Vol. 1, No. 81

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|CONTRABASS-L                                       |
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3 February 1997

From: jhh@honshu.micro.lucent.com (Joseph H Havens +81 3 54211687)
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 97 08:46:11 JST
Subject: Kotato & Fukushima

Sorry for the delay in getting this note out. I had hoped to find some time to write last Saturday, but such was not the case.

I did stop by to see Mr. Fukushima and Mr. Kotato Saturday. They were very gracious to have me and my 3 kids in their small workshop. And it definitely was a workshop as opposed to a store. They have a small two story shop, each floor being about 20x30 feet. Not fancy at all - pretty typical for Japanese shops. I visited on Saturday around 9:30 am, the two of them and about 3 other fellows were working away.

The entrance reminded me of the back door to a garage, and the first floor was rather dark, smelled like oil, and held their stock of brass tubing and the larger metal working machines. The fellow working there looked about as confused as me but said we could go on upstairs. On the second floor we put on some slippers and walked into the main shop area. Kinda reminded me of Santa's workshop. No flutes on display, but lots of pieces laying around.

Mr. Kotato greeted us and showed me and my kids everything from a soprano flute down to the double contrabass. Unfortunately, he didn't assemble the double-contrabass because he said it has too many pieces. He did assemble the contrabass for us. He put it together and adjusted the height for himself - which was also just right for my 11 y/o daughter who's about 5' tall. To me, the contrabass seems to respond a lot like the bass flute. I have a strong suspicion that if you can play the bass flute well, you won't have any trouble with the contrabass. Looks like he does indeed charge by the foot though, since he said the list price for the contrabass was around 1,700,000 yen - a bit over $14,170 at Saturday's exchange rate - but hey, it's getting cheaper every day, by Thursday, the price was down to $13,930. Still, considering the amount of work they put into it, and the number of guys working there, I don't think their price is unreasonable. They don't appear to be getting rich - no Mercedes - not even a parking space.

Personally, I had a bit of trouble playing either the bass or contrabass. But it's clearly no fault of the instrument. Mr. Kotato is an excellent player and gave us a nice little demo on both the bass and contrabass. The contrabass is surprisingly responsive, although the keys are noticeably heavier. He had been experimenting with a solenoid controlled octave key at the top of the flute, but he said it didn't work out very well.

As far as music goes, he had a small personal selection at the shop. The most prominent is the CD published by the Tokyo Sound City Club that Grant has mentioned before that has a picture of a contrabass on the jacket. There is a second CD by the same organization, but I didn't get a chance to hear it, "The Nutcracker Flute Ensemble, Musica Gelato." He had two others, one by a Japanese musician Masami Nakagawa, entitled "Crosswind" and another by Robert Dick with bass flute, "Worlds of IF," published in '95 by C&P Leo Records. So far, I haven't been able to find any of these (except the first TSCC one) but I'll keep looking.

Other than that, while I was there, he played an unpublished DAT recording of a concert he did with an ensemble in December. He said he doesn't do concerts very often - maybe once every other year or so. But, it was very good, similar to the TSCC CD which I have.


-joe havens
email: joe.havens@bell-labs.com

Author: Paul Cohen <PaulC135@aol.com>
Date: 1/29/97 9:02 AM
Subject: ophicleide

Hi Grant. Sorry its been so long since I've been in contact. I do mean to send you my contrabass excerpt. This week I hope! (What's your mailing address again?) I have decided to sell my 1840s ophicleide. Can you help with suggestions as to where to post the instrument?

Bye for now.
Paul Cohen

Paul did indeed send the contrasax tape. Time permitting, I'll post parts of it on the web site (with Paul's express permission). Here's what he had to say:

"At long last I've had a chance to send some contrabass material. The first piece on the tape is the recording of Cowell's "Hymn and Fuguing Tune #18" that is on my CD "Vintage Saxophones Revisited" that is due out next month. Please use this in any way you would like on your contra pages, just make sure to creit me and the CD!
For fun I also included a performance of "Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep" on bass saxophone, and a march or two done as an encore with the saxophone section. The saxes are from sopranino to contrabass! (most are my instruments) Use these as you like as well.
I'm writing some articles on the contrabass saxophone in upcoming issues of the Saxophone Journal, and the contrabass is having another outing in Lincoln Center this March, as we are playing the Hymn and Fugue for a Cowell concert."

I've posted the Cowell as three files: a short excerpt (12 seconds, 253 K of 16-bit mono, compressed WAV), and two files which are excerpts. Excerpt A (28.4 seconds, 611K) has the beginning of the piece, and is chorale-like. Excerpt B (21 seconds, 451K) has the beginning of the first quick section. I've recently discovered a Netscape plugin (CineWeb, http://www.digigami.com/cineweb/ ) that allows one to stream standard WAV files. What you do is download the free plugin, and install it in Netscape Navigator (there may be one for MS Explorer: don't remember off hand). Then, when you click on a WAV file link, CineWeb shows you a "control page", that lets you start playing the WAV file before it has finished downloading (you do have to wait for some portion of the file to download, but nowhere near all of it).

"Streaming audio" is a sound file that plays while it is still downloading, like RealAudio. The advantages of CineWeb are that (a) it doesn't take any special server software (RealAudio requires a special audio server), and (b) I don't have to buy any expensive software to encode the WAV files.

The WAV files will be worked into the contrabass sax page ... eventually. Soon as I can, anyway. In the meantime, you can download them directly using your web browser. The short excerpt is http://www.contrabass.com/cowell_x.wav , and the longer files are cowell_a.wav and cowell_b.wav .


