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Thread: Recommend Music for a Double Bell!

  1. #1

    Talking Recommend Music for a Double Bell!

    I've recently gotten my hands on a Conn double bell. It's currently in the repair shop being cleaned and restored to full playing condition. I figure while it's away, I'll do some research about these kinds of horns. To my surprise, despite the popularity of the double bell in the Golden Age of Bands in the late 19th and early 20th century, there is very little music written specifically for it. There was a single solo piece (Father and Son Fantasy by W.W.York, which is out of print) and some "SB" and "LB" (small bell/large bell) markings in certain parts of full band pieces... but otherwise it is almost impossible to find music that specifically requests the alternating bells.

    I have a YouTube channel and would like to record some videos to showcase this unique horn. I'd like some inspiration from fellow double-bell owners, and curious members who may not own one... what sorts of music should I try out? Any specific pieces that you'd like to hear, or you've been curious how the little bell could be utilized? Don't be shy- all types of music are welcome, as well as ways to use the two bells... in case you want to hear an entire piece done on the small bell or something!

    Current list of what I would like to attempt (will update as thread goes on):
    Theme and Variations of Carnival of Venice
    Avid horn collector, check my profile to see what I've got (not enough room to reasonably squeeze 14 horns down here!)
    YouTube Channel: TheNEWTrombonium

  2. #2
    I had a double bell for a while and conducted a similar search. I came up with the same answer you did, essentially nothing. On YouTube, Dave Werden has a few things he's done that demonstrates some fun uses of the horn. You might want to check those out.

    It is my conclusion that the double bell was used in mostly concert band situations. When the piece being played called for high parts they would switch to the small bell to have those part sing through a bit more. If there were only trombone parts available, they would use the small bell. Basically, it was a tone quality judgement based on what they were playing and the preferences of the conductor. The premiere soloist of the early 20th century was Simone Mantia. He played for Sousa, A. Pryor and others. He was known for his solos. There are rumors that there were early recordings on 78, but I have not found any (I even had a local collector who specializes in such searches with extensive contacts look and we found nothing). I contacted the current holder of his music and notes and there is no notations on when to use the small or large bell. So, other than Dave Werden, there seems to be nothing out there.
    Last edited by opus37; 02-26-2018 at 07:18 AM.

  3. #3
    Here is a playlist with my DB songs and those of a few other people as well. But there are LOTS of ways to use the horn effectively. Carnival of Venice is one of the pieces I have on their, from my last concert with the Coast Guard Band. It was outdoors, so the sound the camcorder captured is really coming from the outdoor speaker system we used. Makes it a little harder to hear the tone and the difference between the two bells.
    Last edited by davewerden; 02-26-2018 at 01:04 PM.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium


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