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date: 20 October 2019

Clarinet (Fr. clarinette; Ger. Klarinette; It. clarinetto)locked

  • Janet K. Page,
  • K.A. Gourlay,
  • Roger Blench
  •  and Nicholas Shackleton


(Fr. clarinette; Ger. Klarinette; It. clarinetto)

Generic term for a wind instrument sounded by a single beating reed; in the system of Hornbostel and Sachs such an instrument is classified as an Aerophone: reedpipe, with a reed consisting of a single percussion lamella. The clarinet of Western art music (from which the generic term is taken) is of essentially cylindrical bore and is made in a variety of sizes and tonalities; the soprano instrument pitched in B♭, with the ‘Boehm system’ of keywork and fingering, is the most widely used today (see §II below).

See also Organ stop.

A clarinet consists of a closed tube with a single beating reed; such instruments are widely distributed and exist in a variety of forms. The tube is usually cylindrical, but occasionally funnel-shaped or ending in a bell. A clarinet may be idioglot, with the reed cut from the material of the tube itself and left attached at one end (the reed is sometimes held slightly away from the tube by a hair or straw inserted across the slit at the base) or heteroglot, with the reed, often made of a different material, tied or otherwise fastened on. An idioglot reed may be up-cut (with the reed cut upwards) or down-cut (towards the top of the tube, with the vibrating end facing the bottom of the tube)....

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Early Music
Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
J.G. Walther: Musicalisches Lexicon, oder Musicalische Bibliothec
W. Waterhouse: The New Langwill Index: a Dictionary of Musical Wind-Instrument Makers and Inventors
Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Musiksammlung
Musical Times
Galpin Society Journal
Perspectives of New Music
Music & Letters
Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society
P.T. Young: 4900 Historical Woodwind Instruments (London, 1993) [enlarged 2nd edn of Twenty Five Hundred Historical Woodwind Instruments (New York, 1982)]
Studies in Music [Australia]
Music Review
Die Musikforschung