COVID-19 update: all live concerts to the beginning of August 2020 are sadly cancelled; help secure the future of the orchestra through our Keep the Philharmonia Playing appeal.

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Clarinets are known for their smooth, creamy tone: warm and resonant low down, bright and clear up high.


Instrument: Clarinet

In this film, Mark van de Wiel introduces his instrument - the clarinet.

The Philharmonia’s Principal Clarinet Chair is endowed by the Philharmonia Orchestra and Friends of the Philharmonia Orchestra in memory of Clem Relf.

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The clarinet’s plaintive, clear sound can be perfect for a romantic melody or when agitated for creating angular accented textures and effects. They can make a surprisingly loud sound or play incredibly softly. Clarinets are also associated with the sound of jazz and are perfect for producing the typically rhythmic, swooping, rippling sounds of traditional jazz and swing.

Clarinets come in many shapes and sizes, from tiny high pitched sopranino clarinets to the largest contrabass instruments which can play lower than a double bass.

Frequency Range

146 Hz – 2.1 kHz

Tube Length

60 cm

Why not download our iPad app, ‘The Orchestra’, to learn even more?

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Did you know?

The clarinet was invented in 1690 by Johann Denner in Nuremberg, Germany.