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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000423.txt from 1999/04

From: Jack Kissinger <kissingerjn@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: [kl] Bells up in Mahler
Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 21:01:48 -0400

Note Staff Unlimited wrote:

> "Newsflash April 6, 2099: The latest newcomer in the Buffet line of Elkart,
> Indiana is a straight bass clarinet which is especially made for historic
> performances of Mahler Symphonies. Recent research has shown that all the
> clarinettists in the orchestra - including the bass clarinettist were, at
> times, required to put their bells up in the air to play certain loud
> passages...."

Actually, we may not have to wait for Buffet in 2099. On eBay, several months
ago, as some of you may recall, there was a Hammerschmidt bass clarinet
(according to the seller) to low C. This was a *straight* instrument with a
wooden bell that would point down during performance. Why one would want this
is beyond me. The seller said this design was referred to as a "pit bass."
(Dan or Roger, is pit bull to pit bass as basset hound is to basset horn? ;^)

Someone on the list posted a message at the time that the instrument was, in
fact, too short to be a bass clarinet and, therefore, must be a basset horn. I
don't know whether this member had actually contacted the seller for the length
or simply made an inference from the picture. If the latter, I don't know how
s/he could tell. Proportionally, it looked right to me (BTW, it definitely was
clearly to big to be a basset clarinet). Trying to play it "bells up" would
probably (a) be a major pain in the neck and (b) wipe out at least two rows of
the orchestra and perhaps the conductor (hmmm, maybe it's not all bad).

Best regards,
Jack Kissinger
St. Louis

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