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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000698.txt from 1996/01

From: "Daniel A. Paprocki" <dap@-----.US>
Subj: Re: basset clarinet
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 12:46:38 -0500

A basset clarinet is a clarinet pitched in A (like a normal A
clarinet that is used in orchestra) with an extended range to written low
C. The extra notes are laid out like that of an extended range bass
clarinet (the key position does vary between manufactures). I know that
Buffet, Yamaha, and Selmer make basset clarinets (very high $$$) and there
are some basset clarinets that are custom A clarinets with an extension.
There are a number of recording of the Mozart Concerto being played on
basset clarinet (Dave Shifrin, Charles Neidich, etc.)
A basset horn is pitched in F and looks like an alto clarinet with
an extended range to low C. I think all the main manufactures have them in
their catalogs. The only pieces that come to mind for the basset horn are
the Mendelssohn Concert Pieces for 2 basset horns (I think). I'm sure
there are others.
As you mentioned the alto clarinet is sort of the black sheep of
the clarinet family. It's pitched in Eb and goes to a written low Eb.
I've only see one used in bands and clarinet ensembles. Its' problem is
that it is never used in orchestral pieces so the serious players aren't
interested in playing it and very few band composers know what to do with
it. The only piece that comes to mind that employs the alto clarinet well
(and has a small solo!!) is the Ingolf Dahl "Sinfonetta". Grainger does
use it in "Lincolnshire Posey". It's trouble is that its' range is covered
between the normal Bb and bass clarinet so there is no unique voicing.


> Hi gang-
> As an instrumental music teacher, I find the fact that I need to ask
>question a bit embarrassing, but here goes:
> What, exactly, is the difference between a "basset horn" or "basset
>clarinet" , and an alto clarinet? For that matter, why is it that alto
>clarinet parts seem to be rather shunned in concert bands all around, even when
>there might be personnel who could cover them?
> Gregory T. Wright


Daniel A. Paprocki


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