Me first?

Discussion in 'Eb Contralto Clarinet' started by zagor, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. zagor

    zagor

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    wow, I couldn’t stand to watch and dream about this... at this price...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170211239701#description

    does anyone here own or play a contralto clarinet? how difficult or hard is to play it? I’m most a soprano player in most woowind, but tenor sax was my first saxofon and I play bass clarinet quite often...

    and where exactly does this instrument pitch fits? lower than bass clarinet, but how much? and how higher than contrabass clarinet?
     
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  2. Merlin

    Merlin Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    The Eb contra is pitched a perfect 5th below the bass clarinet.

    If you're considering a venture into contra territory for the first time, try and find one of the Bundy/Selmer USA 1440 models. They have all of the RH trill keys; the Leblanc made instruments usually only have the RH Eb key. I have a Leblanc made Vito contra, and the lack of a RH F# key has been an issue more times than I would have thought.

    The Bundy instrument also has a smaller bore, and uses a physically smaller mouthpiece. To me it has a more clarinetty sound than the Leblanc Eb instruments, which have the same larger bore as their lower cousins.
     
  3. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I'd recommend, if you want contra, go for Bb, not Eb.

    I've seen and been in a lot of orchestras and bands and I've seen maybe one contralto player. Maybe a half-dozen or so contrabass players (including me). That, to me, heavily implies that there isn't much market for the contralto, even though it's essentially a lower-ranged baritone sax (if you want to think of it that way).

    The price of these instruments, new, kinda reflects the demand.
     
  4. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Sigh, Suzy wouldn't let me buy it. But I already have a Leblanc (paperclip) BBb contra in the shop for tweaking that I hope to finally play tomorrow. And there is this Leblanc (paperclip) EEb contra that I'm working to get a price on. :ugeek:
    Merlin, have you ever tried a Leblanc EEb (paperclip) contra?
     
  5. Merlin

    Merlin Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    I've not played the LeBlanc paperclip EEb. I'd be interested in one of those to low C, for sure!

    I've owned/played at various times a Holton EEb straight plastic, a Holton BBb straight plastic, a Leblanc BBb paperclip to low C, various Selmer Paris EEb contras (to E as well as Eb, in rosewood and grenadilla), a Selmer USA 1440 with a custom D extension by Steve Fox, a Selmer Paris Rosewood BBb and my current horn, a Vito plastic EEb.
     
  6. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    I've played the Leblanc Eb horn. As good as the Bb one, and a lot more portable. (Both are about as portable (in case terms and weight) as a baritone sax, for what's that worth.)

    The Eb contra horn (which is the real bass of the clarinet family) is finding more and more use in Broadway shows. I've only used it in one show (On The Twentieth Century), but both The Producers and Mary Poppins are currently running with a contra in the pit.

    If I have to do such a show (not all that likely yet out in the sticks), I'd see if I could get by with my low C bass. (On The Twentieth Century had a part that was low C bass friendly, for example, even though I played the contra for the show.) If not, I might borrow one for the run of the show, but (like a bass sax) I don't see myself buying one (new or used) any time soon. And, I'm the guy who owns an Oehler clarinet...

    Your mileage may vary, of course.
     
  7. Merlin

    Merlin Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    I can tell you right now that Producers wouldn't work on a low C bass. Lots of E's and Eb's on the part.
     
  8. zagor

    zagor

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    well thank you everybody, it was just a dream anyhow...

    but I really love odd instruments, it doesn't really matter to me how much literature there is out there.

    but of course, pete, if I found a good Bb contra that would be the thing, I’m rather a Bb player than an Eb
     

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