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Very Rare Instruments
I've heard about a piano that can play some notes lower than it's original lowest notes. What about Oboes? There's the concert oboe in C, then the English Horn, Then the rare bass oboe. Is there such thing as a "Piccolo Oboe"? I've heard it from somewhere.

Trombones too, there's the alto, tenor, bass, contrabass but is there such thing as "Soprano Trombone"?

I just really want to know wether the instruments hilighted red really exist.

P.S. If you find anymore very rare instruments, reply me. (Instrument's transposition required to please).

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #1
G'day Kristopher,
dunno 'bout the other instruments, but I actually own a Soprano Trombone.  It's a cheap one from Jupiter but works OK.  As for pitch range etc, it's identical to a Bb Trumpet.

Thein Brothers make a wide range of Trombones, from Contrabass in BBb to piccolo in high Bb (an octave above the trumpet)
http://www.thein-brass.de/index_en.php
Go to the instruments link and select trombones


<edits in italics>
  • Last Edit: 2008-09-18 01:34 pm by Lawrie Pardy
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #2
I've never heard of a piccolo oboe - it would be a pretty shrill instrument and wouldn't speak very well unless it also had a tiny reed, which could create problems of it's own. I've done a quick check of my library of orchestration books and histories of woodwinds, as well as general musical reference works, and find no reference to anything smaller than the standard oboe. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, of course, only that if it does exist than it must be very rare indeed.

But your quick rundown of the oboe family did miss one of my favorites - the heckelphone. That's essentially a bass English horn. Same range as the bass oboe, but with the rounded English horn bell.

Cheers,

Bill

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #3
Registered user since 1996

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #4
Wikipedia to the rescue again. Thanks, Rick.

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #5
I've actually heard about the heckelphones, But is there a difference in Transposition or sound compared with the Bass Oboe?


Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #6
Same range. The heckelphone has a slightly smoother, warmer sound - at least to my ear.

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #7
I'm a little bit confused with the Bass Trumpet's Transposition. Is it in Eb, or F or something?

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #8
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #9
I also have soprano trombone; made by Getzen.
Carl Bangs
Fenwick Parva Press
Registered user since 1995

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #10
A couple of web-sites to look at:

http://www.oddmusic.com/gallery/

and:

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/List_of_woodwind_instruments

The later is only woodwinds, but I'm trying to figure out the site it came from.  Note that it has a picture of a piccolo Oboe.

Finally, don't skip Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_musical_instruments

Cyril N. Alberga


Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #11
There are also other (perhaps very strange) instruments not listed in the Wikipedia link.

As a bass player I am drawn to the Octobass and the even larger Grand Bass

My son (a tuba player) perhaps more to the Giant Tuba

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #12
Very interesting links. Anymore rare instruments?

I'm more interested in rare-woodwinds and brass instruments

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #13
http://www.jayeaston.com/galleries/Unusual_instruments/Unusual_p_eeferContra.html

Explore this guy's site a bit.  He has another page of wierd instruments.


Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #14
I had a helicon which I purchased and sold on EBAY. I also have 3 natural horns from about 1700. Even more unusual are 2 sets of bells from China. The seller claimed they were from the Ching Dynasty and the Warrng States era. I'm skeptical, but they make interesting sounds.
Carl Bangs
Fenwick Parva Press
Registered user since 1995

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #15
Just to add to the confusion, some instruments have more than one name.  For instance, the soprano trombone is the same thing as the slide trumpet.  They are both keyed in Bb, have the same range as the regular trumpet, etc.  Interestingly, trombone purists do not claim the instrument - and it is not traditionally used in trombone choirs.

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #16
...and to add a little more confusion, there is also a valve trombone - which is actually a large trumpet....

Bill

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #17
Quote
there is also a valve trombone

As I wrote in another thread, I recently had to play with a jazz trombonist.
His trombone is considered non-trasposing and has both coulisse and valves.

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #18
"coulisse" ?  I assume this means "slide"?

Many trombones have an "F" attachment that is operated by a valve, but they are still "slide" trombones.  The single valve adds the same amount of tubing as moving the slide to the 6th position (equivalent to 1st and 3rd valves).  A normal tenor trombone is a Bb instrument, the attachment makes it a Bb & F trombone.  Most modern bass trombones are in Bb and have 2 attachments.  The second attachment is often user selectable but is commonly in D or Eb and can be both dependent OR independant on the 1st attachment being operated - usually buyers choice.

The valve trombone on the other hand does not have a slide.  As Bill said, it is more a large trumpet.

In Jazz and orchestral work the trombone is considered a non transposing instrument and scored in concert bass clef.  For British heritage brass bands (like the one I first learned 'bone in here in Australia) it is considered a transposing instrument and commonly scored in transposed treble clef.  Note that this isn't always the case though.  I have seen brass band music for 'bone in concert tenor clef and some bass trombone music in concert bass clef.  The latter was usually intended for the old "G" bass 'bone.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #19
Yes Lawrie, "coulisse" means "slide".

Coulisse is the french term that's of current use in Italy, so my habit prevailed.

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #20
Quote
...and to add a little more confusion, there is also a valve trombone - which is actually a large trumpet....

The traditional valve trombone has a tube that goes back over the shoulder and generally is the same shape as a slide trombone.

We had a new trombonist join our band last month.  He has no left arm, so he plays valve trombone.  Last week he brought along a very different one, which indeed is roughly trumpet shaped.  Jokingly I asked him if it was a flugelbone, and he said yes, that was what it was called when he bought it. 

I overheard him telling the guy beside him that it is very heavy, though, with all the weight in front of him.  I imagine the traditional shape is easier to play if only because part of the weight is supported by the shoulder.

