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Welcome to my small and hopefully interesting clarinet instrument related site. This particular page you're viewing right now is obviously meant just as a some sort of a "introduction" page.

SITE NAVIGATION: index.htm ... initial.htm ... range.htm ... specs.htm ... sound.htm ... history.htm ... about.htm ... links.htm ... picture.htm

Throughout the website, I will mention its many advantages compare to the other instruments. The clarinet instrument definitely has an exclusive, easily-identifiable sound and there is a large variety of music available for the clarinet. Further, the keys are easy to finger for small hands (the keys are easy to press down, allowing great ease in the execution of fast passages) and is not that difficult instrument to play; it also packs into a compact, easy-to-carry case. As a clarinet player, you will fit into both jazz and classical music situations (it plays a crucial role in Dixieland music, and in general bands need lots of clarinet players), while the tonal quality of the instrument can be altered by changing the mouthpiece. The instrument has got its name by adding the suffix "-et" meaning little to the Italian word clarino meaning a particular trumpet, as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed. Clarinets comprise a family of instruments of differing sizes and pitches; it is in fact the largest such instrument family, with more than two dozen different types. Of these types many are now rare or obsolete, and music written for them is usually played on one of the more common size instruments. The unmodified word clarinet usually refers to the Bb soprano, by far the most common clarinet. Clarinets have a very wide compass, which is showcased in a chamber, orchestral, and wind band writing, while additionally some improvements that were made to the "fingering system" of the clarinet over time have enabled the instrument to be very agile; there are few restrictions to what it is able to play. It belongs to a family of wind instruments which produce sound by means of a single vibrating reed. The soprano instrument, in B-flat, is most widely used today. One often sees the high E-flat clarinet, the A and the bass clarinet in orchestra concerts, and still others are employed with less frequency. Today, clarinets are usually played in bands, orchestras, dance bands, and woodwind ensembles. It is often featured as a solo instrument. Clarinets are usually made of African blackwood (grenadilla), but can also be made of ebonite or plastic. Most bands need a large clarinet section to play many different parts and be heard above the louder brass instruments. The clarinet family includes clarinets built in many different keys and sizes. Each uses basically the same fingerings, allowing clarinet players to transfer from instrument to instrument with ease. The most common clarinet is the soprano, usually pitched in Bb, but sometimes also in A or C. The alto clarinet is pitched lower in Eb. The bass clarinet is pitched an octave (eight notes) lower than the normal clarinet in Bb. The clarinet has a mouthpiece and a single reed. The ligature holds the reed in place. The reed is made of cane. When air is blown into the mouthpiece, the reed vibrates and the sound is made. The clarinet's sound is mellow and quite soft.

And yet a bit more general and history-related information; for more see the "history.htm" page. This very popular woodwind which originated in Islamic and Asian countries at least 700 years ago. The shape and sound of this familiar instrument was formally established around 1850. Its mouthpiece resembles a beak, or peaked edge; attached is a single cane reed ( technically, this is called a "beating reed" rather than "free reed"). The body, usually made from basswood, is cylindrical with a slightly flared bell. Acoustically, it resembles the saxophone, another single reed instrument patented by the Belgian manufacturer Adolph Sax. The flexibility and its extraordinary ability to blend with other instruments also appealed to many European orchestral and chamber music composers especially during the late 19th century. Brahms, for example, introduced it in several chamber music works, such as trios, quintets, and sonatas with piano accompaniment. 20th century compositions featuring the clarinet include Elliott Carter's "Quintet for Piano and Winds", Witold Lutoslawski's "Dance Preludes", Matyas Seiber's "Concertino for Clarinet and String Orchestra" and Ferruccio Busoni's "Suite for Clarinet and String Quartet in G minor". Here below is also a list of various famous clarinet players and composers.

Clarinet players:

  - 1700's: Anton Stadler, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel

  - 1800's: Richard Muhlfield, Heinrich Baermann

  - Recent times: Stanley Drucker, Richard Stoltzman, James Pyne, Richard Stoltzman, Jon Manasse, Anthony Gigliotti, Woody Herman, Pete Fountain, Eddie Daniels and Woody Herman, to name a few.

Clarinet composers:

  - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Concerto and the Quintet)   - Johannes Brahm (Two Sonatas Op. 120)   - Carl Maria von Weber (Der Freichutz. Concerto No. 1 in f minor, Concerto No. 2 in E-flat and the Concertino in E-flat)   - Hector Berlioz (Symphonie Fantastique)

Other contemporary ensembles that features the clarinet are Klezmer bands. Klezmer is a style of Jewish popular music that originated in eastern Europe, traveling to North America with Jewish émigrés primarily after W.W.II. Fast, fun and expressive, klezmer music is performed at festivals, weddings or any kind of celebration. Among the many Klezmer recording artists are the Klezmer Conservatory Band from Boston, U.S., the Klezmatics and the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band from Toronto, Canada.

It was during the Romantic Period when the clarinet underwent great technical development and gained prominence in music history. They were first introduced in Europe as folk instruments, but by the late 1600s, they were manufactured by such renowned instrument builders as Joseph Denner of Nurnberg. Within 40 years, they were regularly featured in works by Baroque composers Gluck, Telemann and Rameau. A significant innovation in the 19th century helped to define the modern clarinet's structure and sound. Prior to 1800, the clarinet family was possibly the largest among all the winds. Many different sizes of clarinets were manufactured because it was easier for a performer to change clarinets (and thus keys) rather than to deal with this instrument's very awkward fingering system! This problem was resolved when a fingering system originally developed by Theobald Boehm for the flute was adopted by instrument manufacturers during the late 1840s. The new Boehm fingering system also significantly improved it's tone quality. This versatile instrument is capable of performing a wide range of musical styles. Its repertoire extends from Mozart's Concerto in A (K. 622) to the swing tunes of Benny Goodman. Popular performers of this century include jazz artists/composers Artie Shaw, Marty Ehrlich, Buddy Collette, Woody Herman and the versatile John Coltrane. Below is a basic time-line of various related clarinet events during the last three or four centuries.

