Clarinet

The Clarinet is an instrument that's easy for children of six and upwards to use and is a very good instrument for adult beginners.
Many people use the Clarinet as a stepping stone to playing the Saxophone. Some Clarinets have been specially designed and made for younger children. It is also, like the Flute, a very good follow-on from the Recorder.

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More information about the Clarinet

The Clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. They are descendants of the chalumeau, with a cylindrical bore and a single reed. It developed from the recorder family, and is closely related to the saxophone.
Clarinets comprise a family of instruments of differing sizes and pitches. The clarinet family is the largest woodwind family, with more than a dozen types, ranging from the BB♭ contrabass to the A♭ soprano. Of these, many are rare or obsolete, and music written for them is usually played on the common types. The unmodified word clarinet usually refers to the B♭ soprano clarinet, by far the most commonly played clarinet.

A person who plays the clarinet is called a Clarinettist.
 
History

The history of the clarinet goes as far back as the late 1600's. It has its roots in the early single-reed instruments or hornpipes used in the Middle East and Europe since the Middle Ages, such as the albogue, alboka, and double clarinet. The early models made around the 1700 were played with reeds placed up against the upper lip. They were tied to the mouthpiece with twine. Today, ligatures are used to hold the reed to the mouthpiece with the reed against the bottom lip.

Johann Christophe Denner invented the clarinet in Germany around the turn of the 18th century by adding a register key to an earlier instrument, the Chalumeau which was of French origin. Over time, additional keywork and airtight pads were added to improve tone and playability. Clarinets are relatively recent additions to the orchestra and are standard instruments in the concert band, symphonic band, military bands, wind ensembles, and chamber ensembles. They are also found in popular bands and jazz bands, and are especially prominent in Dixieland jazz.

The modern clarinet is developed from a Baroque instrument called the chalumeau. An instrument similar to a recorder, but with a single-reed mouthpiece and a cylindrical bore. Lacking a register key, it was played mainly in its fundamental register, with a limited range of about one and a half octaves. It had eight finger holes, like a recorder, and two keys for its two highest notes. At this time, contrary to modern practice, the reed was placed in contact with the upper lip.

The chalumeau commonly considered to be a forerunner of our modern clarinet and around the turn of the 18th century, it was modified by converting one of its keys into a register key to produce the first clarinet. This development is usually attributed to German instrument maker Johann Christophe Denner, though some have suggested his son Jacob Denner was the inventor. The modified instrument played well in the middle register with a loud, shrill sound, so it was given the name clarinetto meaning "little trumpet".

The original Denner clarinets had two keys, and could play a chromatic scale, but various makers added more keys to get improved tuning, easier fingerings, and a slightly larger range. The classical clarinet of Mozart's day typically had eight finger holes and five keys.

Clarinets were soon accepted into orchestras. Later models had a mellower tone than the originals. Mozart liked the sound of the clarinet and wrote much music for it, and by the time of Beethoven, the clarinet was a standard fixture in the orchestra.

The next major development in the history of clarinet was the invention of the modern pad. Early clarinets covered the tone holes with felt pads. However, these leaked air, the pads had to be kept to a minimum, so the clarinet was severely restricted in what notes could be played with good tone. A Russian-born clarinettist and inventor, Iwan Müller in 1812 developed a new type of pad which was covered in leather or fish bladder. This was completely airtight, so the number of keys could be increased enormously. He designed a new type of clarinet with seven finger holes and thirteen keys. This allowed the clarinet to play in any key with near-equal ease. Many enhancements were made to Mueller's clarinet during the 19th century, such as the Albert system and the Baermann system (Clarinet Key work and Fingering), all keeping the same basic design.

The final development in the modern design of the clarinet used in most of the world today was introduced by Hyacinthe Klosé in 1839. He devised a different arrangement of keys and finger holes which allow simpler fingering. It was inspired by the Boehm system developed for flutes by Theobald Boehm. The new system took time to gain popularity as it required the player to relearn how to play the instrument. Gradually it became the standard, and today the Boehm system is used everywhere in the world except Germany and Austria. These countries still use a direct descendant of the Mueller clarinet known as the Oehler system clarinet. Also, some contemporary Dixieland and Klezmer players continue to use Albert system clarinets, as the simpler fingering system can allow for easier slurring of notes.



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Types of Clarinet

Piccolo Clarinet

The Piccolo clarinet is pitched in A♭ key and is now rare. They are usually used for Italian military music and some contemporary pieces for its sonority

Sopranino Clarinet

The Sopranino clarinet comes in 2 forms. Those constructed in E♭ key and D Key. The E♭key has a characteristic timbre, used in concert band repertoire because its tonality is considered compatible with other instruments, especially those in B♭. The D Key Sopranino is seen to be obscure because of its limited repertoire in Western music.

Soprano Clarinet

There are 3 forms of the Soprano clarinet constructed in B♭, C and A keys. The B♭ Soprano clarinet is the most common and used in most styles of music.
The Soprano clarinet constructed in the A key has a sound richer than that built in B♭and is frequently used in chamber and orchestral music. The C key Soprano clarinet is rare because its sound quality is considered to be too bright.

Basset Clarinet

The Basset clarinet is a clarinet in A extended to a low C. It is used primarily to play classical-era music. The Mozart's clarinet concerto was written for this instrument, though it is frequently played in a version for the ordinary A clarinet. Basset clarinets are also built in Bb.

Basset–Horn

The Basset-Horn though looks like the alto, it is different. It is pitched in F, has an extended range to low C, and has a narrower bore on most models. Mozart's clarinet concerto was originally sketched out as a concerto for basset horn in G. The Basset-Horn is rarely used today.

Alto Clarinet

The Alto clarinet is pitched in E♭ and is used mainly in chamber music and wind ensembles

Bass Clarinet

The Bass clarinet is pitched in B♭. It is used mainly in contemporary music, concert band and jazz. It is sometimes also used in orchestral music

Contra-Alto Clarinet

The Contra-Alto clarinet is EE♭ pitched and is also known as the E♭ Contrabass clarinet. It is mainly used in clarinet Choirs.

Contrabass Clarinet

The Contrabass clarinet is a EE♭ pitched instrument. It is used mainly in clarinet choirs but sometimes in orchestras and wind ensembles

 

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