Interesting facts about clarinets


The clarinet is a family of woodwind instruments.

The clarinet body is made up of a single-reed mouthpiece, barrel, upper joint, pads, keys, ring key, rod, lower joint, and bell.

Making a sound with the clarinet is easier than making a sound with many other wind instruments.

Blowing through the reed makes the reed vibrate, and therefore makes the noise. The body of the clarinet is a cylindrical tube with holes. The holes are covered by the fingers to make musical
notes. There are also buttons pressed by the fingers which allow pads over holes to open or close so all notes of the chromatic scale can be played. The buttons are usually played with the “pinkie”


Clarinets come in many different sizes, with different pitch ranges.

Most modern clarinet bodies are made out of African blackwood. It is this heavy, dark wood that gives clarinets their characteristic color.

When wood is harvested for clarinet-making, logs are sawed to between 1 and 1.2 m (3 and 4 feet) in length.

Clarinet manufacturing itself is a fairly conservative industry, relying on highly skilled craftspeople who do much work by hand. Most of the innovations in clarinet design are now 100 years


Though there are more than a dozen different modern clarinet types, the most common ones used in orchestras and bands are the B flat and A clarinets.

The clarinet has its roots in the early single-reed instruments or hornpipes used in Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, Middle East, and Europe since the Middle Ages, such as the albogue, alboka, and double clarinet.

The modern clarinet developed from a Baroque instrument called the chalumeau. This instrument was similar to a recorder, but with a single-reed mouthpiece and a cylindrical bore.


Around the turn of the 18th century, the chalumeau was modified by converting one of its keys into a register key to produce the first clarinet. This development is usually attributed to German instrument maker Johann Christoph Denner, though some have suggested his son Jacob Denner was the inventor.

During the Late Baroque era, composers such as Bach and Handel were making new demands on the skills of their trumpeters, who were often required to play difficult melodic passages in the high, or as it came to be called, clarion register.

Since the trumpets of this time had no valves or pistons, melodic passages would often require the use of the highest part of the trumpet’s range, where the harmonics were close enough together to produce scales of adjacent notes as opposed to the gapped scales or arpeggios of the lower register.


Clarinets were used in most large orchestras from about 1780.

A number of clarinet concertos have been written to showcase the instrument, with the concerti by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Aaron Copland and Carl Maria von Weber being particularly well known.

The clarinet was originally a central instrument in jazz, beginning with the New Orleans players in the 1910s. It remained a signature instrument of jazz music through much of the big band era into the 1940s.

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


A person who plays a clarinet is called a clarinetist (sometimes spelled clarinettist).

Ivory was used for a few 18th-century clarinets, but it tends to crack and does not keep its shape well.

Today, beginner clarinets usually range in cost from $500 to $1100. Intermediate, or step-up clarinets usually range in cost $1,300 to $2,800 and entry level pro clarinets (still largely played by advanced students) around $2000 and up.


The Selmer Paris Model 41 Contrabass Clarinet is the most expensive clarinet in the world at $35,775. It features a Bb bore, 33.9 mm pitch, and 442 range to low C. With adjustable silver-plated keys and bell neck, along with a Rosewood body, the clarinet provides rich tones. Considered a favorite in many college music programs, the Selmer Paris Model 41 Contrabass Clarinet offers afull, rich sound. It projects the perfect tone for a wind ensemble or military band.

The second most expensive clarinet in the world at $25,000 belonged to a very famous jazz musician Benny Goodman.


The most expensive clarinet ever sold in the 21st century was Benny Goodman’s clarinet. It was sold for $25,000.

The largest clarinet ensemble consists of 367 people, and was organised by Vanguel Tangarov, Victor Chavez, Jessica Harrie, Gary Sperl, Robert Walzel, and Mitchell Estrin (all USA), in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, on 26 July 2019.