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Choice of picture[edit]

It strikes me as odd that the "more common" Bb clarinet's picture does not appear as the main picture of the page. There's plenty of room for more pictures - they would be useful, given the large amount of text. But if did a search for clarinet, and wanted to associate an image with one, it would be fair to associate the common accepted image of the generic clarinet, would it not? And save the bass's and contrabass's and alto's for later?

Um. Contrabass and contra-alto clarinets are not that rare, not at all.

But in an article called "clarinet," would it not be more common to see the Bb or A pictured, as they don't require a modifier such as "contrabass" or "contralto?" Also, please don't forget to sign your posts! -Markmtl 18:53, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
I agree that the main picture in the article should be of a Bb clarinet, with other pictures lower down and then "qualified". Regarding the contrabass and contra-alto clarinet, they may not be "rare" strictly speaking, they are certainly are less common than say the Bb, Bb Bass, Eb, Eb alto, A, etc. and should be noted as such. -- Ithacagorges -Ithacagorges 01:37, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Date of invention[edit]

I've removed this:

The clarinet was invented in Nuremberg, Germany on January 14, 1690.

I'd like to see a source for that - such a precise date seems extraordinary. The concise Grove says "The earliest mention of the clarinet is in an order dated 1710". --Camembert

OK, I poked around a bit and found [1] and], which both put the invention at or around 1690, though neither gives an exact date. So I've put some info back in, but not put the exact date back - I don't know how you'd come up with such precision anyway - when you do invent something? When you have the idea? When you begin making it? When you finish? Something else? Anyway, I doubt it's a great loss. --Camembert

Ugh, forget all that - it's explained much better in the history section of this article anyway. As the history section says "about 1700", I've removed the above quoted conflicting passage from the article. Now I need to go to bed... --Camembert

Thumb rest[edit]

Why is "thumb rest" a euphemism? I've never heard any other term for it. Paul Richter 08:47, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Nor I. It's perhaps a bit of a misnomer: the weight of the clarinet sits on the thumb, so the thumb is doing no resting: we might call the thumb a clarinet rest. -- Nunh-huh 08:51, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Oh, i have always called it a thumb rest, how bizarre, ah well, i doubt its that important, Dave 20:37, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I guess it is a misnomer. Perhaps the name came out when someone mixed "clarinet rest" with the word "thumb" changing it to "thumb rest." --Iluvmesodou 08:17, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Maybe it is Because the clarinet rests on your thumbDylpickleh8 (talk) 14:02, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Dylpickleh8 here. The term thumb rest is neither a euphemism nor a misnomer. TheScotch (talk) 07:20, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Clarinet sound[edit]

I would like to know the metaphors used for describing Clarinet its mellow but how does it else sound?

It would be nice if we could get a recording up. Are there public domain recordings of the clarinet somewhere? I could record myself, but I really don't have good recording equipment, and I am not an accomplished player Notthe9 02:51, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
This type of language is not very clear; perhaps it would be better to describe the tone of the clarinet by its various characterizations or how it has actually been used rather than vague, poetic metaphors and euphemisms. What do you think on this topic? -Markmtl 18:52, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Common types?[edit]

The article claims "The most common varieties of clarinet are the standard B flat and A Soprano instruments." In my experience, both the Bb Bass and Eb Alto have seemed easily as common. Is my experience the exception? Notthe9 02:51, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Yes, it is the exception. If you look at surviving instruments from the historical period as well as instrumentation from the last 200 years, it is clear that the soprano clarinets are the most commonly used. This is not to say that lower-pitched clarinets are not used, or are not common. Certainly I think that this warrants more clarity in the "usage" section, since (for example) a lot of contemporary works make frequent use of the bass clarinet. -Markmtl 18:53, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Basses and altos are certainly common in wind ensembles, and basses can be found with frequency in large orchestras, but compared to normal clarinets the amount of commonimity is pretty tiny. Melodia Chaconne 9 July 2005 19:12 (UTC)
  • In all the orchestras I have been it, there were at least 2 bass clarinets, along with many b flat clarinets. For one song a E flat clarinet was used, but that was allBanana Girl 15:00, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Banana girl, you will find that in the vast majority of professional orchestras, bar speciality orchestras (such as the enlarged orchestra recommended for the Berlioz Requiem) there will be a standard 1st and 2nd clarinet, the second clarinet usually playing the bass or soprano Eb variations. Occasionally in very large symphony orchestras there will be a 3rd, or even fourth clarinet, but this is not the norm. Waffenkartoffel

In school bands and orchestras (and wind ensembles, jazz bands, etc.), standard instrumentation is often not used, probably to allow more participation by students in those ensembles. - Special-T 19:49, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

My impression is that the third, not the second, clarinet in a modern orchestra is often a bass clarinet, although approximately just as often all three clarinets are soprano instruments. In the Romantic repertoire (nineteenth-century), it is more common for scores to call for two clarinets, rather than three, and these two are almost invariably soprano instruments. TheScotch (talk) 07:27, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Edits edits edits[edit]

I think this article could use a bit more organization throughout. Additionally, many notes seem to be thoroughly unencyclopedic (See Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not). Here are a few examples:

