Klarinet Archive - Posting 000166.txt from 1997/09
From: "Charles W. West" <cwest@-----.edu>
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.
On Thu, 28 Aug 1997, Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.edu 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