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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000141.txt from 1998/03

From: Matthew Hanson <>
Subj: Re: alto mpcs
Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 03:55:22 -0500

In a round about way, the same could be said about D, C, and A clarinets
except for the fact that they are called for in so much older music.
Yes, alto clarinets are funky, but it does in fact have its own tone
color, just as other clarinets do. The design of altos MAY BE off a bit,
but regardless of "who else can cover the parts", it DOES have value.
Matthew Hanson

Kevin Fay wrote:
> Of course, there is simply no reason to be playing an alto clarinet at
> all. The only reason it exists is to give excess alto saxophone players
> something to do! Unlike the saxophone family--which does not have much
> overlap between the soprano and tenor--there is no tonal gap between the
> soprano and bass clarinets that would justify its existence. In
> addition, the proper construction of in ainstrument in that range would
> have a much smaller bore and mouthpiece (think basset horn), rather than
> the alto-saxophone clone that is used.
> Why not just paint them fancy colors and twirl them?
> kjf
> ----Original Message Follows----
> Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 16:04:29 -0600 (CST)
> From: Roger Garrett <>
> To:
> Subject: Re: alto mpcs
> Reply-To:
> I have not actually seen a Texas marching contest......only heard about
> them. On the field, a plastic bass clarinet can add color......but so
> can
> a well-played tenor the same basic range. The alto
> clarinet, on the other hand, is a waste of time on the field regardless
> of
> what Texas does. The tone does not carry far enough to help the overall
> tonal color, and the range is similar to the Alto and Tenor Saxophones
> as
> well as the alto horns/mellophones/marching french horns. There simply
> is
> no reason to mess with this particular color clarinet.
> Roger Garrett
> On Fri, 27 Feb 1998, Matthew Hanson wrote:
> > You obviously haven't visited a marching contest in East Texas. Not
> only
> > do they march alto clarinets, they march with basses as well. This is
> > very common. Depending on the size of the school or band, I've seen
> > anywhere from 1 to 14 bass clarinets marched in the East Texas bands.
> > Most of them still march military. This is actually more impressive
> than
> > it may sound. Of course since it is military style, they are usually
> in
> > straight lines, or rows. I've been to state marching contest and seen
> Eb
> > contras marched due to small tuba section. It worked somehow.
> > As for the alto mouthpiece, a Selmer C* will work fine, but if on a
> > student budget stick with the inexpensive Bundy. After all, it is for
> > marching.
> > Matthew Hanson
> > Houston, TX
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