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Alto Clarinet

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  • Bobby Mac
    Just a wandering mindless thought. Why is the Alto clarinet regarded as the redheaded Stepchild of the clarinets. Seams Anytime it comes up there are not
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 6, 2009
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      Just a wandering mindless thought.

      Why is the Alto clarinet regarded as the "redheaded Stepchild" of the clarinets. Seams Anytime it comes up there are not really held in any regards. Why is that?

      Just wondering.

      Bobby M
    • bradleyhardin@rocketmail.com
      I have always wondered that myself. I will be interested to see what responses you receive to this post. I sat next the the alto clarinet in the college
      Message 2 of 8 , Aug 6, 2009
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        I have always wondered that myself. I will be interested to see what responses you receive to this post. I sat next the the alto clarinet in the college concert band, and I thought the sound was great, and added a real nice voice to the band.
      • Donna Higgins
        ... I wonder too. I m playing alto in a band that does a lot of newer music, and half the time there isn t even any part for the alto clarinet. I m stuck
        Message 3 of 8 , Aug 6, 2009
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          Bobby Mac wrote:
          > Just a wandering mindless thought.
          >
          > Why is the Alto clarinet regarded as the "redheaded Stepchild" of the clarinets. Seams Anytime it comes up there are not really held in any regards. Why is that?
          >
          > Just wondering.

          I wonder too. I'm playing alto in a band that does a lot of newer
          music, and half the time there isn't even any part for the alto
          clarinet. I'm stuck playing 2nd alto sax (or I'll switch to Eb, if
          there's a part and the director wants it played).

          I guess it's a chicken-and-egg problem. Composers assume the alto is so
          obscure that most groups playing their pieces won't have one, so they
          don't write for it. But playing alto clarinet would be a more
          attractive prospect if there were more interesting parts to play.

          Donna
          --
          www.flickr.com/photos/bassclarinetist
        • Jbtinthegop@aol.com
          I agree, it does seem a bit odd.? I have a nice alto that didn t cost nearly as much as my bass and it has been a delight to play with a couple of soprano
          Message 4 of 8 , Aug 7, 2009
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            I agree, it does seem a bit odd.  I have a nice alto that didn't cost nearly as much as my bass and it has been a delight to play with a couple of soprano clarinets in church.

            John

          • Dave
            I love my Vito Alto Clarinet, I play it in our community band, it has such a nice tone and good intonation too.   I ve always wondered why this clarinet has
            Message 5 of 8 , Aug 7, 2009
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              I love my Vito Alto Clarinet, I play it in our community band, it has such a nice tone and good intonation too.
                I've always wondered why this clarinet has been so neglected, even by some modern day composers. Maybe that will change. lol
               
              Dave
               
               
               

              --- On Fri, 8/7/09, Jbtinthegop@... <Jbtinthegop@...> wrote:

              From: Jbtinthegop@... <Jbtinthegop@...>
              Subject: [NewBassClarinetGroup] Re:Alto Clarinet
              To: NewBassClarinetGroup@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Friday, August 7, 2009, 8:16 AM

               
              I agree, it does seem a bit odd.  I have a nice alto that didn't cost nearly as much as my bass and it has been a delight to play with a couple of soprano clarinets in church.

              John

            • John Centenaro
              ... I think that one of the main reasons why it is considered a stepchild is that it is so rare to find a decent instrument. Most alto clarinets that you see
              Message 6 of 8 , Aug 7, 2009
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                --- In NewBassClarinetGroup@yahoogroups.com, "Bobby Mac" <bmcclel@...> wrote:
                >
                > Just a wandering mindless thought.
                >
                > Why is the Alto clarinet regarded as the "redheaded Stepchild" of the clarinets. Seams Anytime it comes up there are not really held in any regards. Why is that?
                >
                > Just wondering.
                >
                > Bobby M
                >

                I think that one of the main reasons why it is considered a "stepchild" is that it is so rare to find a decent instrument. Most alto clarinets that you see are plastic student horns or cheap wooden models that play out of tune and have a dull, uninteresting tone. I had the opportunity to play the basset horn part in Strauss's "Happy Workshop" Symphony for Winds in Eb a number of years ago on a brand-new buffet alto clarinet that I was able to borrow from a school and it was a total revelation. It played beautifully in tune, and had a rich vibrant tone color that was just about indistinguishable from a wide-bore basset horn.

