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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Merlin, Nov 11, 2008.
Judging from the microphones in the picture, you guys were backstage. Is that right?
I don't know how you could make that judgement just from seeing the mics. We were onstage.
The theatre seats over 3000. Everything was mic'd.
I'm simultaneously surprised & relieved, that you dont (apparently) play the pipes Merlin. meaning theres a chance for me yet, in some production requiring these skills
I;m also noticing a preponderance of Shure SM 57's in your pics...hmm.
Just judging from all those mics. The only time I've seen mics in pit is when the orchestra is backstage and they're mic'ed so they can be heard.
Not when I'm the sound man . There are lots of tricks for making a band sound natural in the house. Also, choreographers are crazy. They always want the 'bumps' by cowbell, ratchet, and or woodblocks to be larger than life. There's no greater compliment than to have someone ask why the orchestra was not miked--because it was.
For me, if a single instrument or voice is miked, then everything gets a mic. It's the difference between miked and unmiked sounds that draws attention to the fact that there is sound reinforcement. It's better to have a mic and not use it, than to have the producing director say 'more oboe', and not being able to comply because you didn't mic up the oboe. Saying 'I can't' to a producing director practically guarantees that you won't be called again.
Seeing all these awesome setups is making me excited to return to a real city so I can do some doubling again. In a few months will be in Windsor Ontario looking for some pit work and fun times doubling. Craziest list of instruments I ever did was clarinet, flute, piccolo, bass clarinet, bari sax, bassoon & kazoo for a variety show. Man I miss those musicals - they just aren't happening in this small town I'm living in now.
Beauty and the Beast
Hello, everyone. I know it's been a while since I've been on here. I got my first pit orchestra gig in three years. I'm playing Beauty and the Beast for a theatre company called the Rising Star Theatre Company, a local community theatre in Dubuque. I'm playing Reed 3 for the production (flute/clarinet/bass clarinet). It's a really great book. The flute has some great harmonies with the Reed 1 player who's playing flute and piccolo and there are some great solo clarinet parts. I will say though that the key changes are numerous and the fast tempos plus high altissimo notes in some numbers can be quite an ordeal sometimes. All in all though, a great book and it feels great to be back doing pit orchestra. The link below is my setup from the sitzprobe tonight. Tomorrow we move into the pit.
I'm using my Selmer Series 9 clarinet (serial number Y5641), a Yamaha bass clarinet that can go down to low Bb (04372), and a Yamaha CXL flute I believe (M745429). I borrowed the bass clarinet and flute from one of my music professors. And if you're wondering why I don't have a bass clarinet stand, don't worry. That is getting worked out as of now. I may have to borrowing one from the local music store.
I'll post what I had in Legally Blonde then, as I didn't know of this topic's existence until now.
Noblet Bb Clarinet, Vandoren 5RV
Yanagisawa B6, Yamaha 5C
And I wasn't the one playing flute in that book because I'm bad at flute, even if I own one.
Stands were a Hercules stand that I borrowed from my school for Flute/Clarinet and Piccolo, which googling tells me is a model DS543BB. And for Baritone, I had another Hercules, model DS535B.
A few years back my wife and I were at the theatre for a performance of Figaro. The theatre was silent as the first few bars of the overture played, when suddenly there was an almighty crash from the pit, followed by a burst of remarkably un-musicianlike language, with words that I didn't even know that I knew. The pit was a sunken area in front of the front row where we were seated, so I peered over the rail to see what was happening. The percussionist had stumbled over a power cord and fallen headlong across most of his gear, and then he and the gear had fallen off the slightly raised plinth on which the percussionists stood. He'd taken out several players and as far as I could see wrecked several instruments. The performance started half an hour late, and the orchestra sounded a bit thin that night.
OK, I see someone revived this thread, I'll play along. My pictures didn't turn out well, so I won't post one, but last February I played Books 3 & 4 for Guys & Dolls. My gear included: soprano, tenor, & bari sax, as well as clarinet.
I'm about to start rehearsals for The Wizard of Oz. Again I'm doing the Reed 3 book. For that I'll be playing soprano & bari sax, as well as clarinet.
Since I'm not as strong a clarinet player as I am a saxophonist, I tend to substitute soprano for the highly technical clarinet parts--when the range makes this possible. The plus side is that I've learned how to generate an amazingly convincing soprano sax sound, that blends really nicely with the clarinets. In this case I use my Mark VI soprano sax with a Runyon Custom M/P (sans spoiler), and a Legere Signature Series reed.
