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Video: Is this a Tárogató?

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
You are correct. It is a tárogató and it is played extremely well. It gives a nice contrast to the clarinet in this setting. Thanks for sharing this.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I think a bass Tárogató shows up later.
I think you're right.

Several comments:
* This is the first time I've heard a Taragato played where it actually sounds better than a badly out of tune, very harsh sounding soprano sax. Great job.
* While the soprano Taragato sounds to me almost exactly like a soprano sax, the bass Taragato sounds like someone's forgotten to remove his padsaver from his tenor. (i.e. It's a very muffled sound.)

I did some fooling around with numbers. Currently, the "base" soprano sax I'd buy -- if forced to, like someone was going to kill me or my family if I didn't comply, because I don't want a soprano sax -- would be the Yani SCWO10. That's just under $4800. The highest-end Taragato from the best company, Stowasser, is 3925 Euro (appx. $4500 US). So, any reason not to use a Taragato as a soprano sax replacement?
 
I think you're right.

Several comments:
* This is the first time I've heard a Taragato played where it actually sounds better than a badly out of tune, very harsh sounding soprano sax. Great job.
* While the soprano Taragato sounds to me almost exactly like a soprano sax, the bass Taragato sounds like someone's forgotten to remove his padsaver from his tenor. (i.e. It's a very muffled sound.)

I did some fooling around with numbers. Currently, the "base" soprano sax I'd buy -- if forced to, like someone was going to kill me or my family if I didn't comply, because I don't want a soprano sax -- would be the Yani SCWO10. That's just under $4800. The highest-end Taragato from the best company, Stowasser, is 3925 Euro (appx. $4500 US). So, any reason not to use a Taragato as a soprano sax replacement?
Scott is amazing. I toured Hungary with him a few years ago with the World tárogató ensemble.

One reason you wouldn't get one in preference to a decent soprano is that, unless you're Scott, it may well sound like a badly out of tune, very harsh soprano sax. :)

Seriously though. learning the fingering system is the main issue. Unless you play German system clarinet you'll have a bit of a learning curve.

A few highlights:

Fork F (xxx|xox), F# is xxx|xoo
No bis key or long Bb
No articulated G#
Thumb key for low Bb. (that might be better sometimes but it takes a while to get used to)
No palm keys - above C you have to find altissimo fingerings.
Two octave keys to manage manually.

An there's the more difficult intonation. It's much more flexible and less centred in pitch than a saxophone. I think that's due to having far smaller tone holes.

The harsh sounds you've heard are down to Romanian style mouthpieces. They have a ridiculously high baffle. Hungarian style pieces are more 'normal'.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Note that I'd probably sound out-of-tune and harsh on both instruments :D.

IIRC, the entire idea behind the (modern) taragato was to have smaller tone holes. The inventor thought the ones on the sax were "offensive" or something.
 

kymarto

Content Expert/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Just a note here. I am now the proud owner of three Stowasser tárogatós (just sold a fourth) and a Hammerschmidt. It took some work in adjusting toneholes, but I now have them all very well in tune, on par with my modern soprano sax. The most important thing is to have the mouthpiece volume right! For example, I have a C Stowasser that was playing about fifty cents off overall. It turned out that the mpc was much too long. I substituted another one that I cut down, and then filled in the chamber somewhat, and that did the trick.

The Hammerschmidt was a disaster when I got it. The lower tube notes were almost in tune, and the upper tube notes were almost a semi-tone flat. I had a look at the mouthpiece, and someone had really hollowed out the chamber. I substituted it for one of my Stowasser mpcs and it is absolutely in tune top to bottom.

The tárogató is difficult because it doesn't have a "neck" that you can slide a mpc on. The mpc pretty much sits in one position. Since tárogatós tend to be more or less handmade, including the bores (my three Bb instruments are all quite different), and even the length varies somewhat (the truncation at the top) it is pretty much necessary to adjust each mpc for length and internal volume. Once you have done that, then comes the business of adjustments to the tone holes. I'm not saying that this will work for the cheap Timis tárogatós, but it has worked for all my tárogatós, including a Remenyi I started on (more or less). It is true that I had a Schunda that was hopeless. But any of the good Hungarian horns should be candidates to become well-playing instruments with some fiddling.
 
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