-"Some people find the sound of the A clarinet to be just a little more rich and mysterious than a B flat, though the difference is small. Today, the chief use of an A clarinet is to make the key signature of a piece simpler." This is not a particularly useful piece of information; what is meant by "rich" or "mysterious?" Who purports this to be true? Today A clarinets are more often used to achieve the extra semitone at the bottom of the range. Historically, certainly A, Bb, C, D and Eb soprano clarinets were used to facilitate key signatures, but only three of these has survived in common use. This is important to point out!!: The Boehm and german systems have been considered chromatic instruments since at least the turn of the century (the 2nd-viennese school scored all clarinet parts in C or D, for example)
The a clarinet has a MUCH warmer tone, it is difficult to describe, but it is like when you play a low g on a b flat clarinet.
-the section starting with "Beginning clarinetists often choose soft reeds - 2 to 2 1/2. . . " see Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, particularly "Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought." This section might be more appropriate in Wikibooks.
when I started playing, I started on a 1 and a half reed
-The "Range" section could be made much clearer with a staff image as describing the intervals is quite confusing (as accurate as it is!); "unknown" upper limits in the range are described quite adequately in numerous orchestration textbooks that can be cited, as this should not be left so mysterious. (Example: many composers and orchestrators consider anything above a written altissimo g to be in the "extreme" register. Certainly we can think of many players facile in this region, but these players need to be named.
-"One major manufacturer makes professional clarinets from a composite mixture of plastic resin and wood chips. . . " Is it Buffet? It's okay to say so. And it's not quite a mixture of "resin and wood chips." That could be clarified. Some readers might take "student instrument" as a value judgement (in addition to being unclear). I'd suggest "low-priced" instruments. I know, I know, "student" instrument is the vernacular, but Wikipedia's job is not to hierarchize instrument manufacture.
-I would recommend that we use the "construction and acoustics" section as its own section, as there is plenty of room (and much editing to be done!) in reference to fingering systems and acoustical principles. (Ex: "This hourglass figure is not visible to the naked eye, but helps in the resonance of the sound." is too vague when it can be explained in more direct, concrete terms; "The bell is at the bottom of the instrument and flares out to spread the tone evenly." doesn't quite make sense.
-"The highest notes on a clarinet can have a piercing quality and can be difficult to tune precisely." This paragraph needs a lot of work or just deletion; it's POV (Stravinsky liked high woodwind timbres), it's unsourced, it almost reads like a manual (which is fine, but not encyclopedic). why the long explanation about tuning altissimo notes? Should this belong in the range section?
-"Finally, the flared end is known as the bell, which amplifies the sound." This paragraph is based on misunderstood acoustic principles. Except for e and b', vibrations are emitted mostly from the tone holes of the instrument.
-"Usage and repertoire" could be made more concise and is far from complete. an excellent start...should we attempt at a "standard repertoire" list or might it be more prudent to link to other specifically repertoire-oriented websites?
-"Family" section... a few minor edits; "E♭ Sopranino . . . The piercing quality of this smaller clarinet carries well in outdoor situations." This last comment is a little weird, especially considering that ALL clarinets gained wide usage from their ability to project in outdoor settings (french revolution bands, harmoniemusik, etc.); a lot of these don't need their own bullet points (if there's enough information for any of them, we can create new articles, esp. bass clarinet, alto clarinet, basset horn). Otherwise i think a final bullet point listing "obscure or obsolete" would be sufficient.
-"History" section could use some citations and is very orchestra-centric.

Otherwise this is a VERY good start! Please let me know what you think of my suggestions; most of the editing beyond grammar and usage I will not continue with before posting for discussion. Markmtl 18:53, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

You say that "Today A clarinets are more often used to achieve the extra semitone at the bottom of the range. " As a clarinetist, I can't think of any pieces off hand which use the A in order to extend the range by this paltry 1 semitone. Please give us some examples! The A clarinet is not used to simplify "key signatures" but to simplify fingerings, in the sense that many fingers in sharp keys are extremely awkward on the B flat clarinet and vice versa. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:53, 4 April 2008 (UTC)


Anyone else want to add links to online performances, as I did for bass and contra?

Conversely, anyone think this is bad and want to yank them back out?--SarekOfVulcan 17:40, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

That's not a bad idea. I'd watch out for copyright issues though. Bcem2 02:19, 11 February 2006 (UTC)


There are many, many more mouthpiece and reed manufacturers than those listed here. And if the line about "selective list of present-day (instrument) manufacturers" is to be deleted, there are many, many more present-day and past clarinet makers too. Is it really useful to attach all these lists to an already-lengthy and somewhat unwieldy article? Would it not be better simply to provide an external link to pages with this information? (I have pages with selective lists of present-day clarinet and mouthpiece makers that could be linked to, and there probably are others.) The point is not to create an exhaustive treatise on the clarinet but to give basic information and citations of more comprehensive sources.


I am a clarinetist and have a couple of questions about the "Range" section. 1. While naming a top note in the range of a woodwind instrument is somewhat arbitrary, I have always considered the highest note in the "standard" range of the clarinet to be the C three octaves above middle C. My limited experience with the classical literature is that anything above a G is rare, however. 2. The range of every type of clarinet except bass begins on the written low E. The statement that this is the case for soprano Bb clarinet is slightly misleading. I'd like to know others with a broader knowledge of the instrument and its variations have found on these points. Special-T 18:11, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Most (though not all) B-flat clarinets have written E as their lowest note; a few instruments go to E-flat. As far as I know, practically all other soprano and higher clarinets also go down to E. On the basset clarinet the lowest note usually is C, likewise the basset horn. On the alto clarinet the lowest note usually is E-flat, though some instruments only go to E. On the bass clarinet E-flat is commonly the lowest note for older and student instruments, while newer professional instruments usually go down to C. On the contra-alto and contrabass clarinets some instruments go to E-flat, some to D, some to C. I believe the octocontra instruments all were built to go to C. -- Rsholmes 18:23, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

How about something like:

Nearly all soprano (A, Bb, C, Eb) clarinets have keywork enabling them to play the E below middle C as their lowest (written) note. Alto (Eb) and bass (Bb, A) clarinets have an extra key to allow a low (written) Eb. Professional quality bass clarinets generally have additional keywork to low C. Among the less commonly encountered members of the clarinet family, contra-alto (Eb) and contrabass (Bb) clarinets may have keywork to low Eb, D, or C. The basset clarinet and basset horn generally go to low C. Special-T 19:22, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

That's probably an improvement. My only quibbles are that "professional" probably should be "modern professional", and that your text omits mention of the admittedly rarer (though not as rare as A basses) clarinets in G, D, and Ab, as well as even rarer beasts in odd keys and registers (e.g. the octocontras, though arguably they're not worth mentioning here). Anyway, the parenthesized key information isn't really needed; it's found elsewhere on the page, as well as on pages that could be linked to.
(In the process of writing this up I've discovered I seem to have been wrong in my impressions of what the commonest terminology for the smaller clarinets is. See below.)
So maybe something like (modulo whether or not to distinguish sopranino and piccolo):
Nearly all soprano, sopranino, and piccolo clarinets have keywork enabling them to play the E below middle C as their lowest (written) note. Alto and bass clarinets have an extra key to allow a low (written) Eb. Modern professional quality bass clarinets generally have additional keywork to low C. Among the less commonly encountered members of the clarinet family, contra-alto and contrabass clarinets may have keywork to low Eb, D, or C. The basset clarinet and basset horn generally go to low C.
Or maybe the same without the links, I don't know. -- Rsholmes 21:49, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

I like that pretty well; I'll put it in. I've been trying to clarify sections of articles that, while trying to explain a possibly confusing aspect of the subject, start including all of the rare exceptions right off the bat or emphasize tangential subjects. Any views on the top-end range stuff? Special-T 22:48, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Actually, I'll try to separate the "written range & keywork" issue from the transposing issue in that paragraph before I insert this. Special-T 22:52, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