A Much Better Pit Setup
It's Blake again. I just would like to post my Beauty and the Beast setup again now that I have a bass clarinet stand (I'm borrowing it from one of the band directors in the school district who is also my clarinet instructor). If you're wondering what kind of stand it is, it's a Hercules stand; it feels much better than having to use a chair to prop it up. I must say that I do enjoy this book. For the most part, I play a lot of harmonies with the flute and the oboe as well as have some pretty good clarinet solos. As for the bass clarinet, I mostly play with the low strings but there are a few times where I have a couple solos. It feels good to be back in a pit again Here's my pit setup
I see by the pic it's the older style Hercules bass clarinet stand. I just picked one up for my bass, but it's the newer model bass clarinet/bassoon stand
The only drawback is its footprint. I can't see from your photo how much floor space your stand takes up, but it appears to maybe be a little less.
Yeah it wasn't much. I had enough space for the instruments, stands, and my flute and clarinet case; the bass clarinet was outside the orchestra pit up against the wall. Thankfully, I was given a locker in the men's dressing room to keep the instruments. I had a very low ceiling though so I couldn't stand up straight. I was also directly below the stage so I couldn't see what was going onstage. Thankfully, I'll be getting a video copy of the show as the contract allows it.
Now that I'm retired, I finally decided to do a show. Reed 2 on 9 to 5 next month. As previously mentioned, it's mostly tenor, bari and clarinet, with a bit of flute and bass clarinet. Here is my practice setup at home. I'm a bit worried about the real estate I'm going to need.
First off, I'd replace the bass clarinet stand. I have one of that model and they royally stink in a pit - way too fiddly to be able to quickly put the horn down. If you are not playing standing up I'd also rethink that tenor stand.
In the past I've used a double sax stand to hold a tenor and bass clarinet in a pit - with a bari stand placed behind one side of the stand to support the top of the bass clarinet.
Speaking of taking up a lot of space in the pit... I am about to start rehearsals for The Music Man. I am playing the Reed 5 book in it this time. (Can't remember what I did when I played it last waaaay back when.) Since I am just in the process of reacquainting myself with the bassoon--my bassoon days are 30 years in the rearview --I will be playing those parts on my Martin Committee III bari paired with a scroll shank E (?) or is it a D? Either way, for some reason that combo makes my badass Martin sound like--you guessed it--a double reed instrument. Why? I don't know...
Although the reediness of the double reed is obviously not there, at the one read-through we had before Christmas, the English horn/oboe player said to me: Damn girl, I thought you were playing bassoon for the most part. I had to keep turning around to make sure you hadn't pulled one out when I wasn't looking.
The rest of the parts in the book are bass or bari sax, and Bb clarinet. Depending on how much room there physically is in the pit, I am considering using my Mark VI bari, as opposed to my bass.
The foot print for the bass stand is quite big, and then there is the actual switching of horns. Swinging a bari around is one thing. Swinging a bass around and not taking out the player beside me... that's a whole other matter.
Playing the bass out the stand would be ideal, but that would require another music stand and chair. Given the price of real estate in the Metro Vancouver region, that's just not going to happen.... .... Sorry that was a Canadian joke about our region having the highest real estate prices in the country....
Carl H. said:
"First off, I'd replace the bass clarinet stand. I have one of that model and they royally stink in a pit - way too fiddly to be able to quickly put the horn down. If you are not playing standing up I'd also rethink that tenor stand."
I agree that it isn't a great stand, although it is very stable. I'm leery of the Hercules BC / Bassoon stand that you lean the horn against. That one looks like an accident waiting to happen. There is so little bass clarinet in the book, that I'm thinking I will just transpose and play it on bari. There are only a couple low C / C# notes that would be out of range, and they are out of range on my BC as well.
I'll have to see about the tenor stand. I do have a shorter Saxrax stand I could use, but I have used the tall one before while seated, and it isn't too difficult.
If it were me, I'd dump the Saxrax for this show and go with Hercules. Their footprint is smaller, and they are very stable. I use them for all my very expensive horns with no concerns. BTW, the Hercules bass clarinet stand is fine. It is totally stable. I have one, and use it for both BC and bassoon. However, their footprint is quite large.