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Thread: Hear Rare Single Reeds

  1. #1
    Senior Member Enthalpy's Avatar
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    Default Hear Rare Single Reeds

    Hello dear friends!

    I propose that we put in this thread links, samples and pictures of unusual single reed instruments. "Unusual" needs interpretation; to me it begins somewhere at the bass saxophone.

    Yes, separate threads are planned for unusual double reeds, flutes, brass, strings, percussions.

    To start the thread, here are less usual clarinets. Not the soprano nor sopranino, I mean.

    ===== Ab piccolo clarinet

    It served in Italian military bands and is nearly extinct. Badly difficult to play, especially in tune.
    d-aqcHlSFEI with contrabass -
    giSev7Vk_5w with octocontralto -
    JN4OX-yefbY same musicians

    ===== Eb alto clarinet

    Half-rare presently, the nice instrument got several concerti in the classical period.
    XE8Z3ZSQKvcEaNh6RZsAsA3HiVA3IU5UA
    All altos I see have a low Eb.

    The related cor de basset is pitched in F instead, but has added keys to reach notes written lower.
    Here a reproduction of a historical instrument
    NI8MUaTW8ck&t=166 music 2:46-3:24
    Smaller tone holes, fork fingerings and boxwood made a different sound. The Boehm system has let it sound clearer and uniformly on all scales.

    The La de basset is really uncommon. It's an A soprano with added keys to reach notes written lower.

    ===== Bb bass clarinet

    Adopted during the romantic era, getting more common for excellent reasons. The best working woodwind in the orchestra, extremely agile, capable of pp and ff, with a huge range. Jazz musicians have given it more varied techniques than the soprano has. Its sound differs from the bassoon and can be loud. The very dark notes low on the soprano clarinet are clear on the bass' medium range. I wish symphonic orchestras (and scores) had an independent group of bass clarinets, as bassoons don't suffice among the woodwinds.

    Low notes can become hard in forte, but here's a nice sound by Sebastian Tozzola:
    8WbOXWgLeHgmKGSmTWcfN8NjEu6Dd1Q9kQwJo0tf1_7M
    4qzAi7JoKGE - tE-YZz8Fii0A4IQzeDcuDg
    Check also the rest of Bach's cello suite played by Sebastián Tozzola.
    And nice sound by Vincent Penot:
    dq4wrQff2mY6NqP90jxwFo
    Quartett, music at 0:15
    PtI2cdPdVRo&t=15
    Some models go down to written Eb and others to C to play bassoon scores. My copy of the Sacre du printemps' score wants two A bass clarinets that to my knowledge never existed. The bass too exists with the worse Oehler fingerings in Germany (the linked Austrian quartett plays the Boehm system).

    ===== Eb contraalto clarinet

    Between the bass and contrabass, rare. Low notes get hard in forte. Bad players abound on the Web, here are nice sounds:
    wNatSqHYGaY – and with comments DaC0pIbKd4Q

    Beginning here, the low clarinets appeared in the twentieth century, so classical pieces are transcriptions. At least some instruments go down to written C.

    ===== Bb contrabass clarinet

    Rare too. Low notes get easily hard.

    At least some go down to written low C, sounding as low as a contrabassoon. The contrabassoon is very agile (and grossly underused) too, but it provides no decent forte and sounds differently. The hard and very dark notes low on the bass clarinet are clear on the contrabass' medium range. Symphonic orchestras (and scores) could have one permanently as the only strong contrabass woodwind.
    oA4vdeRo33Mnl7hYZqZJLI - ry4cjT7oGmIwUNZjNVFMkY

    ===== Eb octocontraalto clarinet

    Two octaves below the alto clarinet. One metal paperclip model was built in 1971 by Leblanc, possibly the one playing here, in the pieces already linked for the Lab piccolo clarinet.
    giSev7Vk_5wJN4OX-yefbY

    ===== Bb octocontrabass clarinet

    Two octaves below the bass clarinet. One metal paperclip model was built in 1935 by Leblanc and is exposed in the museum in La Couture-Boussey
    WU93vd_00Do

    Enjoy!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Enthalpy's Avatar
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    The present-day tárogató is a not-so-common woodwind (few 100 pieces worldwide) with simple reed and conical bore like a saxophone, but with smaller tone holes, fingerings similar to an Oehler clarinet, body made of wood up to now, in Bb. The reed and mouthpiece resemble more a clarinet, supposedly with narrower bore.