I'd just like to add that according to my Clarinet instructor, three octaves above Middle C (Triple-High C) is no longer the highest written note on the standard Bb Clarinet. It has been found that there is a Triple High C sharp. This note is obtained by pressing a key (do not know which one) from the triple high C. --Iluvmesodou 08:28, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Also, I found a web site that shows fingerings of up to Bb7. I, as a high school clarinetist, have played a C7. I attempted to play a C#7 and above and I played it successfully, albeit with broken and bleeding lips. There should be a change of range from E3 to Bb7. If an expert can play these notes, then the range should be played. I recognize that the notes are piercing, and probably not used for many music, but for informational purposes, can there be a change for clarinet range? (talk) 21:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)anonymous

I am a little confused about the different lowest written notes mentioned in this article. This article states that scientific pitch notation must not be used for written notes. Are we going to fix these? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Akilaa (talkcontribs) 12:15, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

You might want to read that again - it says it's "often used", not that it "must not be used". - Special-T (talk) 13:11, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

The article currently says, "The G two octaves above G4 is usually the highest note clarinetists encounter in classical repertoire, and I think the range chart should reflect this. It should show this G with a full-size notehead and the C above it to the right as a small notehead. I'm unable to make the change myself. TheScotch (talk) 09:59, 6 May 2011 (UTC)


I've found some surprises lately when trying to figure out what terminology (if any) ought to be presented as standard for the various sizes of clarinets, particularly on the high end. Of course not everone agrees. Even individual companies don't. Here's something from Selmer France that uses "sopranino" to refer to the Eb clarinet, which supports what I thought was best, though the same document uses "contralto clarinet", which I've argued against; however, the Leblanc France site uses "soprano" for Eb, and "contra-alto". Selmer Paris agrees on both counts. (Of course both companies are divisions of Conn-Selmer.)

Some data:

Instrument Leblanc France Selmer Paris Yamaha Google hits
Ab clarinet Ab sopranino clarinet - - Ab piccolo clarinet: 15,900; Ab sopranino clarinet: 303
Eb clarinet Eb soprano clarinet Eb soprano clarinet Eb soprano clarinet Eb soprano clarinet: 14,100; Eb sopranino clarinet: 447
D clarinet D soprano clarinet D soprano clarinet - D soprano clarinet: 70; D sopranino clarinet: 2
C clarinet C soprano clarinet C clarinet and C soprano clarinet -
Bb clarinet Bb soprano clarinet Bb clarinet Bb clarinet
A clarinet A soprano clarinet A clarinet A clarinet

Meanwhile at Grove Music Online (subscription) we have: Piccolo or octave clarinets (in C, Bb, A, Ab); Sopranino clarinets (in G, F, E, Eb, D); Soprano clarinets (in C, B, Bb, A, Ab, G); Basset-horns (in G, F, D); Alto clarinets (in F, Eb); Bass clarinets (in C, Bb, A); Contrabass (pedal) clarinets (in Eb, Bb). The only other producers of Ab clarinets I know of are L.A. Ripamonti, who call it a piccolo clarinet; and Schwenk und Seggelke, who call it a high clarinet.

So what do we do? For Ab "piccolo" is by far the more popular as judged by Google hits, though "sopranino" makes sense if Eb and D are "soprano", and that seems to be what almost everyone except Grove says. I thought Grove was authoritative, but they seem to be off base on this.

I've reorganized the "extended family" section in light of the above information. Also trimmed back some of the verbiage under "bass clarinet" and moved it to the bass clarinet article. -- Rsholmes

BTW a Google search for "Ab piccolo clarinet" vs. "Ab sopranino clarinet" with the words in quotes reveals a 30% more hits for the sopranino version than for piccolo. The reason why you would get so many more hits for the first without quotes is that piccolo is an instrument name you'd expect to see on the same page as clarinet while sopranino is not.
I think the naming of the articles is fine as is, but figured that'd be worth pointing out. --Myke Cuthbert 01:48, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Alto in F presently made?[edit]

I've deleted the following sentence pending verification: "Some examples of extended range (to written low C) alto clarinets in F are presently manufactured." -- Rsholmes

That must be a basset horn. It is occasionally called an Alto Clarinet in F in some French scores (for instance, the Symphonies of Wind Instruments of Igor Stravinsky). --Myke Cuthbert 01:48, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

rsholmes's edit of 25 Feb 2006[edit]

I've made an edit that needs to be summarized in more detail than would make sense in the Edit Summary.

The unhelpful clarinet lesson by was reverted.

A cross reference to the "Extended family" section was linkified (and the title of the latter had its capitalization changed for consistency).

A lot of verbiage in the "Tone" section had nothing to do with tone. Most of it was redundant with text in later sections; one bit was moved to the "Uses" section. The rest was deleted.

Some more composers' names were linkified.

Several references to list articles were consolidated into a "See also" section.

Madraven's comment about use of the G clarinet in 19th century Schrammelmusik was removed, for a couple of reasons. First, the significance of this use was deemed too minor to justify its inclusion in an already lengthy overview article. Second, the G clarinet used in Schrammelmusik was a high G clarinet, classified by Shackleton as a sopranino and just slightly larger than the piccolo A-flat; the G clarinet entry in the "Extended family" list refers to a low G soprano clarinet, between and A clarinet and a basset horn in size. Actually I moved this text to the soprano clarinet article (though arguably, if like most people we spurn Shackleton's use of "sopranino", the high G might more sensibly be classified as a piccolo clarinet. This is one reaon I like Shackleton's terminology, but it seems too unpopular to be adopted here.) -- Rsholmes


I reverted because I believe the claim

The name derives from adding the suffix -et meaning little to the Italian word clari meaning clear.

is incorrect etymology and the previous/current

The name derives from adding the suffix -et meaning little to the Italian word clarino meaning trumpet, as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet.

is correct. If the former etymology is correct and the latter is incorrect, please supply an authoritative citation. -- Rsholmes 14:36, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

In reference to modern reappearence in Jazz and other Jazz musics[edit]

In more recent years modern jazz musicians have been plugging the clarinet back into the music it once was more predominate in. I suggest that that be mentioned along with modern artists like Don Byron and others who have led this movement (which it is almost too small to call).


