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Sunday, 4 May 2014


The word clarinet is a diminutive of 'clarino,' the Italian for trumpet. The reason for the name was that its strident quality in the upper register sounded from far off not unlike a trumpet.

The clarinet evolved from the chalumeau, a somewhat coarse-toned instrument with a single reed, two keys, and seven fingerholes, developed at the end of the 17th-century.

It was invented by German woodwind instrument maker Johann Christoph Denner (1655 – 1707) by adding a register key to the chalumeau.

Early clarinets, which had either two or three keys, were used as early as the 1720s by Handel and Vivaldi, among other composers. Weaknesses of this early clarinet--with its faults of intonation and weak register--led to improvements in the 19th century.

Mozart wrote numerous pieces for the clarinet. He liked the sound of the instrument as he considered its tone the closest in quality to the human voice.

The clarinet was originally a central instrument in jazz, but its place in the jazz ensemble was usurped by the saxophone, which projects a more powerful sound and uses a less complicated fingering system.

Making a sound with the clarinet is easier than making a sound with many other musical instruments. A beginner clarinet player usually can play a note within the first ten minutes of instruction.

Sources Wikipedia, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

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