    Intonation is still a weakness of the instrument. Many musicians play it with very weak reeds, letting it resemble more a bagpipe. But if well played, it has a magnificent sound.

    Here Attilio Berni, a saxophone collector, sounds it very nicely:
    v0tFp2_H3R8 at 08:48 to 9:16
    the whole video is full of rarities.

    Nice sound by Laszlo Kiss Gy, refined folkloric music
    6r5PhhtVV80UiPV6u21oq4Ep6UVGVCnaApls1AAXwnMwZ-Edp2gPtXM
    Less ancient music played by the same musician:
    sSEUQebDWF8_TOwfXpls4QM6KHos2VdG0aZDvtvIGsz4
    Is0wVfZUwcEKyxZYeKGS5A5y2ogzsI9jsHc0S-cryeTI
    and here together with a harp:
    btJAfAI7Sg0KNNQvy2aBqkCD0AkzhkhFQ2iK2uux8Rj0

    Different, haunting sound by Jozsef Balogh
    pbBxQnSomWc

    The tenor tárogató is truly rare – maybe one or two dozens worldwide. The ones I've seen use tenor saxophone reed, mouthpiece and neck, which make them sound more like a sax.
    pn6X4vvbbz8 at 12:14 - qOLffFmsCG8

  3. #3
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    My avatar is an ancient coin from Phrygia (as in the phrygian mode), in modern-day Turkey but then part of the Greek empire, depicting the satyr Marsyas playing an ancient single-reed instrument called the aulos. Apparently, the idea of playing two pipes was to make a louder sound, not to play harmonies.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Enthalpy's Avatar
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    The young soprillo, a tiny saxophone pitched in Bb an octave above the soprano, has only one manufacturer
    eppelsheim.com
    but quite a few musicians play it already. Hear it there
    v0tFp2_H3R8 at 05:23-5:42 (many more instruments in this video)
    or there
    nOWI4rR9Bxw - 1dIAON5Je3M
    or just search elsewhere for "soprillo".

  6. #5
    Senior Member Enthalpy's Avatar
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    Many people know only saxophones that blare fortissimo all the time to be heard because so does the drummer behind them, so here's a classical saxophone quartet with a nice sound:
    music.mcgill.ca

  7. #6
    Senior Member Enthalpy's Avatar
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    The easy range of a saxophone covers only two octaves and a sixth, written from Bb to F# around the treble clef staff, plus minus a semitone. Beyond F# start the altissimo register, not demanded from amateurs and written with caution for professionals, with complicated fingerings, and which generally sounds a bit more... I mean, perhaps not so much... well, plain horrible. But here's a saxophonist with nice altissimo, both on the alto and soprano
    rOTbgUeIH64 - xpG-H32sXDw
    He even plays glissando at 2:18. Don't expect that from every advanced professional.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Enthalpy's Avatar
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    Low saxophones get easily a rough sound when playing a bit loud, but here's a baritone saxophone with soft sound:
    and here an agile one:
    and here are bass saxophones with soft sound:
    Last edited by Enthalpy; Jun-18-2020 at 15:54.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Enthalpy's Avatar
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    The company Vibrato markets plastic saxophones, with walls of moderately thin polycarbonate, and even pads of elastomer. Here it there
    IruxMK3p_jY Plastic vs metal
    Thin plastic makes a muffled sound, just as it does at a trumpet or a clarinet.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Enthalpy's Avatar
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    More of the magnificent tárogató, by Erdő Zoltán now
    Wow!
    In Brittany, it rains only on idiots.
    You just write French exactly like you spell it. Very simple!
    In the Navy, one must salute everything that moves and paint the rest.
    I wish so dearly Mozart were still alive! And his music already dead.

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