WHAT ABOUT THE SAXONETTE?? where does that fit in? user: POLLUX, Bb & Bb Bass nota bene: see for more info

Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the Edit this page link at the top. You don't even need to log in! (Although there are some reasons why you might like to…) The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. Mak (talk) 22:00, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
Nothing spammy about that link, and thanks for the boilerplate. Ever considered maybe they didn't "improve" the article because they don't know the answer to the question they're raising?
I don't know either. A "saxonette" is merely a soprano clarinet with curved, metal neck and bell, similar to those of an alto or bass clarinet. These shouldn't change the essential nature of the instrument. In particular the upturned bell is irrelevant except for the lowest couple of notes. I've seen the saxonette described as intended for jazz use, and I've also seen it described as a clarinet for marching bands. I don't know what its original intent was -- maybe the original intent was to make something novel-looking in hopes of generating sales. -- Rsholmes 02:13, 29 June 2006 (UTC)


I've removed the phrase ", and is in the personal collection of George Leblanc" pending verification. I have seen this statement repeated often (and have repeated it myself) but lately I have my doubts about it. Does such a person as George Leblanc even exist? The obituary of the octocontrabass's apparent previous owner, Léon Leblanc, mentions only his wife as a survivor. -- Rsholmes 19:14, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Basset horn as Masonic icon[edit]

A bit of info that might add to the article is the use of the basset horn by the Masons. Also the writings that Mozart did for the basset horn in connection with his own membership in the organization. A link to the basset horn in reference to this idea might be helpful.

Never heard about this; can you cite a source? Sounds interesting. Might better be mentioned in the basset horn article though. -- Rsholmes 18:55, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

I'm working on the source, it was in a book at my old university and I haven't been back yet. It would probably fit better in the basset horn section but a brief mention in the main clarinet section might be helpful to the untrained user. Here is an un-verified internet link that has the basic idea [2]

[The] practice of using a variety of clarinets to achieve colouristic variety[edit]

The 'Classical Music' section states that "However, many clarinetists and conductors prefer to play parts originally written for obscure instruments such as the C or D clarinets on B♭ or E♭ clarinets, which are of better quality and more prevalent and accessible." This doesn't seem quite to make sense to me, and I can't quite get at what the editor meant by this (possibly because I suspect I disagree with it). Can someone explain to me what it means so that I/they can rephrase it, or otherwise make a convincing case for it to stay? ;) njan 18:40, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

I believe it means that clarinetists routinely play C or D clarinet parts on the more standard-issue Bb or Eb horns. Special-T 18:55, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
And I've just re-read it to that meaning and it's made complete sense.. D'oh! I think perhaps I've had too much coffee this afternoon. Or perhaps not enough! njan 19:03, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
That sentence could be clearer - it sounds as if it were translated out of English and then back again. Special-T 23:13, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

The Music-Web Music Encyclopedia Clarinet Page[edit]

I had a look at the recently-linked Music-Web Music Encyclopedia Clarinet Page, and am not at all impressed. I find misplaced apostrophes, inconsistent flat notation, misspelled "basset", the incorrect claim that "the clarinet in Bb has the largest range of all the woodwind instruments", and an introduction that is low on information and high on bad attempts to describe the sound of a clarinet. Clicking on through to Bass clarinet in Bb and A brings up a piece of text that might be excusable in a high school music assignment -- maybe. Looking around further, Mozart Leopold is textually identical to this (older) page. No credit is given. I started writing this paragraph looking to get opinions about keeping this link, but after finding this clear evidence of plagiarism I have no doubt it should be deleted. -- Rsholmes 01:23, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

I am a member of the site (under name Shiva) and have worked with MaestroX along with some others to produce this article. So some of the work that may be "plagiarism" may have been contributed by an other member. MaestroX is great guy and is only trying to create a good resource for other people and for free.

Anyway on to the article. I think the majority of the page is very good, as you mention there are gramatical errors which need sorted. But overall it gives good advice for both playing and writing for the instrument. I have left a note on the articles talk page (Music-Web Clarinet Talk Page) to offer some support to proof read the article.

As regards to the "Mozart Leopold" article, it seems the issue as been resolved. When the project was just strating out the site had not been fully functional, so many of what is on the site was written and sent into MaestroX by email. So please don't blame him for that.

Thanks for discussing this,

Clarinet Player 16:13, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

The music-web site may someday be a great resource. It isn't there yet. No surprise: apparently the project was only just begun in August of this year.
I see the Leopold Mozart article has been pulled. The history shows it was posted by MaestroX; if the text was given to him by someone else, he apparently didn't check on it, nor did he attribute his source. And there is more text lifted from the site; the "Abe, Keiko" page, for instance. I going to make a guess that virtually all of the composer articles were taken from the site.
The clarinet article has more than grammatical errors; it has errors of fact. The clarinet history article is taken without attribution from In the clarinet maintenance section, most of the passage on mouthpieces is taken without attribution from here. The mouthpiece cleaning section is taken from here and the storing reeds section is from here.
The bass clarinet article, besides being an example of bad writing style, is very poorly researched.
To paraphrase someone or other, what's original isn't good, and what's good isn't original. -- Rsholmes 18:01, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree, in fairness the article is good but needs work. Maybe in the future when the article is better it will be great to link to it then. Until then, i'll inform other contributors of Music-Web about copyright issues and notify them of the errors that need correcting. Thanks for discussing this. I think we have came to a good agreement.
Just a note, maybe some of the other links here also need checked for quality, and content. I see one was deleted that I agreed needed deleting too, maybe the others are not up to scratch. What you think?

Clarinet Player 19:09, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Wondering why the link of the oboe article was rejected Clarinet Player 10:32, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Because the site is still full of what appears to be plagiarized material. Compare for example the very article you linked with [3]. -- Rsholmes 13:23, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

GA Re-Review and In-line citations[edit]

Members of the Wikipedia:WikiProject Good articles are in the process of doing a re-review of current Good Article listings to ensure compliance with the standards of the Good Article Criteria. (Discussion of the changes and re-review can be found here). A significant change to the GA criteria is the mandatory use of some sort of in-line citation (In accordance to WP:CITE) to be used in order for an article to pass the verification and reference criteria. Currently this article does not include in-line citations. It is recommended that the article's editors take a look at the inclusion of in-line citations as well as how the article stacks up against the rest of the Good Article criteria. GA reviewers will give you at least a week's time from the date of this notice to work on the in-line citations before doing a full re-review and deciding if the article still merits being considered a Good Article or would need to be de-listed. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us on the Good Article project talk page or you may contact me personally. On behalf of the Good Articles Project, I want to thank you for all the time and effort that you have put into working on this article and improving the overall quality of the Wikipedia project. Agne 03:09, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Five easy pieces[edit]

why do clarinets come in five pieces,

I understand the mouthpiece and barrel being seperate, but why five pieces? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 12 Oct 2006

