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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000616.txt from 1999/01

From: David Bourque <>
Subj: [kl] Contrabass clarinet
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 08:56:38 -0500

>Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 02:54:53 EST
>Subject: Contrabass clarinet
>Message-ID: <>

>I auditioned for SCSBOA's honor band on bass clarinet, and i received a call
>that they want me to play the contrabass part instead. my school only has a
>contralto, is there any way i can prepare some what for the playing change
>from bass to contrabass?

I am sure someone on this list will have some thoughts on this for you
other than my opinion that getting your hands on the contra is the only way
to prepare. Reeds, use of air, getting used to big pads (often leaky big
pads), big mouthpiece, all require first hand experience. I suppose
playing contralto would be of some help, but my experience is that the
contralto is a *much* better instrument than the contrabass, much more
bass-clarinet like and easier to play. I am always amazed at how such a
huge instrument such as the contrabass can produce very high notes with the
greatest of ease, always unexpected and at the most inappropriate times.

BTW, when I went to university, I auditioned for the concert band --
unsuccessul candidates were placed in a repertory choir. I auditioned on
bass clarinet. No one wanted to play bass or even had any aptitude for it.
In spite of this niche and to be certain that I got in the band, I
*volunteered* to play contra. I was not a great clarinet player and did
not want to take any chances of getting stuck th the choir.

I got in the band. A noble start to my career, eh? Take the offer and run
with it Kirsten!

David Bourque
Bass Clarinet, Toronto Symphony


Hey! Check out the TSO Musicians Website!


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