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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000166.txt from 1997/09

From: "Charles W. West" <>
Subj: RE: Basset Horn/Bass Clarinet history/Leeson
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 1997 22:46:46 -0400

There's also an interesting book (about 25 years old now) called "Das
Bassethorn," by Dr. Josef Samm. Good reading, and good German practice.
Chuck W

On Thu, 28 Aug 1997, Dan Leeson: wrote:

> > From: MX%"klarinet@-----.69
> > Subj: Basset Horn/Bass Clarinet history/Leeson
> > Thanks Dan and Nick for claifying the issue of basset-clarinet vs basset horn. It is
> > clearly an issue that many players and performers have not read sufficiently about. Also, Al
> > Rice has shown me photos of an extant basset clarinet to low C. This may have been part of the
> > article that Nick referred to.
> >
> > Now, Mr. Leeson, I don't believe I have ever been able to correct you on a point of
> > history, but I think one of your statements may have been incorrect. Your posting stated, (I'm
> > paraphrasing) "the basset horn was an experiment in extending the lower compass of the clarinet
> > and led to the development of the bass clarinet".
> >
> > There is an excellent article JAMIS vol. 13 (1987) by John Henry van der Meer entitled
> > "The Typology and History of the Bass Clarinet". In this excellent paper Mr. van der Meer
> > discusses an extant instrument in the Salzburger Museum Carolino Augusteum which he describes as
> > a
> > bass clarinet ca. 1700. He also cites references in Viennese court operas that call for "bass
> > chalumeaux".
> >
> > My understanding from this article is that while the development of the basset horn may
> > have contributed to the improvement of mechanism for extended compass clarinets, the bass
> > clarinet was
> > already in existence when the basset horn was in it's nascents.
> >
> >
> > Clark W Fobes
> Hey Clark!!!
> Speak German. The name "bassethorn" means "little bass horn" all of which
> tends to support the theory that the basset horn was intended as an
> instrument destined for bass parts. It clearly didn't make it.
> But there are probably lots of developments that fall by the wayside
> and I suspect (but don't really know) that early bass clarinets
> were one of them. I mean, people were experiment with conical
> wind instruments made of metal ca. 1720, but one does not suggest
> that the saxophone was developed at that time.
> It is very difficult to assess the nature of these instruments that are
> called, variously, "bass clarinets" fully a century and a quarter before
> the instrument made its appearance in an orchestra.
> But I suppose it is possible.
> And if you contradict me again, I'll kidnap your kid!!
> >
> =======================================
> Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California
> Rosanne Leeson, Los Altos, California
> =======================================

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