Not all of them do. Often the small clarinets (e.g. E-flat) are in four pieces: mouthpiece, barrel, single joint, and bell. Also most metal clarinets do not come apart in the middle.
There are usually two joints (top, for the left hand keys, and bottom, for the right) mainly, I believe, for ease of building and because it's easier to get two good quality short pieces of wood than one long one. That doesn't apply as much to plastic of course, but plastic instruments are modelled after wood ones. Another benefit to having two joints is they can be pulled apart slightly for tuning if needed. As for the bell, since it's wider, if it were made in one piece with the joint, you'd have to start with a long, thick piece of wood and waste most of it.
A brief explanation of this might be a good addition to the article, but I'd want my impressions verified by an authoritative source before including them. -- Rsholmes 14:26, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Family members[edit]

The additional information on various clarinet family members is welcome, but I would advocate keeping the list in this overly-long article brief and putting these details into the individual articles on the various family members. A few comments on some of this information:

  • In the classification shown here, the instruments in high F and G are mentioned as soprano clarinets, so they should be discussed in that article, not as piccolo clarinets. (Or the classification should be revised, but not without first discussing it here.)
The high G clarinet was created to have the same relationship to the Ab as the D and A are to the Eb and Bb. G clarinets are discussed with the piccolo clarinets in the Cambridge companion to the clarinet. No opinion on where the high F goes. (MSC)
  • Verification, please. It may well be true that some composers used to write for both E flat and D clarinets in the same piece, but I can't recall having heard of any. Nor have I ever heard -- though it may be true -- that clarinetists have ever commonly equipped themselves with both. Please cite authoritative sources. Some sources also, please, for the claim that E flat clarinets are more common and better quality than D clarinets. Is this true globally or only in America/Western Europe?
Pieces with D and Eb in the same work: Stravinsky, Rite of Spring. Strauss, Rosenkavalier. One thing which needs mentioning is Baroque uses of the D clarinet where it is treated as one of the standard (i.e., not high) clarinets. (MSC)
  • More specificity, please. Which composers wrote for both E flat and D clarinets depending on key signature? Which composers / which operas call for A, B flat, and C clarinets?
Mahler symphonies, e.g., Symphony No. 1, use A, Bb, and C. He does not use C's in that piece to simplify the playing, but I don't have a cite except an unpublished paper of mine to support that, so it can't really go in. (MSC)

There are many more examples of deliberate uses for sound quality: R Strauss deliberately uses the C clarinet in many works e.g. Happy Workshop Wind Symphony, Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique (Clts 1&2 play Eb and C for the finale) - also composers may specify the C when the music goes high (concert pitch) and it's in a sharp key, so specifying an A would make the music go even higher (written) and Bb would put the player in mega-sharps; e.g. Tchaikovsky 2nd Symphony (in D), especially the finale.-- 13:53, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Should the Italian pitch names be capitalized? (Do, re, mi are not in English; but C, D, E usually are.) And are they really "mib" and "lab", or should they be "mi♭" and "la♭"?

-- Rsholmes 03:51, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

I've moved the aforementioned material to the individual articles on the respective family members. In addition, I've copied the "Extended family" section to a new clarinet family page and added to it -- in particular, I've made note of Rendall's classification scheme in addition to Shackleton's. I made a link to that here. The list here could now, I think, be shortened to mention only the more significant family members (which I would say are the A♭, E♭, D, C, B♭, A, A basset, G, F basset horn, E♭ alto, B♭ bass, EE♭ contra-alto, BB♭ contrabass, EEE♭ octocontra-alto, and BBB♭ octocontrabass -- the latter two aren't really significant, but I'd say too interesting to omit). But let's hear comments before doing that. -- Rsholmes 03:01, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
All this catching up with old Talk:Clarinet, has really made me realize what a huge amount of work Rsholmes has put into the article. Hurrah!--Myke Cuthbert 01:48, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Template & extended family links[edit]

Excellent idea to move info on the extended clarinet family to its own set of articles; I think it fixed the 'sprawling article' problem. I like the template as well. At the risk of creating more sprawl, I'd add Don Byron. - Special-T 13:24, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

There's still a good deal of sprawl, and maybe some of the other sections could profitably be moved to separate articles with a short summary left here. I'm not too familiar with modern jazz saxophonists so I'll let others comment on the appropriateness of adding Byron to the template (see Template_talk:Clarinet). -- Rsholmes 14:12, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Reasons for GA Delisting[edit]

This article's GA status has been revoked because it fails criterion 2. b. of 'What is a Good Article?', which states;

(b) the citation of its sources using inline citations is required (this criterion is disputed by editors on Physics and Mathematics pages who have proposed a subject-specific guideline on citation, as well as some other editors — see talk page).

LuciferMorgan 00:45, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Failed GA nomination[edit]

This article contains no inline citations which are a requirement of Good Articles. As such, its nomination has failed.--TheEmulatorGuy 02:42, 19 November 2006 (UTC)


The use of vibrato in jazz and general lack of use of vibrato in classical music should be treated in the article. Badagnani 20:54, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Notes and references[edit]

Maybe I missed a memo or something, but I feel it's important to keep footnotes and references separate. See Wikipedia:Guide to layout#Notes and below. "References" should be a bulleted list of sources for the article; "Notes" should be a numbered list of comments on (which may -- or may not -- include references for) specific points in the text. -- Rsholmes 18:32, 22 March 2007 (UTC)


Any chance this article qualifies for semi-protection? The rate of IP/new user vandalism to content has been about 4:1 lately. --Myke Cuthbert 15:27, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Hi -- we now have a week of semi-protection, so we can improve the article without needing to rv vandals all the time. -- Myke Cuthbert (talk) 17:48, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

Throat tones[edit]

Good collaborations on integrating this -- the "history" of this section shows a lot of teamwork in editing! -- Myke Cuthbert (talk) 05:39, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Clarinets in north european folkmusic[edit]

In sweden the clarinet has been a instrument in folkmusic since the 19th century as far as I know although never as pupular as the fiddle or the swedish "nyckelharpa". Apperently a most of swedish folk-clarinettist plays on instrumets in C (most traditional tunes ar in D wich makes it hard to play on regular Bb-clarinets (I play on a clarinet in A)).although nowadays most professional swedish folkmusic-groups seem to use the saxofone (there is one group called "Malström" that has two clarinettist, but I think they are the only ones), guess they think it sounds better with electrical instruments. However, among amatures I regard the clarinet to be a much more popular instrument in swedish folkmusic. The clarinet in C has traditonally been the "folkmusic clarinet". I have been told that in the old days, 70 years back or so, it was rather popular to use german instruments (german clarinets looks very different) probably because they were cheaper and easyer to buy. I can only speak from what I know myself since I'm now a scolar on the subject. I play both classical music (synfony orcestra, non professional) and a lot of swedish folk music. I could write more if someone is interested in the subject. // Olof Edler, 12 July 2007, Östersund

