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Bass Clarinet

Discussion in 'Bb Bass Clarinet' started by QueenVicki, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    And I thank you for showing me the copy!

    "Tank!" is very fast and pretty high for the trumpets, but that alto sax solo is what makes the piece.
  2. One more installment in my saga. After spending this morning with an hour of alto sax, I found that it confuses me just a little when switching back to cl. Which gave me the will to try the bass again this morning.

    But I found some better reeds laying around last night. I just tried a Hemke 2.5, and its the smoothest yet. I still have a couple of others to try too--in the event that I experience what I did last evening.

    Problem solved. Horn sounds even better with this reed.
  3. Interesting. With some judicious analysis of my reed/lig, I found that this is where my problems are. With my current level of ability, my current set-up is extremely sensitive to adjustment.

    I just tried the Hemke 3, which took a few minutes to get moving, but yielded much more altissimo control and stronger sound. However, I could not get anything out of a Vandoren 2.5.

    These are all ts reeds btw.

    Well, if nothing else, I'm learning a lot about how my reed choice and playing technique translates into horn performance. Which is good--because my goal is to use this horn as my primary instrument in whatever playing situations arise, so I'll need to be able to solve my problems as they occur, in a variety of situations.

    I'm pretty determined to succeed on this bass. I'm also pretty gratified that I've been able to get to this point--with a cold horn, generic Conn mpc (I think?), no experience, and a lot of practice.

    So, I'll concede that the mpc isn't everything! I'll revise my opnion to--a good reed and knowledge of how to use it...is everything. :wink:
  4. Yes, so this Hemke 3 is just right -- it affords me about as much control in altissimo as chalameux. Also, better intonation in the "open" notes.

    I can play--in altissimo--long tones, intervals, vibrato--things I should be able to do. I can play a high G (thumb/reg) as easily as I can the other octaves. This is what I was missing before--to have some command in this register. I also note that I can use quite a different embouchure with the Hemke 3 -- off the piece more, kind of more "sax" like..

    I'm so amazed how a reed will open up the horn - like it was a different instrument altogether.

    I understand that reed experimentation is necessary -- which is why I have all these ts reeds. But, this is not cheap! (I'm frugal, in addition to poor). I wish I could have a few boxes of many other reeds, rather than two Hemkes and a VD...not to mention a bcl reed proper, or two!!

    I can also begin to approach evaluating this horn a bit now. Albeit, with only what I have, the clarion is a bit stuffy (compared to a really full, round and beautiful chalameux and bright, clear altissimo)--but much less so with this reed than the ones I was using prior.. It's more of a challenge to get the notes clear and projecting in clarion--and it's easy to make it sound more sax-like in this register, that is, it wants to growl a bit here. Especially with this Hemke 3, the chalameux is awesome.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
  5. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Does not compute.
  6. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Intel Pentium math: 2+2=4.9999999999999999999
  7. Of course it all depends on one's frame of reference :wink:

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Define your terms!

    What base are we talking here?
  9. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I can think of a lot of amusing responses to that, Terry. I just think they're probably a bit too amusing for an "all ages" forum :p.
  10. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    There goes my Borg joke... <sigh>
  11. Oh my, I could go on... <absurdum infinitum smiley icon>

    But (more) seriously...of course I am the irreverant DIYer-bohemian-environmentalist-irrationalist, but..

    The horn, this horn....not only is it a lot like learning to windsurf...but, being fond of considering phenomena as impetus for edification, this pipe (well, it's not a pipe really) is like a labaratory...not the seismogrpah of the heart, which is of course the violin...but, still a sort of emienence de emprical...really neat. I love the especially and elegantly tactile (being of the sensual inclination, oftentimes) stimulus. Nice to have objects that prompt such stirrings.. Being fond of acoustics, horns are very cool. I've always appreciated the ability to use one's baser (hey!) energies for things of this nature..
  12. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Bad punny reference to your current avatar. Boo, hiss.

