"Body and Soul" has bass sax with only electric piano. Timbre is fairly similar to his regular bari sound. The piece is played as a slow ballad, pretty straight. It speeds up only for the final cadenza, which also includes a few multiphonics.

End Contrabass-L No. 72

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