External Links[edit]

A graham87 or something has deleted an external link posted by me. Could I please get an explanation of why this site is not relevant? Some of the external links are either broken (like the UNM list of clarinet repertoire link *[4] ) or also have links to commercial sites. The site I posted was *[5] . It lists sources for the acquisition of prescribed sheet music for the Royal Schools practical exams. Similar links on other pagers have also been deleted, but for some pages it has remained. Please give me an explanation as to why this link is less relevant than a fingering chart for someone who already plays clarinet? [[[User:Aubrey de Wet|Aubrey de Wet]] 08:34, 7 August 2007 (UTC)]


Neither Paquito or Maurita have brazilian roots, neither of them plays Choro. This style of music born with an interpratation of polka in the XIX century. This style lead to the Samba style, the first samba known is Pelo Telefone written by Donga. A proeminent clarinet player, in this style of music is Paulo Moura. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:04, August 26, 2007 (UTC)

Article arrangement[edit]

First of all, I think the "History" section should lead the article, not tail it. IMO it is one of the most interesting and readable parts of the article, a lot of the lead-in sections are rather technical and cannot be of much interest to the average reader. Also, it's left until very late in the article to say anything about the type of music played on the clarinet. I'm not sure if the "Usage and repertoire" section should also also be higher up in the article, but IMO there should be something more somewhere, possibly in the intro, about what kind of music the instrument is generally used for. Gatoclass 11:20, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Broken Link(s)[edit]

Just noticed the link for "Metal Clarinet Homepage" goes to a domain registration page. I'm in the middle of something, so perhaps someone can research and link to the new location or delete if no luck. Thanks.--CheMechanical (talk) 17:04, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Altos and key-covered holes[edit]

This sentence is in the "Acoustics" section:

(On bass and larger clarinets, some alto clarinets, and a few soprano clarinets, some or all of the finger holes are replaced by key-covered holes.)

Are there really any alto clarinets that have all open holes? Seems like those holes would be too big to cover with a fingertip. - Special-T (talk) 12:31, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I've restored the long-standing links, although a few of them might be less than worthy. The "comprehensive list of clarinets" site has lots of ads & not much info; the two fingering charts are OK, but we don't need two (maybe not any). The others are germane and informative. - Special-T (talk) 01:43, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Removed fact tag[edit]

I removed a recent fact tag from the statement The intricate key organization that makes this range possible can make playability of some passages awkward. I can provide a reference to this effect if it's really needed, but do we really want one? Any clarinet student can verify this claim from personal experience; The keys in question are some of the multiple "little finger" keys on both hands. Supporting references for such info are needless clutter IMO. But of course I'll go with consensus on this. Andrewa (talk) 20:05, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Spelling of 'clarinettist'[edit]

In the UK, we use the spelling 'clarinettist' (double t) exclusively - it is never 'clarinetist'. Is this different in the US, or is Wikipedia just wrong? Millstream3 (talk) 07:24, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Just American, apparently. My (US) dictionary lists the single-"t" spelling first. - Special-T (talk) 12:13, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Interesting! I wonder how that came about... Millstream3 (talk) 14:41, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

What does this mean?[edit]

The section on the use of multiple clarinets says "Because clarinets overblow at the twelfth rather than the octave". What does this mean? (It needs to be explained.) Bubba73 (talk), 01:34, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for helping clarify that. If I had read the whole article rather than skipping to that section, it would have been clearer about the "overblow". Bubba73 (talk), 22:28, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Multiphonics and Reeds[edit]

Although there are many useful pieces of information in the article, I noticed that there is not much to be said of clarinet multiphonics or reed shaping.

I was wondering if someone would consider adding a section on clarinet multiphonics and more modern techniques being experimented with in the present day.

I also was wondering if a stub of sorts would be possible on reed shaping from cane by oneself. I would find this very helpful!

I also think more content should be added perhaps on the history of the instrument family members. I remember when I first picked up the Eb, and I came here to look for information, only to find little of any help.

Also, links and information on past and present day clarinetists would be lovely! There are some excellent clarinetists about today who could teach many of us more about the art of playing the clarinet (Mate Bekavac for example).

Final suggestion being that a GOOD fingering chart is made available including all possible tones.

Not being an experienced article writer, I was hoping someone else might take some of these suggestions into account and build off of them.

Much thanks,


Jade196 (talk) 05:46, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

I don't think a fingering chart is needed here. Don't want to have idiots yelling "Wikipedia is not a musical instrument method!" But the lack of information on multiphonics is a definite deficiency.
I haven't looked at the article's history, but it's probable that there used to be information on it but it got deleted because it was put in by a clarinettist who knows how to play the instrument but doesn't know anything about wikipolitics. Willi Gers07 (talk) 19:07, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
See WP:NOT and WP:VERIFY for the core policies regarding what Wikipedia is. Specifically, it is not a how-to manual, and it aims to be a collection of verifiable facts - i.e., published from a reliable source. It's not politics that keeps editors' personal knowledge out, it's the core policy of the project. - Special-T (talk) 17:52, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Clarinet pieces[edit]

The rather low res image used to describe the different parts of the clarinet shows an Oehler/German system clarinet, while the photos of the invidual pieces are those of a Boehm/French system. This will confuse visitors to the page. I could point this out in the caption, but I am afraid this will only worsen things - someone with little experience or knowledge of the matter will probably think that German clarinets have different pieces. (Lavidia (talk) 04:26, 30 June 2009 (UTC))

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Clarinet/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.
Starting review.Pyrotec (talk) 08:26, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Initial review[edit]

This is a good article, but not yet a WP:GA. It is a wide-ranging, readable article; but the main problem, which has been brought up many times before, is lack of references, i.e WP:cite in-line citations. The article has certainly been improved over time, but it has a bit further to go in respect of adding in-line citations. Pyrotec (talk) 15:04, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Considering the article section by section, but leaving the WP:lead until last:

