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Tunes spanning a ninth

Jack Campin 27 Feb 11 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,Grishka 28 Feb 11 - 04:13 AM
Will Fly 28 Feb 11 - 04:16 AM
GUEST,Grishka 28 Feb 11 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Grishka 28 Feb 11 - 09:40 AM
Jack Campin 28 Feb 11 - 02:59 PM
Tootler 28 Feb 11 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,Grishka 01 Mar 11 - 06:35 AM
Jack Campin 01 Mar 11 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,Grishka 01 Mar 11 - 09:49 AM
Jack Campin 03 Mar 11 - 07:35 PM
Lox 03 Mar 11 - 07:46 PM
John P 04 Mar 11 - 06:12 PM
Jack Campin 04 Mar 11 - 07:46 PM
Stringsinger 05 Mar 11 - 12:33 PM
Tootler 06 Mar 11 - 11:22 AM
Jack Campin 09 Mar 11 - 03:51 PM
Jack Campin 23 Mar 11 - 09:55 PM
Jack Campin 02 May 11 - 08:09 PM
Jack Campin 08 May 12 - 01:28 PM
Jack Campin 04 Mar 13 - 09:18 PM
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Subject: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Feb 11 - 08:09 PM

I'm putting together a collection of tunes to play on the SANS chalumeau. This has a nine-note basic scale, but not like that of the Highland pipe - it's a major scale with a tone added at the top, not a mixolydian scale with a tone added at the bottom.

It isn't immediately obvious what you can play on such an instrument, so I've started assembling a collection for it. There are other instruments with a similar compass and similar chromatic possibilities.

This is a start. I expect to end up with between 200 and 500 tunes eventually.

http://www.campin.me.uk/Music/Chalumeau.abc

Comments? Requests?


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 28 Feb 11 - 04:13 AM

There are certainly people who welcome your effort and are likely to profit from it. Note however that the instrument in question is essentially a G clarinet (as used in 19th century Vienna folklore under the name "Piksüßes Hölzl"). I never had one in my mouth, but the maker claims it to be capable of more than two chromatic octaves, though some notes are bound to sound a bit strange and to be difficult. Intonation is certainly a challenge.


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Feb 11 - 04:16 AM

Not knowing the instrument, I popped over to YouTube to have a listen to some recordings of it. It has a very appealing sound.

Thanks for abc files, Jack - it's always interesting to see collections of material off one's own beaten track!


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 28 Feb 11 - 08:47 AM

Certainly a type of instrument worth noticing.

The point at SANS seems the following: they offer a version without keys for € 78, which covers that ninth, beyond which there is a gap, since clarinets overblow to the twelfth. The instrument with three keys covers this gap but costs € 295. For this price you can get a decent clarinet, of synthetic material, but vastly superior in terms of intonation, range, homogenity, and ease of playing.

As a cheap makeshift for potential clarinetists (in particula kids prone to break things), only the version without keys makes sense. Players who appreciate a folkloristic touch have to choose from a variety of instruments in various degrees of "authenticity". In my opinion that "chalumeau" is no more folkloristic or historic than the ordinary clarinet.

This said, I agree with Will.


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 28 Feb 11 - 09:40 AM

The SANS "Clariphone" costs € 80 and covers the gap without keys. Since it assigns a proper hole to the left little finger, it is incompatible with brains trained on other woodwinds, and vice versa. An interesting compromise.

Back to the tunes:
A good argument in favour of that ninth is that it coincides with the range common to most human voices. Most songs will qualify, if the criterion is loosened to "Almost no half-holing required", as Jack puts it in his ABC file.

Anyway, a good collection of playable tunes hardly goes amiss. Good idea! Tell us about your experiences.


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Feb 11 - 02:59 PM

The same basic instrument is made all over Europe for the education market, under several different names. Hohner (or Hameln) "pocket clarinet", Hanson "chalumeau", the Tianjin Joyin "mini clarinet", "clarineau" by a maker whose name I forget. There are also versions of the duduk and mey made in Turkey which are fitted with clarinet mouthpieces, which gives a similar result. Somewhat more distantly related is the "xaphoon", though that's conical bore like a sax.