[the above slightly revised at PC's request. GDG]

Author: Andrea Bruederlin <tetra@mv.igs.net>
Date: 1/29/97 8:58 AM
Subject: Sarrusophones

Hi Grant,

I just came across your contrabass mailing list, and I'm wondering whether your are still looking for Sarrusophones.

We have a huge collection of musical instruments, mainly romantique guitars (from 1770 up), mandolins, boxwood flutes, clarinets, few oboes, bassoons, contrabass a ange, flageolets, piccolos, saxophones, sarrusophones, ophicleides, misc. brass- and woodwind instruments, some zithers, hurdygurdys and other unusual instruments. Also quite a few modern ones.

We are slowly selling these instruments because we like to travel, and also think they should be played or at least exhibited somewhere instead of hidden away in boxes in a storageplace (that's where the have been for the last years since we moved from Europe to America).

Let me know what your interested in and I'll send your more details.

I have a selection of instruments on my webpage, maybe not exactly what you're looking for, just to give you an idea.




Author: Grant Green <gdgreen@contrabass.com> at SMTP
Date: 1/29/97 9:02 AM
Subject: Re: Sarrusophones

At 01:14 AM 1/29/97 -0500, you wrote:

>Hi Grant,
>I just came across your contrabass mailing list, and I'm wondering
>whether your are still looking for Sarrusophones.

Now that you mention it ... ;-)

I am still looking for contrabass sarrusophones in either C or Bb (I have an Eb contra and a Bb bass already). Actually, I'd be interested in any of the smaller sizes as well (bari, tenor, alto, soprano, in about that order), although my primary interest is in the bass/contrabass range. I'm also interested in rothophones, heckelphones, and bass/contrabass winds of any sort. I'm still toying with the idea of an ophecleide, although my first impression is that it would take more time than I have to actually learn how to play the beast.

So, let me know what you have along those lines. If not right for me, I'm sure a few of my subscribers will be interested.



Author: "Jeffrey S. Sharp" <kyrie@telepath.com>
Date: 1/29/97 8:57 AM
Subject: Re: Contrabass-L No. 80


Just updating the List on one of its member's activities.

This last weekend, I performed in the Oklahoma Music Educator Association (OMEA)'s All-State Band. The band was composed of some 120 of Oklahoma's most talented high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors (I am a senior). I made the band on both alto and contralto clarinets, and I chose to play the contra (of course). The All-OMEA festival took place in Tulsa on the 23rd, 24th, and 25th of January. Under the direction of one Dr. Corporon of North Texas University, we performed a wide variety of pieces:

All in all, it was a fun weekend and a great experience. I had borrowed a paperclip Bb contrabasss clarinet to use, but I was unable to adjust to it in time and used my contralto instead. I'm working on it, though, and things are coming along nicely.

Jeffrey S. Sharp |
(a.k.a. Kyrie Eleison) |
kyrie@telepath.com |

"Those who choose not to decide--they, too, have made a choice."

Author: Steven & Jessica <lederman@inforamp.net>
Date: 2/2/97 9:37 AM
Subject: six brown brothers

Hi, Grant!

I put a link to you on one of my websites! check them out! You can mention them on the Digest list if you want; someone might get a chuckle out of them!




Steven, you are a nut ;-)

Seriously, though, interesting pages, and thanks for the link!


Author: tjohnson@akcache.com (Johnson; Tim)
Date: 2/1/97 10:03 AM
Subject: Newsletter

Hello Grant:

Any progress on further automating your newsletter? As I think that I have mentioned previously, I do internet programming. I could set you up with an interactive type of "bulletin board" it could have various levels of security, and go a long way towards eliminating "spam".

In the near future, we will be able to offer real - time chat facility. However, I have the resources for an interactive web page that could come close to providing real-time interaction. I have some simple examples at


I have been doing some exchanging of tapes with Francis Firth - for the newsletter, here is an excerpt of a message to Francis.

about 12 or 15 years ago, I saw a brochure from a woodwind manufacturer (I don't remember who) that advertised a contra-bassethorn. The picture of it showed something like a stretched-out bass clarinet.

I made the assumption that it would have the same size mouthpiece, bore,and reed as a Bass clarinet, but be pitched in "F" with fingering down to transposing C, concert low F. I'd love to hear one, I bet it would have a sound closer to that of a bassoon, with less of the big-wave resonance of the contralto and contrabass clarinets. Does anyone know anything about this instrument?

Tim Johnson

Author: Grant Green <gdgreen@contrabass.com> at SMTP
Date: 2/1/97 10:07 AM
Subject: Re: Newsletter

Hey Tim,

We (the subscribers) have discussed moving the digest to a web-based format, but I think very few were interested in that. Some of the subscribers apparently surf very rarely (if ever), and would be shut out if we went that way. Personally, I'm much more partial to the email route: I like how it just "arrives", without having to go out and look for it, and how even if you miss a few days it is still there to be read.

Chat may be interesting, but I have to confess I've never tried it.

Contrabassett? Any more info?


Author: tjohnson@akcache.com (Johnson; Tim)
Date: 2/2/97 9:36 AM
Subject: Re: Newsletter

Hello Grant

>Chat may be interesting, but I have to confess I've never tried it.

I'll keep you posted, I haven't either, besides my programming work, I use the net for things I can't otherwise do. I don't use it as a substitute for human contact, rather as a way to add to it.

>Contrabassett? Any more info?

Appearance in the brochure, ( to the best of my memory) was sort of a long bass clarinet - which makes sense - possibly a buffet or selmer??

Re your index:
Searching archives could be an asset.


Yes, searchable archives would be great!

CD Review:

Well, maybe "CD Notice" would be more accurate: time constraints will make this a rather quick edition.

BTW, Jack, thanks for the fax of you playing the contrabass sax. Care to tell us what it was like?


End Contrabass-L No. 81

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