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What are your doubles?

I also remember the horn, a Leblanc "paper clip" model, bouncing around as I tried to hit all the keys for Leroy Andersen's "A Christmas Festival" (if you've never heard it, there's a spot at 5:21 -- which a poster says, "The Nukes Start Landing!" -- that concludes around 6:21 where the basses, etc. go ballistic in tutti).
what a great chestnut warhorse that one is! I went through a heavy LeRoy Anderson/ Eric Coates/ in fact all things pops phase once upon a time, but just now its Arabo/Turkish pop-dub & Mick Taylor era Stones.


I will however, hop on the Cor Anglais bandwagon. luvvin me some E.H. :emoji_flushed:

I dont feel its necessary to be a virtuoso on everything one doubles on: so long as the part /cue is covered with great tone, balance, & phrasing, then were good to go. Having Swan of Tuonela, La Gazza Ladra, the Monti Czardas, Giant Steps, Rakish Paddy, Lament for the Harp Tree & a 20 min Saltarello Calabrese on the lineup for one gig would be a rare occasion to rise to.:Line6::Line6::Line6::Line6::Line6:
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My turn then I guess :)

I only play a few but at least from 3 different families so I hope getting the other family members won't be so difficult when it'll be asked for.

* Soprano Recorder
* Flute
* Eb Clarinet
* Bb Clarinet
* Alto Sax

My first instrument was piano and although I'm still pretty good at it and I always enjoy playing it, I don't really take it into account in my doubles since a gig is either piano-only or ww's only.

From what I read, I was fortunate enough to learn the clarinet first so the transition to sax was rather smooth, though I had to force myself not to have a clarinet embouchure on this beast. That's also by picking up the sax that I realised that "deeply breathing" was not enough for a ww player even though that's what my clarinet teacher had always told me ("Do I have to breathe in some special way ? - No, just breath deeply, son").
I also recently started the flute, which is somehow my own stick of death, though it has now greatly improved. I have yet to gig on the flute but I don't feel like I'm ready to do my coming-out as a flutist just yet.

So as money (hopefully) keeps coming in I'll be able to look for some other members of these families. I planned a trip to the music shop in a month or so. I'll be looking for some stuff like a tenor sax or a bass clarinet. I don't know which already. I'd love to go for a bass clarinet but I was thinking that while I'm at it why not go directly for a low-c bass which is out of my price range for the moment. So Tenor Sax it will certainly be unless by then I either receive a large amount of cash or I won't resist wanting a bass clarinet. I'd also go straight up for a baritone but that would send my bank account straight up to the depths of poverty.

Lately my interest in the bassoon has also greatly increased as all the bassoon players I see always look like they're having such a blast doing their pom popom bassoon thingy. But I don't think I'm ready to start cutting folding and tying cane or whatever right now. But I guess it's somewhere in my head so it will pop up anytime soon.

So that's my story. As far as my gigs are invovled, I play weekly Bb & Eb Clarinet in a concert band (Eb Clarinet is such a blast when you avoid the silly Eb key in the middle of everything) and play alto sax and Bb Clarinet in jazz setups. I've also played soprano recorder a couple of times and it has always been fun, mainly I guess because those passages were short.
Still waiting for some pit work but not much of that here in Europe =(
My turn then I guess :)

My first instrument was piano and although I'm still pretty good at it and I always enjoy playing it, I don't really take it into account in my doubles since a gig is either piano-only or ww's only.

So that's my story. As far as my gigs are invovled, I play weekly Bb & Eb Clarinet in a concert band (Eb Clarinet is such a blast when you avoid the silly Eb key in the middle of everything) and play alto sax and Bb Clarinet in jazz setups. I've also played soprano recorder a couple of times and it has always been fun, mainly I guess because those passages were short.
Still waiting for some pit work but not much of that here in Europe =(
Hey Pierre
Keep your piano chops up. They've come in handy for me many times.
In wedding bands I often did the cocktail piano before the party and a lot of bands will have an auxiliary keyboard for various members to use.
I recommend having a strong bass playing left hand and don't use the sus pedal.

My emphasis on doubles lately has been the bass.
Upright Bass Fiddle, Tuba and Contrabass Clarinet.

