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Author Topic: Alto clarinet: the reason for it's lack of favor, or perspective gone awry?  (Read 618 times)

Offline Lisa

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Re: Alto clarinet: the reason for it's lack of favor, or perspective gone awry?
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2017, 06:25:18 PM »
I emailed Dr Wolbers with some alto clarinet questions a while ago, he was very nice.  He teaches up in Alaska.  I agree, what kind of jerk gave him a thumbs down??

Lisa
Lisa  Upper Michigan

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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Alto clarinet: the reason for it's lack of favor, or perspective gone awry?
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2017, 03:14:14 PM »
What I am noticing in addition to the flawless performance is his end pin. I think this is essential. With my alto if it barely moves, it blows my embouchure and chirps. Keeping it still is essential to controlling the register, well for me. I'm used to the pin on my bass.
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Offline Lisa

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Re: Alto clarinet: the reason for it's lack of favor, or perspective gone awry?
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2017, 04:36:07 PM »
What I am noticing in addition to the flawless performance is his end pin. I think this is essential. With my alto if it barely moves, it blows my embouchure and chirps. Keeping it still is essential to controlling the register, well for me. I'm used to the pin on my bass.
I tried marching with an alto .... Once.  I found it almost impossible not to squeak and squank.  I also didn't like playing one with a neck strap seated for the same reason, I was used to an end pin with bass.
Lisa  Upper Michigan

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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Alto clarinet: the reason for it's lack of favor, or perspective gone awry?
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2017, 06:49:02 PM »
What I am noticing in addition to the flawless performance is his end pin. I think this is essential. With my alto if it barely moves, it blows my embouchure and chirps. Keeping it still is essential to controlling the register, well for me. I'm used to the pin on my bass.
I tried marching with an alto .... Once.  I found it almost impossible not to squeak and squank.  I also didn't like playing one with a neck strap seated for the same reason, I was used to an end pin with bass.
I used to march bass without a neckstrap... LOL
I too do not like the way the alto handles. It is just a little odd for me especially with the weird neck angle. For that reason I like the LeBlanc altos a lot better.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline Lisa

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Re: Alto clarinet: the reason for it's lack of favor, or perspective gone awry?
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2017, 07:21:57 PM »
I'm sure not to everyone's taste, but i like them.  It's  combination I'd never put together, cosmic sounding hang drum and alto.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WBaIsZsuHBE
Lisa  Upper Michigan

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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Alto clarinet: the reason for it's lack of favor, or perspective gone awry?
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2017, 09:02:33 PM »
I LOVE the alto. I got two old school Vito altos hoping to get one working (one was broken in half). Now Iím stuck with TWO that play well   :-))

As always, MP is key. I have two old hard-rubber original Vito MP (FRANCE 2V, attributed to Riffault) ó same as I love for Bb and C clarinets. The first one I got from Vytas Krass. He sells nicely refined Riffaults. One of the horns in particular has a soulful sound around the break, reminiscent of baritone sax. I found the holding angle hard on my right wrist. I removed the thumb hook and cut in a deep indentation to form a negative thumb rest. Now it fits me real fine. Great for jazz, birthday parties, and more, yet to explore.

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Offline andybeals

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I think that my LeBlanc alto came with an end pin holder on it.  I had one affixed to my other three altos.  (Long story, covered elsewhere.)  I've played the Noblet without an end pin or a neck strap because I forgot my stands and end pin (it doesn't fit in the case so it travels with the stands), and I can't recommend it. 

Mouthpiece-wise, my low clarinet tech recommended the JD Hite mouthpiece for my first alto.  I've been playing on one ever since.  Inexpensive and it sounds good.  My hat is off to them.

The Linton has a socket that's too small to accept the Hite, so I use an ancient Noblet piece on it rather than turning down the tenon on a Hite to fit it. 



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Offline Lisa

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Good to know about the Hite.  Iíll keep that in mind if i ever find an alto i like.  I almost bid on a vintage wooden  Conn a while back, it was two piece and open hole as i wanted, but it didnít have the low Eb, only E, though i wonder if i would truly miss the Eb, as it probably would be for my own enjoyment.  I have been advised to not get an alto unless it has the Eb by various people i have asked, though iím Not sure if its because the note would be missed, or that it seems the instruments missing that key are possibly of a lesser quality.
Lisa
Lisa  Upper Michigan

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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Good to know about the Hite.  Iíll keep that in mind if i ever find an alto i like.  I almost bid on a vintage wooden  Conn a while back, it was two piece and open hole as i wanted, but it didnít have the low Eb, only E, though i wonder if i would truly miss the Eb, as it probably would be for my own enjoyment.  I have been advised to not get an alto unless it has the Eb by various people i have asked, though iím Not sure if its because the note would be missed, or that it seems the instruments missing that key are possibly of a lesser quality.
Lisa
Honestly probably not. In terms of how common the low Eb is on both bass and alto, the answer is "not very"
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Offline andybeals

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Low E-flat instruments are newer, generally.  The low E-flat called for in the literature?  Not very often - but it appears more often in newer pieces.  The newest ones often call for the low D in runs (steps) down, but don't often ask for the C, and I've never seen the C-sharp. 
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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By the time one has a $15,000 low-C extended bass clarinet, they probably already have a contra too!
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline windydankoff

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For my Vito alto, I tried a Hite, but wasn't satisfied. I get great sound now with a vintage hard rubber Vito MP labeled FRANCE 2V. I bought 1 on eBay and another from Vytas Krass. They are both fine.

The low Eb: I read somebody saying that having it there improves 1 or more other notes.
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Offline andybeals

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The low E ó I've heard that's the reason for the bell extensions some people favor on the eefer as they give them a little extra length (who wouldn't mind a little extra length?) - and they're un-necessary on a full-Boehm eefer.  (Terry L. Stibal aka "SOTSDO" on Sax on the Web has a FB Selmer 10S in E♭.)

I've decided to perform with the Linton alto on the 29th, unless it kicks up a fuss at rehearsal tonight.  The one part we have for it in the Star Trek theme medley isn't playing with the bass, so the close blending of the Noblet alto with my sometimes-standmate's Noblet bass isn't needed.

There are also alto parts in Variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Three Negro Dances, but the former is difficult enough in the bass part and the latter's alto part is a slightly simplified version of the effer's part.  I play bass on both, much to my standmate's relief. 
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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The benefit of the low Eb probably lies in the fact that it's longer and has that extra open hole. Some clarinets need an extra open hole on the bottom, which is why sometimes you see people drilling a hole in the bell.
So I guess in conclusion, the low Eb is not very commonly used in music but it helps the chalumeau register stay in tune, regardless of the usefulness of the actual key.
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Offline Silversorcerer

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If It's there (low Eb), I'll find a use for it. It works very well as the fundamental in an EbM arpeggio.
- Silversorcerer (David Powell) exclusively for Phil's original ďThe Clarinet Pages" forum