Clarinet History

Topics: Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon Pages: 1 (260 words) Published: August 26, 2012
Before the clarinet, the first true reed instrument was called the chalumeau, which was used my musicians in the 1600s. Johann Christoph Denner and his son improved the chalumeau by inventing the speaker key. By doing this, he gave the instrument a greater register and he was recognized as the inventor of the clarinet and the predecessor of the chalumeau. Unlike any other woodwind instruments, the clarinet has a cylindrical bore to give its distinct sound. Shortly before 1700, he invented the register key, increasing the range of the chalumeau. This allowed pitches a 12th above the lower register to be produced. The cylindrical shape of the clarinet, combined with a closed ended mouthpiece (unlike the flute) allows the clarinet from producing the even numbered harmonics. This accounts for its unique timbre. Baroque clarinets had only two keys, and were made of boxwood, plum, ebony, pear, or ivory. The keys and the springs were most of the time, made of brass. During the 1700s, the clarinet went under lots of improvements and innovations. The cut or shapes of the holes were experimented on to see how it affects the sound of the clarinet. The keys were also altered; Iwan Muller developed the 13 key models. In the 1800s, the Boehm fingering system that was developed by Theobald Boehm for the flute was used for the clarinet by Hyacinthe Klose and Auguste Buffet. This is the same fingering chart this is used today, but there are other fingering systems being used.


First Basset Horn (Bass clarinet), 1770

Moussetter, 1785
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