Dismiss Notice
I hate the colors. What do I do?

At the far bottom of the page, on the left, is a menu or link that says, "Forum Default." Click on that and choose a different Style.

Eb Alto keys

Discussion in 'Eb Alto Clarinet' started by wanabe, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. Most of the keys on my Eb Alto clarinet, a Bundy Resonite, correspond to, or at least appear to be in more or less the same positions and do the same things as the keys on my Penzel Mueler Soprano clarinet. So what's with the right hand pinky finger keys on the alto? Photos of some other makes of altos show five keys down there. Mine has only four, just like the soprano. Did something fall off? Was I shortchanged at the cash register? Have I forgotten how to count to five? And, why are there several keys on both clarinets for the left hand that seem to do the same things as some keys for the right hand?
     
  2. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    5 on the RH includes a low Eb, which is optional and not a standard feature.
     
  3. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Well, not so much optional as only included on the newer horns. Older basses (from the early 1900s) also only have the four keys, as the fifth (in the case of the bass) was there so players could play bass clarinet parts pitched in A without spending a bucket of cash for an instrument that would only get used once in a blue moon.

    I think that I have seen a Bundy Eb alto without the Eb key, but it's been a long time since the viewing, so I may be remembering it wrong. Most of the altos seen in the halciyon days of my youth have long since faded from my memory. I do recall that the Selmer Paris alto that I played for the Selmer demo program, way back in 1963 or thereabouts, was provided with the Eb key (as well as a peg, then a new addition to the line that was being test run at the time.

    Just why the fifth key (the low Eb, although some folks use it for a substitute Bb key when fingered with the register key) was included on the the alto in the first place has always puzzled me. It's not for the basset horn transposition, since there are still notes below the Eb pitch to be found on the basset.
     
  4. Thanks, you once again have clarified what to me was a puzzle.
     
  5. The fewer notes an alto can play, the better.
     
  6. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    You will, of course notice that I did not post that...
     
  7. saxhound

    saxhound Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    He did, however, exercise mind control over the rest of us. It was only a matter of time until someone yielded to the force.
     
  8. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I withstand. :)

    But the question as to why an Alto needs a low Eb key is indeed interesting...never thought about that.

    (Same can be said about the Bass, or why it only has a low Eb rather than down to D which would match a Cello's low concert C. I am aware that there have been one or two pieces for Bass in A, but still...)
     
  9. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    More than one or two. I've run into about eight over the years, one of which was not only pitched in A but was scored in bass clef, this by an American composer in the 1930s or 1940s.

    So, not only are the parts out there, some morons are churning them out in a hard to decypher version of notation that hasn't been used since the 1890s...
     
  10. Ive actually on more than one occasion used this as the alternative fingering for Bb....its really the only explanation I could assume it was added on for.....it came in especially handy during our last performance of Variations on a Korean Folk song...I used that fingering in about 90% of the fast passages and it made it much, much easier to accomplish since most of the quickly running notes all start on Bb and hit it repetitively.

    Oddly enough, the concert before that I had an alto part (cant seem to recall the name) that used the low Eb in several passages which I have yet to come across anywhere else.....
     
Our staff's websites: