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Video: Exploring Double-Bell Techniques with Gershwin's It Ain't Necessarily So

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I often wonder what the original double-bell euphonium artists did in the early 1900's. I read that they used the little bell for echo effects, and one would assume they would alternate between the bells per phrase or even per note. But I think if the instrument had gained mainstream popularity and kept it through the 20th century, new techniques would have evolved.

I'm going to offer a couple different double-bell techniques in this video, plus two rarely-used conventional techniques. I had to sit for this song because it was too hard to hold the horn the way I configured it, with the little bell pointing sideways (actually, a little bit toward the back). That allowed me to use my left hand for wa-wa effects and also for a sudden do-wop effect in a couple places. Then I used flutter tonguing for a while. In the two fast passages ("scat" sections) I am using the large bell. There were sets of 4 16ths on the same note, but conventional articulation would not have given the sound I wanted. Instead, I used tremolo fingerings. The note was concert C (middle C, or 4th-line D in treble clef) and I alternated between 1 and 13 to create the pseudo articulation.

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Comments

  1. Pat's Avatar
    Very interesting, particularly the use of your hand in the small bell. Guess this answers my question about when you'd ever consider using a double bell horn! Thanks for sharing!