If you're interested in a contra mine is for sale on ebay (shameless promotion;)


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
... in that case the whole post shouldn't disappear
Well, obviously they can :p

#1. You could ask an admin nicely where your post went. 'Tis the season and stuff. And someone else had the same problem.
#2. Your post didn't disappear. It went into the moderation queue.
#3. Because I'm not able to be around here as much as I used to, I've been using a new plugin to validate new users and control registrations. Anyhow, said plugin obviously saw that you were quoting a new user (who does get moderated by the plugin) and added an eBay link. What the plugin is supposed to do is, "New user posts eBay link, therefore I'll move the post to the moderation queue." It just got a little overly enthusiastic or has a bug.

So, put up with it for a bit. E-mail or PM me if it happens too often, otherwise I'll just check the moderation queue at random during the day.

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Hey Pierre

I recommend having a strong bass playing left hand
Careful there. I know a few bass players (myself included) who hate heavy handed piano players. There are times when I will walk in to a place thinking I might sit in with my friends and turn around and leave when I see a certain piano player is in attendance. Nobody needs 2 bass players fighting for the same sonic space.
I agree piano has come in handy many times for me. And I hope it will again in the future.
As for the left hand thing, I'd say it depends. As Carl says, if there is a bass player in your setup, you might want to leave him some space and, except for some exceptions, play with "two right hands", after all, it's his job to play bass !
But I agree that, without a bass player, you want to have a heavy left hand.

As for the sus pedal, I'm unfortunately one of those who use it a bit too much, and I know I'll have to work on it...
I love threads like this. Lots of obsessive instrument collectors here just like me.
Trombones; tenor (small and large), bass, alto and flugabone.
My main horn which I studied is the tenor trombone.
Bb tuba
Played (but not owned) euphonium/baritone in the past.
Borrowed my wife's Trumpet/flugelhorn but haven't the trumpet chops for high register. Sold my French horn - horrid.
Digital piano and Hammond clone organ.
EWI 4000s
Tenor and baritone saxes in the last couple of years - improving.
In our ska/reggae band I usually take trombone, Bari sax and EWI.

My latest acquisition is an Eb contra-clarinet (a 60's paperclip style Leblanc). I think contra ALTO is a ridiculous name for it. It's currently being overhauled and I'm desperately looking forward to it like a kid waiting for Christmas presents.
When we correct the name of the bass clarinet (which should be called the tenor clarinet), we'll start worrying about the contra-alto...
Obviously we are all (hopefully) allowed to express our own opinions. I've been mulling over the above point (probably more than you intended) and with all due respect, I'm not convinced. I don't doubt that this subject has been discussed before but it does interest me. Please move my comment if it better belongs in a different thread.

Whilst the bass clarinet shares the same transposition as the tenor sax and obviously can be effectively played in tenor and higher vocal ranges, I see the bass clarinet as a primarily a bass or bass-baritone voice comparable to the cello, bassoon, baritone sax and bass trombone. All these instruments can and are played beautifully in the tenor range with many famous examples but it is not their primary orchestral function. No one defines idiomatic bassoon writing by the high register solo at the start of the Rite of Spring.

I suppose the difficulty arises from the large range of many of these instruments when compared to voices. I'm sure we can all name wind instruments that don't have universally agreed names such as treble/alto recorder. My flugabone or flugelbone can at a pinch be a bass trumpet or marketed as a 'marching (tenor) trombone' (although I always marched with the slide version back in the military band). Alto clarinets have at times historically been labelled tenor clarinets and the basset clarinet in A was labelled a 'bass clarinet' in Mozart's time. An Eb tuba has also been called a bombardon or an Eb or EEb bass. Worst of all Eb alto/tenor horns, Bb tenor/baritone horns and baritone horn/euphonium/bass saxhorn/tenor tubas which all merge into an incoherent linguistic mess outside of a local context. On vacation in Italy last summer, I noticed band concert posters describing a rotary 3 valve trombone as flicorno tenore and a Yamaha euphonium as flicorno baritono. It presumably works for them. Saxophones seem unusual in that the central core range or each member resembles the equivalent vocal range fairly closely.

Alto comes from the Italian and means high whether describing a mountain or a musical pitch. I tend to presume the word entered music terminology to described the highest natural adult male voice in church music. Women singing in their lower register with the high male altos therefore being described as contralto. The Eb alto clarinet in English is therefore sensibly called a contralto clarinet in Italy.

