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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000210.txt from 1993/12

From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: Becky Weissman and her bass clarinet
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1993 15:30:43 -0500

Indeed, you must have read the article on the bass in A if you
remember the comment about playing the On The Trail solo in written
C major on the A bass instead of written B major on the B-flat bass.
You may also remember saying that I feel very guilty when I do that
but I feel guilty about everything. My mother once accused me of
causing the dinosaurs to die. That was all my fault, and if I had
been a better child, they might still be alive.

I also use the bass in A for the final solo in Mahler 4. It is
a very strange situation. Up to that moment, Mahler has used both
A and B-flat clarinets many times. Then, there is this long wait
during which one could make ready either of the two instruments. When
the solo finally comes in to mimic the singer one last time, Mahler
requests the b.c. in B-flat to play the solo in written E major. It
is not hard, but there is a slide in the right pinky that I preferred
to avoid, so I did it on A bass in written F major and felt guilty.

I think you are very wise to get your B-flat b.c. with the extension
to low C. One simply cannot hold a chair in an major orchestra without
the ability to make the descent in some of the contemporary literature.
Just be aware that it is very difficult to get any technique in the
right thumb. The fact that it alone is responsble for low D, D-flat,
and C was a design flaw. One cannot trill or tremulo with a single
finger slding on two keys so certain effects cannot be accomplished.

The Yamaha low-C b.c. has rollers on the thumb keys and that helps
a little. Does yournew Selmer have them?

I do not believe that you will be able to get a low C on a b.c. in A.
I asked and was turned down. It is not meanness on their part, only
that no design for such an instrument exists, and it is not worthwhile
for them to design such an instrument considering how few they sell.

One final point: a footnote speaks to the fact that my instrument
arrived in terrible condition (bent rods and keys, missing pads, etc.)
and I had to pay a fortune to put the instrument in shape. In the footnote
I mention that when I complained to them about an expensive instrument
arriving in such a disreputable condition, they sent me a T-shirt. No
kidding!! Can you image? They felt that I would be satisfied with a
lousy T-shirt.

Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California

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