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The clarinet is a single-reed aerophone commonly found in orchestras and bands.


The clarinet is a single-reed aerophone . It is one of the woodwinds in the Western orchestra and is an important instrument in the modern band and wind ensemble.

The instrument


Clarinets are usually made of dark wood, although good quality plastic clarinets are also common. Metal keys aid fingering, which can be quite fast on this very agile instrument.

When not being played, the clarinet is normally disassembled into several parts: the reed, ligature (which holds the reed on the mouthpiece), mouthpiece, barrel (or socket), upper body section, lower body section, and bell. The single reed , a thin, rectangular piece of a reed plant, must be replaced often.

Shape, harmonics, and timbre

The basic shape of a clarinet is a cylindrical tube open at one end. This strongly affects the harmonics of the instrument in two ways. (Please see Standing Waves and Wind Instruments for more information.) One is that the sound, particularly in the lower register , has unusually strong odd-numbered harmonics . This is what gives the clarinet its rich, complex timbre .

The other effect occurs when the player overblows to get a higher note with the same fingering. Since the next harmonic available is the third harmonic rather than the second, the clarinet overblows at the 12th rather than the octave. (Please see Standing Waves and Wind Instruments and Harmonic Series if you want to understand why.) This makes fingering more complicated for the clarinet than it is for instruments like the saxophone, which overblow at the octave. Twenty-four keys are needed to produce a smooth, in-tune chromatic scale through the entire range , and there is no uniform system of fingering. A single note can have many alternative fingerings which may be more or less useful in different situations.


The most common clarinet (the B flat) has such a large range , and its timbre varies so much over its range, that its different registers have been named. The low register, where the timbre is rich and dark, is called the chalumeau register. The higher clarinet register has a very clear, direct sound, and can be extremely expressive. The extreme upper register gets a shrill, piercing tone. In between the chalumeau and clarinet ranges (usually from G to B flat in the middle of the written staff), is the weaker throat register, where players can experience a difficult-to-negotiate "break" between the two registers. (This is partly caused by fingering difficulties, see above .)

Written range of the b flat clarinet

The clarinet has a very large range of nearly four octaves. It sounds one whole step lower than written. The timbre of the instrument changes very much over its range.

Types of clarinets

The B flat clarinet is the most common modern instrument. It is a transposing instrument that sounds one whole step lower than written. Most band and orchestra clarinet sections also have one or more bass clarinets . The bass clarinet sounds an octave lower than the regular B flat clarinet - it is also a B flat transposing instrument - and is much bigger. It has an upturned bell (often silver), and, like the cello, must rest on a spike on the floor when it is played. The contrabass , or double bass clarinet is an octave lower than the bass clarinet and much bigger, standing six and a half feet high. Like the small E flat clarinet (which sounds a perfect fourth higher than the B flat), it is unusual, but can still be found. Many orchestral players have an A clarinet for playing in sharp keys, as well as a B flat instrument. Other clarinets, such as the C clarinet and the alto clarinet (about halfway between the B flat and the bass in size and range) have become rare.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, A parent's guide to band. OpenStax CNX. Jun 25, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10428/1.1
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