Tritonikon

Discussion in '... And Others' started by pete, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I think that we should have a competition for the most obscure woodwind. G'head. Try to one-up me. I dares ya!

    The Tritonikon is a metal double-reed instrument that looks a lot like the ophicleide, reed contrabass and Sarrusophone. It was one of the many instruments designed in the mid-ish 19th century to improve on the contrabassoon.

    Here's the Czech to English translation of the Wikipedia article from Google Translate:
     
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  2. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

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  3. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    [channeling=SOTSDO] Isn't the improvement on an alto clarinet called "a poke in the eye with a sharp stick"? [/channeling]

    If you think about it, there were probably more efforts to improve double-reeds than any other woodwinds. Just off the top of my head, I can think of Sarrusophones, bassophone, and the Tritonikon to improve on just the contrabassoon. While the clarinet and flute had a gradual evolution to what they are today -- and, arguably, they'll evolve some more -- there has never really been a "replacement" for either, that I'm aware of. (Before someone points this out, it's arguable that the saxophone was meant as a clarinet replacement -- even a bass clarinet replacement.)

    I rather like the bassoon parts in Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Schickele's Last Tango in Bayreuth, but the only time I really paid much attention to bassoon was when I had to double them when playing bass or contrabass clarinet.
     
  4. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    A whole world onto itself...

    Bassoon playing (and real bassoon players) operate in a completely different world from the rest of us. Even the ones that double saxophone and clarinet are a bit wacky when compared to the rest of us.

    Some say it's the high pressures developed when playing the thing, but I like to think it's from the nail polish solvent vapor from making those reeds. My son was relatively normal until he took up the bassoon, but two years of the thing turned him into the berserker that he is today.

    I am more and more tempted to get me a Runyon mouthpiece. The reed is the major obstacle, and unless you practice, practice, practice, you never really learn all of the nuances involve in manipulating the things. I don't have enough time to practice clarinet, bass clarinet and sax, much less to spend considerable amounts of time on a horn that I only use occasionally.

    Unless i am preparing for a show where I double bassoon, I'll only haul it out once in a great while. With the mouthpiece as an option, I can practice fingering and such without having to screw with a reed (both mechanically and in the embouchure - playing bassoon really stresses the mouth muscles in a different fashion than do the other horns).

    And, I've said it before but I'll say it again: there is nothing more beautiful than a bassoon played way up there in the uppermost registers.
     

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