And of course, we must never forget the man who wrote Caravan was a valve trombonist, the great Juan Tizol.  

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #21
G'day David,
RE Valve trombone - my acceptance of it being trumpet like is in relation to the sound and method of operation rather than the shape.  They are indeed trombone shaped.

As for the flugabone, I've actually played one - I believe they are also sometimes called a "marching trombone" in the US.  Due to the tight bends in the tubing I find they are somewhat stuffy in comparison to a normal slide trombone.  Haven't played a valve trombone so I can't make a comparison there.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #22
Quote from: Lawrie Pardy
my acceptance of it being trumpet like is in relation to the sound and method of operation rather than the shape.  They are indeed trombone shaped.

And my description of it was the same. I was talking about function, not form. Like the sousaphone is basically an odd-shaped tuba. But thanks for the practical description, David - I loved the anecdote.

Cheers,

Bill

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #23
Quote
I loved the anecdote.

No anecdote.  I'm hoping to recruit him for my Ellington rehearsal band, since we have a shortage of trombone players, Tizol parts are in most of our charts, and this man has a reputation as being a very good player.


Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #24
Well, I didn't mean not true. An anecdote is just a brief, interesting story, and yours certainly was both of those things. Sorry if I didn't make myself clear enough.

Cheers,

Bill

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #25
No problem, Bill, and thank you.  The fellow came out on Saturday, by the way, and confirmed what I was told, that he is a very fine player.  He even does plunger mute, by placing the plunger on his stand and leaning forward and back.  And he's a nice guy as well as very talented.

Here's a wierd instrument I discovered today, the Stroh violin:
In use http://www.mainspringpress.com/studio_photos.html
Explained http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroh_violin
Displayed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Violon_de_jazz_a_pavillon.JPG



Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #26
Thanks for the links re the Stroh violin, David. That was a new one for me. I also just ran into a new odd instrument, the pianolin. It's basically a bowed zither, but with piano keys along one side: my understanding (though I can't find a clear description) is that the keys press stops against the strings and are thus actually functional. Claudia Schmidt plays one on several of her albums - I encountered it on Closing the Distance, where it is featured in the song "Come take a trip in my airship." Before I read the liner notes I had identified the sound as a bowed psaltry (another "odd" instrument, but somewhat more common than this thing that Claudia plays). There's an entry in Wikipedia, if anyone wants to pursue it further; and a Google search brings up a number of hits, among them Claudia's albums.

Cheers,

Bill

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #27
The Psaltry sound clip gives a very nice sound.  Thanks for that instrument, Bill. 

Lots of strange instruments out there.  This page http://www.geocities.com/~ukelin/history.htmlhas several, and includes this remarkable story:
Quote
"...Ukelin production was stopped by me in 1964...I assumed control of this company in 1963. As you know I am Oscar's [Schmidt] only surviving male relation. I stopped making Ukelins because I learned that some salesmen were absolutely ripping people off. That didn't set well with me. My decision was not based on the premise that the Ukelin had run its course. The facts are that we were making about 100 Ukelins a week, the salesmen kept on sending in orders, but I would receive letters that started out, '...The other day some salesman came by while I was out in the pasture and sold my wife a junk musical instrument which I am returning to you.'

I checked into the whole thing. I didn't like what I learned. So I just stopped shipping Ukelins to salesmen. That effectively put an end to the Great Ukelin Ripoff. And, because there was no true demand for Ukelins in legitimate music stores, I terminated all production of the Ukelin as well. That's the true story and the whole story."

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #28
Back on the subject of Valve Trombones, the instrument to which Flurmy was probably referring is the Superbone.  See wiki for history, but the concept has existed for nearly a century.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superbone

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #29
G'day Rob,
yup, you're probably right - I'd forgotten 'bout that little guy...

Actually, I wouldn't mind checking one out.  Being a serious "righty" I wonder if I'd be able to mange the valves left handed..?  Certainly be worth a go.

I'd say "Welcome to the forum", but I see you've been lurking for a year - arrgh, hang it, welcome anyhow!  ;)
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #30
I'd be careful about the Wikepedia article.  It referred to Tizol using a hybrid valve/slide trombone but I don't recall ever hearing that before, nor could I find anything about it in the literature and e-sources I checked tonight.  The article got his birthplace and the year he joined the band wrong.  I wonder, then, if the Wikipedia description of the superbone is entirely reliable?

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #31
G'day David,
I dunno 'bout some of the historical references, but the description of the superbone agrees with other information that's crossed my path.
Here's one in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNBQDPRbqv8
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #32
On topic, check the link at the bottom of the "superbone" page, for "firebird", described as a "very rare" brass instrument.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firebird_(trumpet)

Cyril N. Alberga

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #33
Quote
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNBQDPRbqv8

That's exactly the kind of trombone my friend Gabriele plays!
He didn't tell me any special name for that instrument.
Next time I meet him I'll ask.

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #34
Do you know about the contrabass oboe? It's huge! The link is just below...

http://www.contrabass.com/pages/cboboe.html

The website has all kinds of the very rare instruments, lots of them have pictures of them.

http://www.contrabass.com/pages/compendium.html

P.S. the Picture on the bottom shows the flute family.

<Image Link>

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #35
Oh, by the way how are the flutes on the previous post? Strange?

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #36
Quote
how are the flutes on the previous post? Strange?

Oh, not so much.
I already saw them two or three times... here! ;-)

Out of joke, before seeing your image I met only three kind of (transverse) flutes: "standard" flute, piccolo (i.e. ottavino) and bass flute (the J shaped one).
But, of course, the world is full of surprises.

Re: Very Rare Instruments
Reply #37
What a huge Tuba!
<Image Link>

It looks extremely hard to play!