The clarinet is a single reed woodwind instrument with a cylindrical bore. The Bb clarinet is the most commonly used clarinet and the one on which beginners start.60 centimeters (23.6 inches) long and has a range of more than three octaves. The clarinet is most often made from grenadilla wood. Some are also made of plastic and metal. Plastic clarinet are made for the beginning student and for outdoor use. The metal clarinet is made exclusively for outdoor performance.
The clarinet family in order from the highest to the lowest pitched instruments consists of the following is D clarinet, Eb clarinet, Bb clarinet, A clarinet, Alto clarinet in Eb, Bass clarinet in Bb, Contra-alto clarinet in Eb, and Contrabass clarinet in Bb. All of these clarinets function the same from instruments to instruments. The fingering remains basically the same from one the other, although the spread of the fingers differs with the size of the particular clarinet. Because of the the varying mouthpiece and reed size, there must be some emboucher adjustment from instrument to instrument.
The invention of clarinet around 1700 is credited to the Nuremberg instrument maker Johann Christian Denner. The first know reference to Denner and the clarinet was made by J.S Doppelmeyer in his Historische Nachricht von den Nurburgischen Mathematicis und kunstlern in 1730, at the beginning of the present century he (Denner) invented a new sort of pipe and the so called Clarinette, to the great satisfaction of music lovers.
The Predecessor of the clarinet was the chalumeau, a present pipe with a single reed attached to a tapered mouthoiece. The word chalumeau derives from the latin calamus, a small reed, or from the greek calane, a reed pipe. The chalumeau had no barrel or bell and was mush shorter than the modern clarinet. The instruments usually had seven hole, and its range was an octave plus one note ( from f to g1). It did not overblow into the upper register.
Denner’s new instrument, the clarinet had a bell and wider bore and was longer than the Chalumeau. The barrel and the mouthpiece were made in one piece. This instrument had eight holes and two keys placed at the upper end exactly opposite each other, one on the front to be played by the thumb and producing a¹. By using both keys at the same time, a very poor-sounding b (natural¹) was produce. The thumb key also served as the speaker (register) key, allowing the clarinet to overblow a twelft. This made it possible to play from f to d³.
Denner and his son continued to experiment with and improve their clarinet. The upper register was difficult to obtain and produce an imperfect scale. By placing the thumb hole higher and norrowing it, they changed the notes the first two keys played, creating the basic arrangement of the modern clarinet. The index finger key by itself played a¹ and the two key together produced Bb¹. They also inserted a small metal sleeve into the speaker key hole, penetrating the collection of water in that tone hole.
The improvement created a serious problem. B (natural ¹) could be played only by lipping down the C², with very poor results. Around 1740 Denner’s son Jacob is generally cerdited with sloving this problem by lengthening the clarinet, adding a bell at the bottom for resonance, and adding a key to be played by the fourth finger or thumb of the right hand. This key covered a hole added near the bottom of the lower joint that produced a low E and, by adding the register key B¹ a twelfth higher. This improvement allowed the clarinet to play a complete range of almost three octaves from low E to C³.
The Clarinet continued to have problems chromatically. Half steps produced by fork fingerings often did not speak well, and some notes were basically unobtainable. Several instruments makers worked on this problem, and a five-key clarinet appeared around 1760. Two new keys had been added on the lower joint of the instrument, producing G#/D#² and F#/C#².
Music written for the clarinet began to appear by the middle of the eighteenth century. Vivaldi composed three concerti grossi that include two clarinets in C and two oboes. Handel wrote an overture for two clarinet in D and corno di caccia in 1748. Johann Christian Bach used the clarinet during the 1760s in the wind symphonies he wrote for outdoor concerts in Vauxhall Gardens.
The earliest clarinet concertos were written by Johann Melchior Molter for the three-key clarinet in D. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Wroten six sonatas for clarinet, bassoon, and harpsichord. These works emphasized the upper register of the clarinet, with little use of chalumeau (lower) range.
The clarinet was continually being improve by means of experiments in the size of the bore, the diameter, the taper, and the undercutting of the tone holes. This changed the character of the clarinet and resulted in works using both registers freely. Many of these concerto, by such composers as karl Stamitz, Ernst Eichner, and Georg Fux, were written for the members of the Mannhein Orchestra, which began using two clarinets around 1760.
The Viennese clarinet virtuoso Anton Stadler, working with the instrument maker T. Lotz, lengthened the clarinet, extending the range down to a low c. It was for this clarinet, called the “basset clarinet”, that Mozart wrote the original version of his great concerto, K.622. There is evidence that the Quintet for Clarinet and strings was also written for stadler’s basset clarinet.
During this time, the clarinetist needed to prosess a set of clarinet in several different keys, most often in C, Bb, and A. Each clarinet had its own sound character and would play more fluently in its home key and closely related keys. This was due in part because the pads used on these clarinets were made of felt and did not close the holes as tightly as modern-day pads. This encourage the players to used the clarinet that would use the least number ok keys in a performance.
