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#61 Zixi

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 07:40

OaG - You're nice! I'll continue to sympathise over the squeaks and remind myself that likely I would struggle with a 'normal' clarinet.

 

@barry-clari - :lol:

 

 

edited - OaG just beat me to it... totally agree!


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#62 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 07:45

I have said this elsewhere but I do wonder if/why musicians are so much more conservative than they must have been at some stage.  I'm not saying closed holes are necessarily an improvement, but other improvements are possible and some have been devised, eg around throat Bb, yet they pretty much all fail to take hold.  And it's not just clarinet, lots of instruments went through periods of rapid development but, apart from the odd thing like violin strings, now seem set in aspic.  But maybe that's just an impression.


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#63 Maruja

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 16:23

A bit off topic, but today I took my bass clarinet out to music ensemble for the first time! And it went OK!  There are still lots of notes I can't play unless I have a run up or down to them, but given that the music is all around middle C, that wasn't for the most part, a problem. It has made me want to do a bit of practice and to see if I can find a teacher (not easy). It also throws up a number of sub skills which are different from soprano. I really had to listen to what the other parts were doing and counting accurately was crucial. I even had a few solo parts! So it's a quite different experience from playing on the top - there were a lot of lowish oompahs, but when you got a little riff, it was your very own!

 

Any bass clarinettists out there who can give me a bit of advice on how to get higher than throat b, reliably? I could do it on the Yamaha loan instrument, but not on this Selmer/Bundy. Don't know why....the notes all work (I got a good young clarinettist to play and it sounded beautiful).

 

Still, I am pleased with myself at a good day's work.

Maruja


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#64 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 15 September 2021 - 23:11

Well, I can't actually answer your question, but I can't resist saying - ooooh.  Or something like that.  I love bass clarinet, what a fantastic sound - "####" is a somewhat over-used adjective these day but if there is an instrument that sounds ####, bass clarinet is it.  I had a go on one years ago: I like jazz and in particular Eric Dolphy who was afaik the original jazz bass clarinetist, and I used to know someone who was a big DE fan and a very good musician who played bass clarinet and I played his once for 10 or 15 mins and it stuck with me as something I really wanted to do,  In fact (veering even further off topic here) I think part of the reason I fizzled a bit on (soprano) clarinet was that I was only really playing it because I actually wanted to play bass clarinet but didn't feel I could justify the cost unless I could already play "standard" clarinet.  Strangely, I now have no problem justifying the cost, but don't particularly want to play it any more.  Life moves in mysterious ways!

 

Anyway, glad it went well, and I hope you get on to the higher notes as you wish.  But: why would you want to???

 

PS the nanny bot is even more rigorous than I had realised.  the #### is not at all a rude word - imagine gender with a y on the end


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#65 Hildegard

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Posted 16 September 2021 - 08:31

So it's a quite different experience from playing on the top - there were a lot of lowish oompahs, but when you got a little riff, it was your very own!

 

Some years ago I knew a musician in one of the Guards bands whose first instrument was violin but he had to learn the clarinet to justify his role in the band. He normally played 4th clarinet, so it was mainly "oompah"s. Unfortunately he drifted off while playing for the Changing of the Guard at Buck House one day, and found himself still oompahing after the piece had finished. He was put on a charge, needless to say!


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#66 Zixi

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 08:45

@Hildegard - :lol:

 

@Maruja - How long have you been playing bass clarinet?

 

@OaG - This morning - on our walk - I suddenly realised which word you were trying to use there! :lol: :lol: :lol:


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#67 Maruja

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 18:14

A few months - I hired one for 3 months and quite liked it, but when it was time to give it back, I did, without thinking that I would ever buy one. Then my husband sourced a comparatively cheap one (not cheap cheap but cheap in relation to new ones) for my birthday in April and I have been playing in a desultory fashion since then - but was a bit down cast because I couldn't go low or high without playing the entire scale! Not a very useful skill! But in my little U3A ensemble, they are always short of bass players (no end of soprano clarinets of course), so I decided to take my bass to the party and they did ask me to play... The lovely thing about being a beginner is you are able to say with no shame - I can't do that yet, I can't play that note, and the conductor just says to leave it out. Yet she was trying to get the poor soprano clarinetists to double tongue which I think is pretty well impossible for us amateurs... anyway, a lot of fun was had by all and I think I will be asked to play again. The only thing is, that I do occasionally like to play a jolly tune and I am not sure I am going to get many of those at the bottom....

Maruja


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#68 Rach123

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 22:15

Maruja, you're making me jealous. I really really want my own bass clarinet but I definitely can't afford it whilst i'm on minimum wage.

 

I played in the clarinet choir at my uni (it was a FE college that hosted degrees) for 4 years on soprano clarinet (2nd, 3rd and 4th clarinets not in that order) but got a chance in my last year (second attempt at second year) to try bass so I borrowed a Selmer (I think?) bass clarinet from uni and played it 2014/15 all academic year. I absolutely adored it but was so sad at the end of the year (cause I gave up on uni) when I had to give it back.

 

For the last 6 years, I have been wanting my own.


