Bass Clarinet

Larger and differently shaped than the standard clarinets, the bass clarinet has a darker timbre that composers often exploit for expressions of gloom and doom, as Mahler does in his Sixth Symphony.

Instrument: Bass Clarinet

In this film, Laurent Ben Slimane introduces his instrument - the bass clarinet. Why not download our iPad app, 'The Orchestra', to learn even more? Visit for more information.

The Philharmonia's Principal Bass Clarinet's Chair endowed by Philip and Judy Green.

For more information on Chair Endowments, please visit:

However, the bass clarinet also shares the higher clarinets' wood-rich glow and can provide a satisfyingly comforting sound. Like a saxophone (which was influenced by the earlier bass clarinet), the instrument has a metal upturned bell and a curved metal crook to which the mouthpiece is attached, but it retains the maple-wood body. Another adjective that gets applied to the bass clarinet is goblin-esque - for its startlingly subtle dynamic control.

Fact File

Did you know?

One of the earliest solo passages for bass clarinet occurs in Mercadante's 1834 opera Emma d'Antiochia,

Frequency Range

69 - 932 Hz

Tube Length

132 cm