  • Characteristics
    • Tone -
  • First paragraph - seems reasonable; however I think that it would be useful to explain "the style of clarinet". What is it?
  • Second paragraph - unreferenced.
    • Range -
  • First paragraph - seems reasonable.
  • Second, third and fourth paragraphs - unreferenced.
  • Construction
    • Materials -
  • First paragraph - only the first sentence is referenced.
  • Second paragraph - unreferenced.
  • Third paragraph - seems reasonable.
  • Fourth paragraph - unreferenced.
    • Reed -
  • First and second paragraphs - seem reasonable.
  • Third paragraph - unreferenced.
    • Components of a modern soprano clarinet -
I'll ignore (here) the first single-sentence note.
  • First paragraph - unreferenced.
  • Second paragraph - seems reasonable.
  • Third paragraph is referenced.
  • Fourth paragraph - seems reasonable.
  • Fifth and sixth paragraphs - unreferenced.
  • Seventh paragraph - only the first sentence is referenced.
  • Acoustics - seems reasonable.
  • History -
    • Lineage -
  • First paragraph - unreferenced. The remainder appears to be adequately referenced.
  • Usage and repertoire
    • Use of multiple clarinets -
  • In the first paragraph, is this correct ? ...[the clarinet] "this involves more keywork than is necessary on instruments which "overblow" at the octave — oboes, flutes, bassoons, and saxophones, for example, which need only twelve notes before overblowing.
    • Yes, it's basically true as stated; more notes in a register means more keys are needed to play them. However, the double reeds—oboe, bassoon, and English horn—also have a lot of keywork, for purposes of intonation and fingering ease. Powers T 14:34, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Let me rephase the question (just in case). I read this sentence as saying the oboes, flutes, bassoons, and saxophones, for example, need only twelve notes before overblowing. I think (but I'm not certain, hence the question) that they need eight notes before overblowing; the Clarinet needs 12?Pyrotec (talk) 14:43, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
    • That depends on whether you're talking about half-steps or scale tones. An octave includes 8 scale tones (7 intervals), or 12 half-steps. The clarinet's register is 12 scale tones (11 intervals), or 19 half-steps. Powers T 15:28, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Classical music -
  • The final paragraph, giving examples of instument combinations needs citation(s).
    • Concert bands - OK
    • Jazz - OK
    • Rock and pop - unreferenced.
    • Other genres - I'm not to keen on these one-sentence paragraphs, but the main problem is lack of citations.
    • Groups of clarinets - more citations needed.
  • Extended family of clarinets - more citations needed.
This is intended to both provide an introduction to the article and provide a summary of the main points. Currently, it is quite a good introduction, but it could be improved as a summary. I would suggest that the final (short) paragraph be expanded to briefly summarise how the chalumeux was 'changed' into a clarinet by the addition of pads and keys/register keys; and then briefly summarise the use that is made of a clarinet(s), e.g. in pairs, groups, in jazz, etc.

If there are any questions or points that you wish to discuss, add them to this page, and I'll answer then here. Meanwhile, I'm putting this WP:GAN On Hold whilst the article is improved. Pyrotec (talk)Pyrotec (talk) 18:40, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

I think I've addressed most of your concerns. Have I added enough references? Is there anything else that needs to be done? Thanks, Nikkimaria (talk) 23:14, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the very quick response. I'm not a musician and I can't play the Clarinet, but I learnt a lot from reviewing this article. I think I understand the Clarinet much better, so I'm going to pass this article; and I would love to be able to play Stranger on the Shore on a Clarinet, but it probably won't happen.Pyrotec (talk) 19:56, 22 July 2009 (UTC)


GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

An interesting article, I learned a lot aout the Clarinet from reviewing this article.

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    B. MoS compliance:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    A wide-ranging article.
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:

I'm awarding the article GA-status. It was already a good article at the start of this review, but not a Good Article, mostly do to an inadequate number of citations. Congratulations to the nominator, Nikkimarie, in correcting these deficiencies in a very short space of time.Pyrotec (talk) 19:56, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

And thanks to Pyrotec for his review and for his help in improving the article. (Good luck with Stranger on the Shore!). Cheers, Nikkimaria (talk) 01:29, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Clarinet registers - how many?[edit]

Berlioz states that there are 4, not three. Should we revise the article to include the throat tones as a separate register? --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 19:02, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that represents the modern thinking on the subject. Certainly the throat tones have a distinct timbre and character to them, but I'm not sure that really qualifies them as a separate register. Certainly the division between them and the chalumeau is indistinct, compared to the clear break between the throat tones and the clarion register. Powers T 14:51, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
After reading the relevant paragraph in the article, a mention of the throat tones and their unique character would probably be appropriate when discussing the chalumeau register. Powers T 14:53, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Range graphics[edit]

The JPEGs showing the ranges of each type of clarinet in the table look horrid. SVGs, or even PNGs with a plain white background would work so much better. Worse, I can't tell where these images came from; their original description pages on fr.wikipedia have been deleted. Powers T 20:20, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Graphics aren't my forte; you're welcome to use these to make better versions in whatever format you like. As for the source, given that it's not anything creative you should be able to source your version to yourself - the range doesn't change based on who makes the image. Personally, I think the images are fine, but if you don't agree, then fix it. Cheers, Nikkimaria (talk) 23:34, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not sure where I was going with that complaint. At the time I thought I had a conclusion but now I'm not sure what that would have been. Powers T 23:43, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Tone quality[edit]

I read the following phrase: "The alto clarinet is similar in tone to the bass, and the basset horn has a tone quality comparable to the A clarinet." I submit that in fact this is a misunderstanding. There is a clear difference between Basset Clarinet and Basset Horn. The Basset Clarinet has in fact the same sound and tone as the common A clarinet, but has an extended lower range (down to C). I think this should be changed accordingly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:40, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

WP:SOFIXIT if you have a published source. - Special-T (talk) 12:07, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

"Acoustics" of altissimo range[edit]

Re: "The register key, when pressed, cancels the fundamental frequency scale and forces the clarinet to produce the next dominant harmonic scale a twelfth higher, and when using at least fingers 1-2-3 1-2, taking off the first finger on the left hand, acts as another register key, and doesn't overblow a twelfth, but instead a sixth [sic]. The clarinet is therefore said to overblow at the twelfth, and when moving to the altissimo register, a sixth [sic].":

In the first place, "sixth" here ought to be seventeenth, I suspect. We're talking, apparently, about the fifth harmonic, which is found a seventeenth above the fundamental (first harmonic). There is no tone on the harmonic series a sixth above the fundamental. (Yes, a seventeenth is a sixth added to a twelfth, and the article may intend "an additional sixth", but whether or not it intends that, it doesn't say it.)