Sometime around 1791. Jean Xavier Lefevre, a clarinet virtuoso from Paris, added a sixth key, producing C#¹/G#². This was done simultaneously bu several other instrument makers as well. Moreover, several clarinetists and instrument makers were experimenting with a variety of keys. When sphor wrote his Clarinet Concerto No. 1 for Johann Simon Hermstedt, he requested that the soloist use a clarinet with thirteen keys. Heinrich Baermann, for whom Weber wrote his concertos, had a ten-keyed instrument.
Iwan Muller, a Parisian born in Rusia, introduced a newly designed thirteen-key clarinet in 1812. His method of making the clarinet was revolutionary : the tone holes were all contersucks as opposed to being built up above the tone hole, and he used pads made of leather filled with wool held in a hollow cup. This not only insured the covering of the hole but also improve the acoustic result. Muller claimed that this clarinet, in Bb, could play in any key with equals ease.
In 1812 Muller attempted to have his new instruments adopted as the officially accepted clarinet by the Paris Conservatoire. However, the members of the committee rejected his instrument because they felt that each clarinet has its own musical character and sound and this should be preserved. This clearly contradicted the practice of most composers to write for the clarinet that played most easily in key of their work, regardless of the character of their music.
Although Muller had to close down his instrument shop in Paris as a result of this rejection, he toured England, Holland, and Germany with his new instrument, establising it as the finest clarinet yet produced. He continued to experiment with new key and made use of cord to hold the reed on mouthpiece, using a metal ligature similar to those in use today.
The final major change in the development of the clarinet was a combination of work by three people. Theobald Boehm revoluctionized the flute by designing a completely new key system for that instrument. He added a series of ring keys that circles the finger holes and, when depressed, covered an additional hole at a distance from the finger hole. Hyacinthe Klose suggested to the instrument maker Louis Bufet that a clarinet could be made using this so- called Boehm system. Working together, they produced a clarinet with seventeen keys and six rings that controlled twenty-four tone holes. The Klose-Bufet Clarinet, presented at the Paris exhibition in 1839, is essentially the instrument used today in most of the world, including the United States.
Muller clarinet served as the basis for two other important fingering systems, one made by Albert of Brussels, the other made by Oskar Oehler an instrument maker from Berlin. Albert’s clarinet system, also called the “simple-system” first appeared around the 1850s and had models with thirteen keys and with fourteen keys. The fourteen-key model was used by the great English clarinetist Henry Lazarus and was very popular in England and Belgium well into the twentieth century. Over several years during the first part of the twentieth century, Oehler added some of the Boehm system advantages to Muller’s instrument, As well, he made other improvements involving the shape and position of the keys and worked on perfecting the general mechanism of the clarinet. This “Oehler” system clarinet is the instrument used in Germany today. Clarinetists and instrument makers have made many other experiments but the Boehm and the Oehler system clarinets remain the basis for these experiments and are the instruments used by clarinetists around the world.
ASSEMBLY OF THE CLARINET
The five parts of the clarinet are the mouthpiece, the barrle, the upper joint, the lower joint and the bell. Before assembling the clarinet, check to see that all the corks have enough cork grease on them to slide easily into their counterparts. If the corks are dry or sticky, take a small amount of cork grease and spread it around the cork with your finger. As the clarinet is being assembled, the reed should be placed in the player’s mouth or in a glass of water to moisten it. Water makes reed supple so it can vibrate freely.
The most efficient way to assemble the upper and lower joints of the clarinet with the idea of preventing mechanical problems is probably too difficult for young students to manage because their hands are too small. Nevertheless, i will describe this produce and then give an alternative for younger students to use until they are able to master the first procedure.
Begin assembling the clarinet by placing the lower joint in the right hand with the rings and hole facing upward and the top of the joint facing away from the body. Position the right thumb over the keypad located just below key 17#. Rest the palm of the hand over the keypad directly below. Extend the fingers to the other side of the joint, resting them on the single keypad located there. Be careful not to put pressure on any of the key mechanisms or connecting rods. This grip helps set the pads and prevent the bending of any of the rods or key mechanisms, which can result in the pads not covering and the key getting out of adjustment. An alternative for younger students is to grip the lower joint with the thumb positioned below the thumb rest and the fingers grasping the body of the instrument over the key rings.
Take the upper joint into the palm of the left hand with the rings and holes facing upward. Place the ring finger on the lowest ring, which, when depressed, raises the bridge key extending over the cork on the bottom end of that joint. Insert the upper joint tenon into the lower joint in a twisting motion until the joints are flush together and the upper bridge key is exactly lined up with the lower bridge key. Always use a twisting motion and do not pust them together.
Now cradle the two joints in the palm of the right hand with the thumb rest against the right thumb. Take the bell with left hand and twist it onto the bottom of the lower joint until the two pieces are flush together.
Now, assembly the bell with the lower joint and twist slowly.
