The word Clarinet is derived from the Italian word clarino meaning trumpet with the suffix –et which means little. Thus, the name clarinet or little trumpet. In jazz, it is also called liquorice stick. A person who plays it is a clarinetist.
The Clarinet is usually wooden and vertically played. It has a wider bore which has a single reed and this, when activated, vibrates against a removable mouthpiece. Traditionally, the wood used is granadilla wood from South America, Africa, or Asia. Nowadays, it is most common as a B-flat clarinet which is about sixty centimeters in length.
Its roots can be traced back to the Middle Ages where single-reeds or hornpipes were used in Europe and in the Middle East. The contemporary clarinet was from the chalumeau, an instrument likened to the recorder but with a single-reed.
It lacked a register key so, on the 1800’s, it was modified and one of the keys became a register key. This gave rise to the clarinet. It was primarily known as the clarinetto. Some say that the inventor was Jacob Denner while some claim that it was his father, Johann Christoph Denner.
What does a clarinet need?
Superior equipment is very important for the clarinet as it is for other instruments. The most important equipment of the clarinet is the mouthpiece. Of course, it is where air is blown into to produce music. Aside from that, it contains and controls the reed. Although they may have the same raw materials and the same method of manufacture, no two mouthpieces are alike so choosing the mouthpiece is very crucial.
Second is the state of the clarinet and third is the reed. As we all know, any musical instrument which is not at the right state will not play right or will not play at all. The reed is also very important because it is the part that vibrates and causes the production of sound. The clarinet itself comes in fourth.
Construction of clarinets
The clarinet is a closed cylindrical air passage which has an opening in the shape of a bell at one end. It has mouthpiece with a single reed which is made of cane. The reed should be at least three millimeters in thickness and around sixty-nine millimeters long for the clarinets in the United States. The clarinet body is normally made of wood. The B-flat clarinet has a three-octave range and is around sixty centimeters long while bass clarinets are ninety-four centimeters.
Common music genres with clarinets
The clarinet is an essential element of the customary orchestral instrumentation in classical music. To showcase the clarinet, a lot of chamber music and clarinet concertos were made such as those by Mozart. The one of the most common practices is the use of different kinds of the instrument to have a colorful variety but it is also widely used in solos for classics.
In the early jazz, the clarinet was a vital instrument and it remained famous in the time of the big band. It was used by swing clarinetist like Artie Shaw and also by jazz musicians namely Alcide Nunez and Louis Nelson Delisle. But as the big bands’ popularity faded, so did the clarinets central position in jazz.
It was also used in pop and rock music. Its diversity in the sound production gave it a chance on many genres. It could produce a softer or a louder volume which would make it able to create varied beats and melodies. An example in the pop and rock would be the clarinet trio in When I’m Sixty-Four by The Beatles.