In the second place, although the clarino range is produced essentially by playing the third harmonic of fundamentals in the chalumeau range, there would seem to be more happening here since the chalumeau range is more or less a square wave, lacking even harmonics, whereas, if I remember right, the clarino range has fairly strong even harmonics.TheScotch (talk) 10:52, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

This section on "Acoustics" is wrong because it confuses the concepts of air motion with the concept of wave motion. The air in the bore moves at less than 1 ft/sec linear velocity down the bore away from the mouthpiece. The pressure wave moves at well over 1000 ft/sec in both directions. See the WIKI article on speed of sound. Most of the explanation in the clarinet acoustics section is deceptive and wrong because the concepts of air motion and wave motion are mixed up by the author. These are two entirely different things. The mechanism of sound production in the clarinet is best explained in terms of the forward wave, the reflected wave, the impedance of the tube, etc. Examples from the article with my comments ...

ARTICLE SAYS: Sound is a wave that propagates through the air as a result of a local variation in air pressure. COMMENT: This much is correct.

ARTICLE: The production of sound by a clarinet follows these steps:[13]

   The air in the bore of the instrument is at normal atmospheric pressure and moves towards the bell (or the first open hole). The minuscule space between the mouthpiece and the reed allows only a small amount of air to enter the instrument. This creates a low-pressure area in the mouthpiece. The difference in pressure between the two sides of the reed increases, causing the reed to press against the mouthpiece.

COMMENT: The air moves slowly (less than 1 ft/sec) but the wave moves at over 1000 ft/sec. A pressure wave is started by the opening of the reed when a puff of high pressure air is admitted to the mouthpiece. A lower pressure wave is then started by the reed's closing against the mouthpiece facing (comprising the tip rail and the side rails). The amount of air that is admitted to the instrument is primarily a function of the duty cycle (fraction or percent of the cycle during which the reed is open). The pressure wave is a result of the reed's opening and closing action. The low pressure is a result of the reed's movement from an open state to a closed state, not due to the narrow tip opening, as stated in the article.

ARTICLE SAYS: The wave of low-pressure air moves down the bore and arrives at the first open hole. COMMENT: Should say "The pressure wave moves ...".

ARTICLE: The outside air, at normal atmospheric pressure, is sucked in by the low pressure inside. The air that was previously leaving the clarinet through the hole changes direction quickly and enters the bore. COMMENT: This continues the confusion of air motion with wave motion. It is in fact the wave's motion that causes sound. When the high pressure pulse arrives at an opening (tone hole) some of the energy in the pressure wave is reflected back toward the mouthpiece in the form of a smaller pressure pulse which causes the reed to open (see below). This happens due to the change in impedance of the tube. The rest of the energy (all that's not reflected) escapes from the instrument and travels to the listener's ear. The article's statement that the air motion changes direction is wrong. The wave changes direction, but the air does not.

ARTICLE: The incoming air normalizes the pressure within the bore, starting at the open hole and moving back towards the mouthpiece. COMMENT: The notion that the air in the clarinet moves back toward the mouthpiece is incorrect and confusing. It's the wave, not the air, that moves back up the instrument.

ARTICLE: Once all the air in the bore is at atmospheric pressure (moving towards the mouthpiece), the difference in pressure between the two sides of the reed decreases and the reed returns to its original position. COMMENT: The air does not move toward the mouthpiece. The wave does. The article does not ever indicate that the reed deviated from it's normal position. This part of the explanation makes no sense.

ARTICLE: The moving column of air is stopped by the sudden collision with the pressurized air coming from the player's mouth. A wave of high-pressure air moves towards the first open hole. COMMENT: The "moving column of air" is not stopped -- and it's not moving back toward the player's mouth. What happens is that the high pressure wave causes the reed to rebound open from the facing, this admitting a fresh pulse of high pressure air. Then the reed closes again and produces a low pressure area. These waves continue to be reflected up and down the instrument. The article confuses the motion of the air and the motion of the wave in the bore.

ARTICLE SAYS: When the high-pressure air arrives at the open hole, the air coming into the bore abruptly changes direction and goes out through the hole.

   The high pressure normalizes and the cycle restarts.

COMMENT: Again, the explanation confuses air motion with wave motion.

- B Smith - URL - — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bsmith0000 (talkcontribs) 22:46, 26 December 2011 (UTC)


In the 6th paragraph of Acoustics mention is made of 1-2-3-1-2 fingers; only a clarinet player would understand what that means. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Are you saying you don't understand which fingers are your first, second, and third? Powers T 15:30, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Pianists start counting with the thumb; violinists omit the thumb (for obvious reasons), and start counting with the index finger. Therefore, what a pianist calls "2" is what the violinist calls "1". On the clarinet, the left thumb is an operative finger, but the right thumb is not. Do you call the left thumb "1", or use some alternative designation, such as "0" or "T"? If the former, is the right thumb also numbered "1" for the sake of consistency, even though it has to finger hole or (except on some extended-range instruments) key? Do right-hand finger numbers begin again from 1, or continue after the last left-hand finger (4 or 5, thus continuing 5-6-7-8, or 6-7-8-9)? The point is, only a clarinet player would likely know the answer to these questions.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:07, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
As far as I know, the piano use of 1 to refer to the right thumb (or, worse, left pinky) is unique to that instrument. For everyone else your "first finger" is clearly the index finger. Powers T 18:18, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Speaking as a woodwind player myself, I have to say, "It ain't necessarily so." Fingering charts are notoriously variable on precisely this point, so I am in agreement with on this one: a clarification is in order.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:25, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

I would agree with Jerome Kohl and the unsigned comment except that it seems to me the finger numbers are superfluous here anyway. Actually, the entire passage is fairly garbled. Here it is:

"The register key, when pressed, cancels the fundamental frequency scale and forces the clarinet to produce the next dominant harmonic scale a twelfth higher, and when using at least fingers 1-2-3 1-2, taking off the first finger on the left hand, acts as another register key, and doesn't overblow a twelfth, but instead a sixth.".

Better to say something like: The lower register plays fundamentals, whereas the upper register, aided by the the register key, plays third harmonics, a perfect twelfth higher the than the fundamentals. The first several notes of the altissimo range, aided by the register key and venting with the first left-hand hole, play fifth harmonics, a major seventeenth (that is a perfect twelfth plus a major sixth) above the fundamentals. TheScotch (talk) 07:55, 27 October 2012 (UTC)


I've edited the categories: Removed the category "Reed Aerophone" since the category "Clarinet" is already a sub-cat of that. Added back the category "Clarinetists" since this type of categorization, while it doesn't make sense in a Venn-diagram way, is commonly used in Wikipedia to connect related articles. - Special-T (talk) 15:17, 24 February 2012 (UTC)