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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.

Bass clarinet
Video

Instrument: Bass Clarinet

In this film, Laurent Ben Slimane introduces his instrument - the bass clarinet.

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

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Introduction

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.

Frequency Range

69 – 932 Hz

Tube Length

132 cm

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Did you know?

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