Continue the assembly, take the three assembled pieces with the left hand around the upper joint, again being careful not to bend any key mechanisme. Take the barrel in the right hand and twist the wider end of the barrel onto the upper joint’s top tenon until the two pieces are flush together and the labels are lined up. Be careful to put the left hand around the upper joint. If the left hand goes around the lower joint, the alignment of the bridge key will be disturbed and there is a risk of bending key in the area between the upper and lower joints.
To complete the assembly, take the assembled parts with the left hand around the upper joint. With the right hand, take the mouthpiece without the reed, ligature, or cap and twist it into the top of the barrel, lining up the hole in the mouthpiece with the register key on the back of the clarinet.
The complete assembling the clarinet ;
PLACEMENT OF THE REED AND LIGATURE
The ligature holds the reed in place on the mouthpiece. The widest part of the ligature is the bottom, and the screws are always on the right side. Some ligatures are made with the screws on the reed side of the mouthpiece and some with the screws on the opposite side.
To attach the reed to the mouthpiece, place the moistened reed on the mouthpiece with the flat side of the reed resting on the flatbed of the mouthpiece and the thin part of the pointing toward the tip of the mouthpiece. Line up the tip of the reed with the tip of the mouthpiece with just a hint of the mouthpiece visible over the tip of the reed. Hold the bottom of the reed in place with the left thumb and take the ligature in the right hand with the wide end of the ligature on the bottom.
Slide the ligature over the top of the mouthpiece, being careful not to damage the reed. The ligature should be moved down onto the mouthpiece and over the reed until the top of the ligature sits just below the line on the mouthpiece. If there is a problem moving the ligature low enough on the mouthpiece, loosen the screws until the ligature is able to rest below the line on the mouthpiece. When the ligature is in place, tighten the bottom screw securely. The top screw should be tightened securely, then loosened one turn back. This allows the reed more freedom to vibrate but keeps the reed in place on the mouthpiece.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
The day to day care of the clarinet is important. After playing, the collected saliva and condensation inside the clarinet must be cleaned with the clarinet swab. A clarinet swab is generally made of cloth, often cotton oe linen, with a long string with a weight attached at the end. There are many types of swabs, but they all fit this general description.
The clarinet should be cleaned out each time it is put away. To clean out the clarinet, take it apart and put it in the case. With the exception of the mouthpiece, take each piece of the clarinet one at a time, put the weighted end of the swab through each piece and slowly pull the swab through it. Be especially careful with the upper joint to pull the swab slowly so it does not get caught on the register key vent inside. As the the swab is pulled through, wipe the joint dry. Blow air through the tone holes to clear any moisture. If there is a great deal of moisture in any tone hole, take a piece of ungummed cigarette paper and place it under the pad to soak up the excess condensation.
To clean the mouthpiece, remove the ligature and reed. Take the cloth end of the swab and twist is so it can be fed through the mouthpiece. Gently swab back the forth with the cloth, absorbing the collected moisture. Do not feed the weight through the mouthpiece, as you risk chipping the end of the mouthpiece. If the drawstring is continually passed over the end of the mouthpiece, it will gradually reface the mouthpiece as the string slowly wears away the tip of the mouthpiece.
Often while one is playing the clarinet, condensation will build up in one of the tone holes, usually the pad of either the C#/G# or the Eb¹/Bb² key or somewhere else in the upper joint. This will cause a fuzzy tone on these notes or a squeak. When this happens, try to blow the water out of the hole. If the problem persists, again take a piece of ungummed cigarette paper and soak up the water. If this does not slove the problem, take the clarinet apart and pick up the upper joint the left hand. Close the tone holes with the left fingers and stop up the end of the joint with the palm of the right hand.
Hold open the key above the hole where the water problem is located and blow in the and out throught the top of the upper joint. Any water lurking in the tone hole will either be blown out the tone hole or drawn into the inside of the upper joint. To pick up any condensation drawn inside, run the swab through the joint once again.
To avoid excess water in the clarinet during performance, it is wise to swab the clarinet out between movements of a piece or during long periods of rest. The clarinetist should always have a swab and a piece of cigarette paper within reach during performance.
Long-Term maintenance should include the following :
· Dust carefully under the keys with a clean, narrow paintbrush a few times each month. Gently clean out each tone hole with a pipe cleaner. Dirt from the fingers builds up in the tone holes and will eventually affect intonation. Do not disturb any tape added to the tone holes for tuning purposes. The player hands should be washed before playing the clarinet to help avoid this problem. Apply oil to the metal contact point every month or so. Use a drop of light key oil on each metal contact, being careful not to let it get onto any key of the pads.
Keep the corks greased. The fit of the joints will vary with the humidity. When the weather is humid, the corks expand the lift becomes tighter and may require cork grease on a more regular basis. When the weather is dry, the cork shrink and the fit becomes looser. In this case, be careful not to put too much cork grease on the corks, as they might come apart during a performance. Keep the corks greased so there is a firm fit between the joints without any risk of the part becoming stuck together.