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Author Topic: Saxonette?  (Read 133 times)

Offline LarryS

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Saxonette?
« on: June 29, 2021, 04:56:21 PM »
I was browsing Wikipedia about clarinets and I found a link to a video of Alphonse Pichou playing the rare Saxonette, basically a Bb clarinet with upturned bell.

https://youtu.be/_ftr_knt4D8
« Last Edit: June 29, 2021, 04:57:53 PM by LarryS »
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Saxonette?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2021, 10:59:08 AM »
Yet another example of utterly useless but absolutely interesting.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Saxonette?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2021, 11:00:19 AM »
I never agreed with the term, saxonette, which implies that it's at all related to a saxophone.

It's Albert system, which I guess is sort of saxophone-ish, but that's where the relation ends.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States

Offline PipeTobacco

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Re: Saxonette?
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2021, 09:35:26 AM »
Very interesting!!!!  I am kind of assuming the little bell was used to try to have improved outward direction of the sound.  It makes me wonder if it was just an alternative bell and there was a straight one as well with the instrument?

I also enjoy the old footage itself! 

PipeTobacco

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Saxonette?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2021, 09:13:47 PM »
Very interesting!!!!  I am kind of assuming the little bell was used to try to have improved outward direction of the sound.  It makes me wonder if it was just an alternative bell and there was a straight one as well with the instrument?

I also enjoy the old footage itself! 

PipeTobacco

I'm certain it was a gimmick. There's realistically no evidence that an upturned bell on a small instrument with lots of open holes has any appreciable impact on projection.

With altos and bass, sure, but with a soprano? No way.

The saxonette also had a special metal curved neck (in some cases) which was also entirely useless, except for the tonal qualities that come from a metal vs plastic or wood barrel.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States

Offline Dibbs

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Re: Saxonette?
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2021, 04:24:32 AM »
It makes it easier to mic.

Offline PipeTobacco

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Re: Saxonette?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2021, 02:54:05 PM »
David:

I am not trying to be provocative.... this is a true question:

If the upturned bell is “ok” and the metal neck is “ok” for an alto clarinet.... which is short ENOUGH for it to be workable straight instead of curved (I believe there are examples of this)..... would it really be useless to have a curved soprano just for convenience if someone liked it?  Or, is there something about the curves and metal that make the sound WORSE? 

I am not knowledgeable enough to answer..... just thinking that the video’s instrument looks like an alto or bass clarinet just in a smaller (soprano) form.  To me, with there being both straight and curved saprano saxophones that both are well liked..... why not for a
clarinet? 

Offline PipeTobacco

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Re: Saxonette?
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2021, 04:03:04 PM »
So.... here is an interesting image from a New Orleans museum of Mr. Piacou’s instrument and they call it an alto clarinet?!? 

It sure looks like a soprano Albert system clarinet to me.  Things seem a bit mysterious.... it would be surprising a museum would err so on a display.  So..... what to think? 

PipeTobacco

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Saxonette?
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2021, 11:06:15 PM »
David:

I am not trying to be provocative.... this is a true question:

If the upturned bell is “ok” and the metal neck is “ok” for an alto clarinet.... which is short ENOUGH for it to be workable straight instead of curved (I believe there are examples of this)..... would it really be useless to have a curved soprano just for convenience if someone liked it?  Or, is there something about the curves and metal that make the sound WORSE? 

I am not knowledgeable enough to answer..... just thinking that the video’s instrument looks like an alto or bass clarinet just in a smaller (soprano) form.  To me, with there being both straight and curved saprano saxophones that both are well liked..... why not for a
clarinet?

No reason not to, I guess. They even make straight baritone saxophones - but WHY is the main question.

They make straight bass clarinet bells too - WHY?

Personal preference is fine, but WHY
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States