Posted by Jay Bertolet on February 23, 1999 at 18:32:59:
In Reply to: valve number five posted by Tom Caudron on February 23, 1999 at 08:10:29:
I have to agree with the previous posts in that a 5th valve is a good thing. For me, it is a necessity. I am a 5th valve junkie! All my instruments have 5th valves (2 CC's, 2 Eb's) and they're all the flat whole step type. I have never found the 2 whole step 5th to be comfortable, I find an added whole step easier to keep track of when devising possible combinations.
As to when you use it, I use mine all the time. Obviously, the long note kinds of things are great because it allows you to better control intonation. But passages like in the Scherzo movement of Mahler 5 are also great candidates for the 5th valve. On my primary CC, I play low F 4-5 so you can imagine how often I use my 5th valve. It was an adjustment to incorporate the 5th valve as a regular choice in fingerings but it has paid great dividends for me over the long term. I feel the added control of intonation has actually helped my sound by forcing me to listen to the sound quality of even the briefest notes. I always try and take the time to learn passages using the most in tune valve combinations, no matter how awkward they may be. Just my opinions, for what they're worth...