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#69 Zixi

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Posted 18 September 2021 - 08:00

Maruja - That's a nice story! Thank you for sharing it. My best wishes for the journey! I told my husband what you said about being a beginner: 'I can't do that yet' and we both love it! You're 'travelling' with joy - always the best approach! :)


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#70 Maruja

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Posted 18 September 2021 - 10:16

Thank you both! Rach, can you join a band that has a bass in the back cupboard? My last band had several unusual instruments that they invited people to play if they showed any interest (euphoniums, or should that be euphonia, tubas etc). And there was usually someone in the band to lend a hand with a few lessons. Or you could try the local music service (if there is still one in your neck of the woods). Or Benslow (the college in Hitchin that does courses for adults). I know they have a scheme for providing youngsters with instruments, so perhaps they could stretch a point for someone like yourself?

 

I know these would be loans but that would be a start and as you became known locally as someone who wanted a bass, who knows, someone might actually come up with a better solution.  I am not social media savvy enough to know about on-line ideas but maybe there is some site (like crowd funding) which seeks to pair up players with instruments? Or perhaps the ABRSM should try? Where is the moderator?!

 

The one I have is also a Selmer, in one piece and is an ex Newcastle Music Service instrument. I was rather dreading what it might be when my husband gave me the details, but actually it has turned out to be a good, solid instrument.  Maybe none of the youngsters wanted to play it? 

 

Good luck with your search.


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#71 barry-clari the second

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 05:53

I have said this elsewhere but I do wonder if/why musicians are so much more conservative than they must have been at some stage. I'm not saying closed holes are necessarily an improvement, but other improvements are possible and some have been devised, eg around throat Bb, yet they pretty much all fail to take hold. And it's not just clarinet, lots of instruments went through periods of rapid development but, apart from the odd thing like violin strings, now seem set in aspic. But maybe that's just an impression.

Overwhelmingly the reason most ‘improvements’ haven’t taken hold is to do with the weight of the instrument - nearly all ‘improvements’ add extra keys, extra mechanism or both, and that adds weight to what is already not the lightest of instruments. Closed holes on a clarinet would for me be a retrograde step : clarinets are much more ergonomically friendly than, say, flutes, so there really isn’t a compelling reason to have closed holes on a Bb clarinet.

#FreeTheCorenfaOne
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#72 Maruja

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 09:52

Quite right - we are lucky enough to live near a wonderful oboist (Chris Redgate) who has been working a lot on developing the instrument. The result seems to be an awful lot of extra keywork - which as you say, just adds to the weight. Not good when one is getting older...

Maruja


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#73 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 13:29

Fair point about the weight.  Nevertheless, Jack Brymer in his book mentions a couple of improvements that he seems to expect will catch on: the SK Bb mechanism, which requires only a little additional ironmongery and no fingering changes, and the Mazzeo system which does change the fingering a little (though JB says it improves it significantly).  In fact, JB goes so far as to say of the Mazzeo system that "when it is finally adopted - which may take a generation" yet I have never seen it advertised as an option on any clarinet that is widely available.  Not that I have looked exhaustively, but I suspect it's little used.  And while on the subject of weight, it could be reduced if manufactures didn't use grenadilla so exclusively.  I presume they do this based on (their perception of) customer demand.  I accept that Tom Ridenour has an axe to grind given that he sells clarinets not made of grenadilla, but his "The Grenadilla Myth" is an interesting enough read.  There must be an argument for using alternative materials - I know most plastics are not that great for the environment, but neither I imagine is intensive logging of grenadilla wood.  However, the only alternatives seem to be plastic for cheap instruments, or other things like Buffet's Greenline or Backun's carbon fibre that are available only on very expensive instruments - apart from Ridenour's hard rubber products which look sort of mid-price to me. 


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#74 barry-clari the second

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 14:08

Fair point about the weight.  Nevertheless, Jack Brymer in his book mentions a couple of improvements that he seems to expect will catch on: the SK Bb mechanism, which requires only a little additional ironmongery and no fingering changes, and the Mazzeo system which does change the fingering a little (though JB says it improves it significantly).  In fact, JB goes so far as to say of the Mazzeo system that "when it is finally adopted - which may take a generation" yet I have never seen it advertised as an option on any clarinet that is widely available.  Not that I have looked exhaustively, but I suspect it's little used.  And while on the subject of weight, it could be reduced if manufactures didn't use grenadilla so exclusively.  I presume they do this based on (their perception of) customer demand.  I accept that Tom Ridenour has an axe to grind given that he sells clarinets not made of grenadilla, but his "The Grenadilla Myth" is an interesting enough read.  There must be an argument for using alternative materials - I know most plastics are not that great for the environment, but neither I imagine is intensive logging of grenadilla wood.  However, the only alternatives seem to be plastic for cheap instruments, or other things like Buffet's Greenline or Backun's carbon fibre that are available only on very expensive instruments - apart from Ridenour's hard rubber products which look sort of mid-price to me.

I cannot really see the Mazzeo system being applied widely. I think there is a sporting chance that the left hand Ab/Eb key may get even more common, and may transfer more to beginner clarinets, but I doubt much more than that will happen in the next 20-30 years.
Something that is definitely on the rise are non-cane reeds : there is a reasonable chance these may, imo, become the norm.
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#75 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 08:39

Non-cane reeds are well and truly the norm in the Grumpy household.


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