I have a Turkish G clarinet (an octave lower) with Albert-system keywork, and don't see the chalumeau as an approximation to it. The idea of the chalumeau is that (thanks to the absence of keywork) it's very responsive, and also has a useful dramatic effect, as nobody expects something that small to produce such a big low-pitched sound. So it doesn't really matter that you can't overblow it. This is a good use of it that way:

Marta Sebestyen: Betlehem, Betlehem


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Tootler
Date: 28 Feb 11 - 06:14 PM

I see you already have some Northumbrian tunes. Much of the Northumbrian pipe repertoire -certainly the old tunes - is within one octave as the keyless chanter spans an octave - G to G written though sounding [sharpish*] F to F, though many of the traditional Northumbrian tunes are modal. I have a few on my computer upstairs. I'll look some out for you.

* Traditionally the Northumbrian pipes are pitched 20 cents sharp of F though pipers now often have sets with G chanters to make it easier to play with others.


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 01 Mar 11 - 06:35 AM

Jack, right you are, except for a small detail: you can overblow almost all chalumeaux, real or so-called, to the twelfth, but some leave a gap. Additional holes, close to the mouthpiece, will normally produce notes of inferior quality and stability of intonation, plus problems of fingering. Modern clarinets are miracles of evolution, and never lost touch with folk music.

(Also, I doubt that the absence of keywork renders an instrument more "responsive".)


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Mar 11 - 07:04 AM

Overblowing the SANS instrument produces a sound like the last words of a pig in a slaughterhouse. It isn't a musically effective option, at least not on mine. I find it works better just to go with what seems to be the basic character of the instrument and use a rather soft reed which makes overblowing even less feasible.

Notes start and stop a lot quicker on the chalumeau than they do on my Turkish G clarinet (or any other clarinet I've played). It's like a bagpipe chanter - you can make much more complex gracenote combinations clearly audible.


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 01 Mar 11 - 09:49 AM

Shorter instruments, wider bores and a softer reeds generally make for easier response, at the expense of intonation and quality of sound. Heavier reeds take more training for quick response, but will eventually produce better sounds. Watch those UTubers overblowing. The nut at the reed matters a lot ;-).


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 07:35 PM

Up to 124 tunes now.


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Lox
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 07:46 PM

Awesome - what a commendable bit of research.


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: John P
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 06:12 PM

Kelishek Workshop has a series of 11 books with tunes for nine-note instruments, called Nine is Fine


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 07:46 PM

The Kelischek books are for quartets - mine are almost all single-line melodies. Good luck to him but he isn't somebody I'd want to deal with.

I haven't found as much Irish music as I'd like. And the jazz pieces were more or less fluke (I'd like more). Suitable Eastern European tunes are a lot easier to track down.

Currently trawling through 17th century Dutch music...


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Stringsinger
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 12:33 PM

If you explore the repertoire of the Anglo-American balladry from the singing of Texas Gladden, Horton Barker and Almeda Riddle, you will find traditional ballad variants
that span a ninth. Many folk songs have been condensed to fit smaller ranges from the singing of traditional folksingers.

This is true of the Afro-American tradition too. Check out Iron Head Baker and the chain gang songs collected by Lomax at Angola and Sugarland Penitentiaries. Songs and chants such as "Go Down Old Hannah".


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Tootler
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 11:22 AM

Jack,

Try to get hold of a copy of "Piping Hot". It is a collection of tunes for Northumbrian pipes with keyless chanter so all the tunes span an octave G - g. (Well not quite. In a few cases it is the harmony part that stays within the octave.)

The collection was produced by Jane Robson in aid of cancer research in 1998. I got my copy from the Chantry Bagpipe Museum at Morpeth some years ago so I don't know if it's still in print.

I suspect you will know many but there may well be a few that are new to you.

The ISBN is 0 9523415 1 4 if that's any help.


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Mar 11 - 03:51 PM

Up to 164 now.

Latest addition being a few Catalan instrumental tunes which sound very much like English morris tunes. I'm pleased that so many klezmer tunes work.

I'll post again when I get to 250.


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Mar 11 - 09:55 PM

Got to 200 now.

It occurred to me that it might be an idea to have a session (or a few) based around this material in Whitby. Anybody here up for it?


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 May 11 - 08:09 PM

Now 251.

Repeat, anybody interested in getting together to play some of this stuff during Whitby Folk Week?


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 May 12 - 01:28 PM

A year on, and I've got to 400 tunes.


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Subject: RE: Tunes spanning a ninth
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Mar 13 - 09:18 PM

Over 500 now.


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