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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000735.txt from 1998/03

From: "Matt Hanson" <>
Subj: Re: A bass clarinet
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 00:56:22 -0500

Not only does the low Eb enable the Bb bass to reach the A Bass' low E, but
is also allows a "true" E/B to speak. Kinda like the B resonance hole on
oboes extending to low B only. Playing on some basses extending only to low
E can be a pain, and the timbre of the E/B are very different from the
surrounding notes... just as low Eb or C can be today. This is why Buffet
put their low C on the body, not the bell. They really got smart. I was
really relieved to get rid of a metallic low C :)
It is kind of a "two in one" thing! This was all before they wanted the bass
to be more than just a Bb clarinet an octave lower.
I have found that Selmer's old low E Rosewood Eb contras are even worse
about intonation and timbre than the basses. I think the addition of the Eb
was mainly due to that, since modern altos, basses and contras ALL THREE now
have the key.
As I recall, low Bb english horns mainly exist due to clumbsy score writing
where some composers actually assumed the english horn had the oboe's Bb...
Matthew Hanson
Houston, TX
-----Original Message-----
Date: Wednesday, March 11, 1998 9:41 PM
Subject: Re: A bass clarinet

>This comes up every six months on this list. Selmer will special order
>a model 22 (I think) bass clarient to low Eb, in A. "A" bass clarinets
>exist for the same reason as A sopranos, but they are tres chic, so few
>players have ever owned one. I don't have one, although I know that
>Nick Shackleton has one. However, the low concert C# is essential.
>Placing a low Eb on Bb bass makes the note possible and the A bass
>irrelevant. Look at how Mahler uses the A bass clarinet in the 6th
>symphony for a better expanation of this than I can give you in words.
>Robert Howe.
>>>From: (David Figi)
>Subject: Re: klarinet-digest V1 #747
>Re: Bass clarinets in A
> The last time I checked you could not buy a new bass clarinet in
>(except possibly as a special order). There are a few used ones around
>they are hard to find.

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