  - 1600's: During the late 1600's, before the clarinet existed, the chalumeau, considered the first true reed instrument, was used by musicians. Johann Christoph Denner and his son Jacob improved the chalumeau by inventing the speaker key. This gave the instrument a greater register and because of this Johann Christoph Denner is recognized as the inventor of the clarinet, a predecessor of the chalumeau. Unlike other woodwind instruments, the clarinet has a cylindrical bore giving it its distinct sound.

  - 1700's: During the late 1700's, the clarinet underwent many improvements and innovations. The cut or shape of the tone holes was experimented on to see how it will affect the sound of the clarinet. The keys were also altered, one notable name is Iwan Muller who developed the 13 keyed model.

  - 1800's: In the mid-1800's, the Boehm fingering system which was developed by Theobald Boehm for the flute, was adapted to the clarinet by Hyacinthe Klose and Auguste Buffet. This is the fingering system that remains popular up to now, but there are also other fingering systems in existence.

Anyways, as you might imagine, the clarinet is played by blowing directly into the instrument's edge and changing the pitch (The lowness or highness of a musical tone) by opening and closing the holes with fingers. There are various types of clarinets, among them are: Octave, Sopranino, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, and Bass. First known clarinet the chalumeau, a single reed instrument, was the clarinet's predecessor. Around 1690, Johann Christoph Denner and his son Jacob of Nuremborg improved the chalumeau by inventing the speaker key. This gave birth to the clarinet which had a larger register. And here is also a list a few famous clarinet players: Some of the well known clarinet players are: Anton Stadler, Richard Muhlfield, Stanley Drucker, Richard Stoltzman, Larry Combs, James Pyne, Anthony Gigliotti, Jon Manasse, Eddie Daniels, Pete Fountain, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman. It is a musical instrument in the wood-wind family (however, note that my own Yamaha clarinet is not from wood but rather from some sort of plastic or some other non-natural material), while a person who plays the clarinet is referred to as a clarinetist, sometimes spelled "clarinettist". The clarinets are of the most multi-purpose modern instruments, with almost unlimited possibilities. Its clear and pure consonance are well audible in each orchestra. We encounter it in harmonie and symphony orchestras, and "folksmusic", jazz, and dixieland. The clarinet are bladder instruments, consisting from a bored tube, provided with breaches and flaps. The instrument exists from four or five main parts and a goblet.

As mentioned, the clarinet developed and established itself around 1700. During the twentieth century so-called böhm"-klarinet have become very popular. This manifold, devised Auguste dresser and Hyacinthe Klose, has 24 breaches and 17 flaps. These flaps ensure that the breaches, which have been bored in the tube of the instrument, can be concluded. By pressing or releasing these flaps, you can make several tones on this instrument. To the lower part of the mondstuk an only piece sheer sits confirmed by means of a metal link (the manifold belongs to the enkelriet instruments). To get sound from the manifold must you ventilate presses between the sheer and the mondstuk. Because of this brings you the sheer in ultrasound and a tone is made. A sheer holder keeps things at its place and the tension can become regulated by putting the screws on. It consists of a closed cylindrical air column with a bell-shaped opening at one end. It's mouthpiece holds a single reed, in contrast to the double reed of the oboe family. The reed is made from cane, and reeds from southern France are favored. The base of the reed is at least 3 mm thick and the reeds for the clarinets used in the U.S. are 69 mm long. The base width specification is 11.55 mm and the tip 13.05 mm. The body of the instrument is typically constructed of wood. The instrument most commonly used today is known as the B-flat clarinet; the next most common is the clarinet in A. The B-flat clarinet is about 60 cm (23.6 in) long and has a range of more than three octaves. There are also soprano clarinets (range D3 to F6) and bass clarinets some 94 cm in length which cover D2 to F5flat. The clarinet is a versatile member of the orchestra, the principal treble woodwind of the concert band. The clarinet is a transposing instrument--its part in the score is written at a different pitch from the one actually sounded. Since a closed air column does not produce even harmonics, the holes in the column must cover a wider range that those of the flute, carrying the instrument up to the third harmonic of the full column. The use of a register key can then cause the instrument to sound its third harmonic and contribute the notes of the higher register.

SITE NAVIGATION: index.htm ... initial.htm ... range.htm ... specs.htm ... sound.htm ... history.htm ... about.htm ... links.htm ... picture.htm

Copyright © Ivan Tadej Kandus. Some Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: The technical information on this site is mostly gathered from the Internet, mainly from the article on Wikipedia (I modified the text a bit though, to suite my needs), and so it is is available/distributed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; here are also two alternative direct links to a "licnse page" on the GNU site: GNU Copyleft/GNU GPL. But anyway, for one to write an article (or anything similar for that matter), one needs to get that knowledge/information somewhere, so in my opinion the "originality" of something is a bit relative thing. The expressed opinions and events are mine, and are freely distributed for NON-PROFIT use (personal/individual, end-user, educational, charitable, non-commercial and non-military purposes), or belong to other individuals/entities where so specified (that is to come in future); trademarks, service marks, and logos are the property of their respective owners, who have no association with and do not make any endorsement of the products or services provided by this site.

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