My new toy, my Leblanc Eb paperclip (since it has been repadded), has a lovely lower range right down to the written C, Eb concert, right down next to the (string) double bass's bottom E string. It's a pure joy to play it down there. With just a little more effort it can play much higher with written B in the stave sounding the same pitch as bottom E on the standard Bb clarinet. No one would suggest this alto register is it's main function. It is easy to understand how Leblanc (and others) took the analogy of the contra alto octaving the alto clarinet just as their contrabass octaves the bass clarinet. Contra alto clarinet still makes no sense musically or linguistically. It is not a very familiar instrument in my area and the word alto just seems confusing when used to describe its function; hence some written sources referring to it as an Eb contrabass. Perhaps another sensible alternative might be simply Eb contra clarinet, it chimes quite well with contra bassoon and other contra bass instruments yet avoids precisely duplicating the name, contrabass clarinet without suggesting its an alto clarinet.
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Love this thread!

My main is currently a Selmer Mark VI Tenor. Doubling on soprano, flute, and alto. Hoping to get back into clarinet soon, haven't played since junior high.
Major in college at Fredonia was trumpet. Now I play on a regular gig basis:
Piccalo Trumpet
Soprano Sax
Alto Sax
Tenor Sax
Bari Sax
Alto Flute
I mostly play alto sax and bass clarinet these days. I was primarily a Bari sax player for 30 years. Since I was was the only one in the section who could play piccolo I was tapped to play Stars and Stripes every July 4th, etc. Tough after playing Bari for 1.5 hours. Had good and bad days...

In addition to the normal saxes, flutes and clarinets, I occasionally gig on a Csop sax, WX7, WX5, Db Picc (old March arrangements), Bass Flute. I once also played flute, harmonica, and jaws harp in a Shenandoah pit orchestra.

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Time for an update on my 2008 post of gigging instruments

Clarinet - Eb, C, Bb, A, Bass
Percussion - Snare, drum set, timpani, bells, xylophone, marimba...
Strings - Violin, 5 string Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Mandolin,
Bass guitar - 4 string, 5 string, fretless 5 string, Ashbory, Hofner "Beatle bass"

(Red letters indicates the instrument is owned)
Gigging mostly on bass guitar and Clarinets these days, though I have a side project playing the 5 string violin which seems to be taking off nicely.
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Currently I double mostly on Bb, A, Eb, Alto, Bass Clarinet, and Tenor Sax because those are the instruments I own.
At University, doing the multiple woodwind program at the University of Toronto, I also doubled on bassoon, flute, oboe, bari sax, crumhorn (my one opportunity to play in the historical instrument ensemble).
Husband bought me a Xaphoon, having fun with that. Thinking of getting an EWI down the road - carry one instrument around and get 100s of sounds instead of lugging all those cases around.
Of course, my husband jokes he has all those instruments covered by the registers on his accordion: the first multi-woodwind instrument :) Not to make him feel left out from all the doubling attention I get, I gave him a whistle. haha!
Played the dumbek and also play the spoons for encores with my duo Acclarion. (I guess percussion instruments don't count).
Becky from www.acclarion.ca
Contrast to the amount of woodwinds I own, I'm really not doing so well in the doubling department compared to the rest of you! Lol

I've doubled on:


Pretty standard... Although right now I'm learning the oboe, and hope to join the community band, which I'd play with alongside playing the bassoon in the community orchestra.


College Student who likes wind instruments & music
I own/rent and play:
Eb, Bb, Bass Clarinets,
Alto, and Tenor Saxes

I have access to and would play:
Alto, Contrabass Clarinets,
and Baritone Saxophone

...I need to work on getting a double reed in that list.
Picc, flute and alto flute
Sop, alto and tenor saxes
Eb and Bb clarinet

I used to be a low reed player: bari, bassoon, bs clt and clarinet....sometimes flute....I decided to focus on high reeds...mainly, because it was too darn difficult to carry all them big horns to the gig. Playing Reed 1, I can fit the picc, flute and alto flute into a backpack (with a stand or two) and keep an alto in my hand, with soprano over the shoulder.

Since alto flute is so rare, I can fit the clarinet and oboe into the backpack.
I'm new to the forum. My main instrument is saxophone (sop/alto/tenor) but I can also double on piccolo/flute, clarinet, oboe and bassoon. Non standard doubles are penny whistle, Irish flute, uilleann pipes, and recorder (sop/alto/ten/bass). I just finished playing for a local community theater's music (Joseph) - the last time I played for a musical was over 30 years ago. I forgot how fun it was! I am hoping to play more in the future.