                It really is a pity to see the alto clarinet sidelined by so many contemporary composers as it really is a unique voice in the concert band that provides a very nice link between the soprano and bass clarinets. I also love to hear it in a clarinet quartet, especially when playing string quartet transcriptions, as it serves as a perfect analog to the viola in its range and especially in its tone color. I think its place is still secure in clarinet choir music, but unfortunately I don't think that will be enough to prevent it from sinking further into obscurity.

                John Centenato
              • Bobby Mac
                I happen to own an older Conn alto clarinet. I do not get to play it with the community band and volunteer bands that I play with I mainly play Bass clarinet
                Message 7 of 8 , Aug 7, 2009
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                  I happen to own an older Conn alto clarinet. I do not get to play it with the community band and volunteer bands that I play with I mainly play Bass clarinet and Eb Alto clarinet. Our band does have an alto clarinet player. That is her primary instrument. "most" of the time we are lucky to have alto clarinet parts for her to play but occasionally she does have to play sax parts.




                  --- In NewBassClarinetGroup@yahoogroups.com, Dave <harper_d@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I love my Vito Alto Clarinet, I play it in our community band, it has such a nice tone and good intonation too.
                  >   I've always wondered why this clarinet has been so neglected, even by some modern day composers. Maybe that will change. lol
                  >  
                  > Dave
                  >  
                  >  
                  >  
                  >
                  > --- On Fri, 8/7/09, Jbtinthegop@... <Jbtinthegop@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > From: Jbtinthegop@... <Jbtinthegop@...>
                  > Subject: [NewBassClarinetGroup] Re:Alto Clarinet
                  > To: NewBassClarinetGroup@yahoogroups.com
                  > Date: Friday, August 7, 2009, 8:16 AM
                  >
                  >
                  >  
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > I agree, it does seem a bit odd.  I have a nice alto that didn't cost nearly as much as my bass and it has been a delight to play with a couple of soprano clarinets in church.
                  >
                  > John
                  >
                • Dave
                  I was curious (and bored) so I counted the music in my band folder right now, I have 59 pieces,  only 16 are NOT Alto Clarinet parts. The major pieces we ve
                  Message 8 of 8 , Aug 7, 2009
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                    I was curious (and bored) so I counted the music in my band folder right now, I have 59 pieces,  only 16 are NOT Alto Clarinet parts. The major pieces we've played all do have the Alto part but most the marches seem to be Sax or Eb clarinet parts.
                     
                    Dave
                     
                     
                     
                     

                    --- On Fri, 8/7/09, Bobby Mac <bmcclel@...> wrote:

                    From: Bobby Mac <bmcclel@...>
                    Subject: [NewBassClarinetGroup] Re:Alto Clarinet
                    To: NewBassClarinetGroup@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Friday, August 7, 2009, 6:16 PM

                     
                    I happen to own an older Conn alto clarinet. I do not get to play it with the community band and volunteer bands that I play with I mainly play Bass clarinet and Eb Alto clarinet. Our band does have an alto clarinet player. That is her primary instrument. "most" of the time we are lucky to have alto clarinet parts for her to play but occasionally she does have to play sax parts.

                    --- In NewBassClarinetGrou p@yahoogroups. com, Dave <harper_d@.. .> wrote:
                    >
                    > I love my Vito Alto Clarinet, I play it in our community band, it has such a nice tone and good intonation too.
                    >   I've always wondered why this clarinet has been so neglected, even by some modern day composers. Maybe that will change. lol
                    >  
                    > Dave
                    >  
                    >  
                    >  
                    >
                    > --- On Fri, 8/7/09, Jbtinthegop@ ... <Jbtinthegop@ ...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > From: Jbtinthegop@ ... <Jbtinthegop@ ...>
                    > Subject: [NewBassClarinetGro up] Re:Alto Clarinet
                    > To: NewBassClarinetGrou p@yahoogroups. com
                    > Date: Friday, August 7, 2009, 8:16 AM
                    >
                    >
                    >  
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > I agree, it does seem a bit odd.  I have a nice alto that didn't cost nearly as much as my bass and it has been a delight to play with a couple of soprano clarinets in church.
                    >
                    > John
                    >

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