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Contrabass saxophone

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dronrolelb The contrabass saxophone is the second lowest-pitched member of the saxophone family (the lowest being the BBB♭ subcontrabass tubax, although the tubax is not technically a member of the saxophone family due to its narrower bore). It is extremely large (twice the length of tubing of the baritone saxophone, with a bore twice as wide, standing 6 feet four inches tall, or 1.9 meters) and heavy (approximately 45 pounds, or 20.4 kilograms), and is pitched in the key of EE♭, one octave below the baritone. Approximately 15 examples of this instrument exist in the world today, most of which were manufactured by Evette or Conn during the saxophone craze of the 1920s.


[edit] Modern instruments

Although the instrument is still produced, it is quite rare (perhaps partly due to its great expense); only three manufacturers produce it (a partnership between Orsi and L.A. Sax, and instrument manufacturing company Benedikt Eppelsheim of Munich, Germany.

[edit] Use

Especially in its lowest register, the instrument produces a massive and somewhat harsh, foghorn-like tone. Because of its extremely low register (like the contrabassoon), it can be difficult for listeners to perceive individual pitches; instead of hearing a clearly defined melody, listeners may instead hear a series of "buzzy" tones with little pitch definition.

[edit] Use in classical music

There are few classical works that call specifically for the contrabass saxophone, and even fewer that feature it as a solo instrument. Its use is generally restricted to large ensembles of saxophones. As an example, the eminent saxophonist Sigurd Raschèr (1907-2001) played the instrument in his Raschèr Saxophone Ensemble.

[edit] Performers

The contrabass saxophone has more frequently been used as a solo instrument by woodwind players in the genres of jazz and improvised music who are searching for an extreme or otherworldly tone. The difficulty of holding and controlling the instrument (let alone playing it) makes performing on the instrument a somewhat theatrical experience in and of itself. Playing is difficult too; it takes an enormous amount of air to sound notes in the low register.

Very few players make use of the instrument. Players who do include Anthony Braxton, Paul Cohen, Jay C. Easton, Blaise Garza, Robert J. Verdi, Thomas K. J. Mejer, Scott Robinson, Klaas Hekman, Daniel Gordon, and Daniel Kientzy. It is used by a few saxophone ensembles including the Raschèr Saxophone Orchestra Lörrach[1] and the Nuclear Whales Saxophone Orchestra[[2].

[edit] External links

[edit] Listening

for contrabass saxophone and piano, performed by Jay C. Easton

This article was started using a Wikipedia saxophone article
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