Klarinet Archive - Posting 000760.txt from 1998/03
From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.edu>
Subj: Re: A bass clarinet
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 09:50:24 -0500
> From: MX%"klarinet@-----.80
> Subj: 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.
I am sorry to say that Selmer has taken this item out of their list
of available instruments. They stopped making and selling them at
least 4 years ago.
And while placing a low E-flat on a B-flat bass makes the A clarinet
unecessary, I would not use the word "irrelevant" because the
character of A bass is sufficiently different so as to affect the
sonic palette. In effect, our interest in playing notes goes beyond
merely obtaining the pitch.
I would suggest that one can see Mahler's interest in the character of
sound of the B-flat and A bass clarinets in his 4th symphony and there,
the conclusion I come to, is that he exploited that difference by
his selection of one instrument or the other based partly on their
respective characters and (as Bob correctly says with respect to the
6th symphony) partly on the semitone extension.
> >>From: dfigi@-----.com (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.
Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California
Rosanne Leeson, Los Altos, California