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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In 1928-29 Rollini wrote a nine-part series of short articles, and the are very good. He not only writes about horns and mouthpieces, but also about sound and performance. These are wonderful, and have lots of info I had never seen. They are posted on
http://www.modernbarisax.com/,
Which has lots of other good low-sax stuff too.

Rob
 

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Great find!
 

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Thanks for sharing this!
I disagree with Rollini on saying that "The range of the Bass Saxophone is decidedly larger than for the uses that it can be put."
I think that if they were more common, people would probably write/transpose more works for them. (and then they would be more common as a result.)
That advertisement mentioning the wood Selmer mpcs is interesting, also.
(I'm going to chose to ignore his comments on high E and F "complicating" the mechanism)
Also, has anyone ever seen a metal bass sax mouthpiece as he mentions?
His writing in Bass Clef is somewhat annoying for me, but it's still a good series of articles.
 

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Excellent stuff, enjoyed very much reading it. I particularly like his argument for why the bass-sax is better than the Sousaphone and the string bass. :) Many other good tips there as well, and some nice written-out characteristic bass-sax breaks. In the article on soloing, he mentions a written solo on the tune "You are the cream in my coffee", which was supposed to be on page 887, but unfortunately it seems it is not attached. Would have loved to see that one.
Thanks
Bjorn
 

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Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the thanks guys! These nine articles are a treasure, but the real credit for discovering them goes to the modernbarisax blogger - who IS that? Must be one of us here??

And BTW I have an altissimo fingering chart, developed by a better player than me, for my old Keilwerth bass - I'll upload a scan of that next time I see it.
 

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Fantastic. Might have been written yesterday afternoon.
J
 

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I read these in detail for the first time today. Rollini makes a pretty good case why dance bands should use bass sax rather than tuba or string bass. Of course, he was biased.

But -

I can't say his arguments are necessarily wrong. So, why was the bass sax completely absent from the rhythm section, in favor of the string bass, after the 20s or maybe the early 30s? String bass players struggled for decades to be heard, having to set up their instruments with very high actions, and play in ways that limited facility, until practical amplification became available. Why did no one use bass sax in the rhythm section instead? Of course the bass sax is expensive, but was the string bass really that much cheaper?

It just kind of makes you think - what if an alternate history had occurred where the bass sax was the preferred instrument in the rhythm section, how would jazz have developed differently? I'm not a rhythm section history person, so I honestly don't have any ideas.
 

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I read these in detail for the first time today. Rollini makes a pretty good case why dance bands should use bass sax rather than tuba or string bass. Of course, he was biased.

But -

I can't say his arguments are necessarily wrong. So, why was the bass sax completely absent from the rhythm section, in favor of the string bass, after the 20s or maybe the early 30s? String bass players struggled for decades to be heard, having to set up their instruments with very high actions, and play in ways that limited facility, until practical amplification became available. Why did no one use bass sax in the rhythm section instead? Of course the bass sax is expensive, but was the string bass really that much cheaper?

It just kind of makes you think - what if an alternate history had occurred where the bass sax was the preferred instrument in the rhythm section, how would jazz have developed differently? I'm not a rhythm section history person, so I honestly don't have any ideas.
I think it died because bass lines eventually went from two to the bar to a walking four. Unless you're into circular breathing you're going to have to break that walking line at some point. I'm a drummer primarily, and have both played and studied early jazz. Some bassists started walking while the drummer kept two to the bar on the bass drum, while sometimes it was the other way around! But by the time Swing was happening the bass, bass drum, and rhythm guitar comping was all four to the bar. Nice and smooth, as some would say, and not that old-fashioned 2-beat.

That said, I too would've loved if the bass sax had continued!
 

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New bass owner here reviving this thread. Rollini articles were fascinating. I'm actually taking his advice on transposition and attempting to re-learn the sax fingerings in concert key, i.e., think of a fingered D as a C. That way when I read a C on a bass clef chart, I'll finger D, ultimately without doing any mental transposition or key signature shifting. Luckily I can already read bass clef fairly well, so that's half the battle. Hopefully, I'll be able to switch in and out of concert fingering mode without too much confusion.

My other options would be to transpose every single note (and the key signature) up a whole step on the fly as well as deal with transposing accidentals, or to learn a new clef (Mezzo-Soprano clef). But I think Rollini's method is going to be the least effort overall.

I'd be interested to hear how others approach sight reading tuba parts and the like.
 

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