    Why, yes. I do know surrealist art ....


    Hmm. I'm thinking of jokes with the punchline of "Boehm-ist." Probably not a good thing.
  13. Interesting that Foucault and "thinking about representation" should come up on a bcl thread (not that my avatar should not prompt such, generally): the bass is such a corporeal instrument--one of the things truly compelling about it. I play a lot of doublebass (viol) too, and it's for those of us who enjoy such things--a very gratifying experience to exploit and engage the base aspects of vibration (NOT like the subwoofers that kids and others with generally underveloped sensibilites deploy in their motor vehicles, of course, but rather the fine qualities of acoustic musical instruments).

    But this is what I truly enjoy about internet forums--a place where the tactile experience of playing a bass clarinet can be discussed in the same thread as wholely other subject matter--viz., conceptual art. For the horn is apprehended immediately by the senses, and in no ambiguous way, unless of course it is deployed in the service of a more abstract form--such as music can become. But I presume a discussion on the nature of representation and philosophy of the arts should be developed in more detail on another thread. But I won't object if it continues here.. :smile:

    Thanks Pete!
  14. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    As opposed to air guitar, I suppose? :p

    As far as Focault is concerned, the idea is essentially that he's trying to get you to thing about more than what the painting is of (obviously a pipe), but Bill Clinton territory: it all depends on what the definition of "is" is.

    The Foucault painting is definitely one level of self-reference. Not quite as blatant as MC Escher (say, "Hands Drawing Hands"), but I don't necessarily think that only self-reference is the point of his art.

    For a more mathematical discussion of self-reference, I heartily recommend the works of Douglas R. Hofstadter, particularly The Mind's I and Godel, Escher and Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.
  15. Foucaut was not a painter, but rather a well known writer especially on post-structuralist critical theory. The painter of this famous work is Belgian Rene Magritte--who preceded Foucault (if I recall correctly) by probably 50-100 years. Unless it was Marcel Duchamp--who was quite more well-known for formalist style work. This work is generally regarded as the eminent statement for formalist, post structuralist style...as it blatantly confronted several prominent theoretical and aesthetic paradigms of the day--as Foucault enumerates in his article.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
  16. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I told ya: it's all about the shiny.
  17. Well in case anyone is keeping score besides me...I solved my problems by carefully observing my horn's performance (noticing that it wouldn't play in late afternoons...seems a no-brainer now). Clearly, it is climactic conditions affecting my reeds. I take care to moisten my reeds extra in the afternoon, and no problems now.

    I'm starting to play my tunes in altissimo, and now must figure out some alternate fingerings in order to play fluidly. Compared to soprano, bass clarinet is a bear in altissimo--not for embouchure particularly, as my horn performs well throughout , but fingerings: the wider spacing and larger mechansims obviously present a greater ergonomic challenge, and I'm not deft enough yet with my fingerings to play smoothly in altissimo. But this is what I'm beginning to work up. I'd like to be as fluid in three registers.

    This PRECISION mpc is working fine--I like either the 3 or 3.5 ts reeds I'm using. But because I've had so much success with modestly priced pieces (Hite Premiers), I couldn't resist ordering a CF Debut at least to begin comparison. Hope this doesn't render me a mere gear-obsessed dilettante. :emoji_rolling_eyes:

    My clarion is gorgeous, but that vent on the right hand (lower clarion) makes the horn sound stuffy on those two notes where the mechanism engages--requires some extra effort. But wow, this horn sings in that upper clarion beautifully. Altissimo is bright and clear.
  18. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Have you sprung for actual bass clarinet reeds yet?
  19. Nope--having too much fun as is
  20. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    I deal with the problem with wetting the reeds by using synthetic on all my big instruments. They last longer and are less fussy. It does take a fair bit of time to get used to them though. Once you've got the voicing figured out, don't expect anyone else to be able to play them like you do with your setup.
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