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.

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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.


Clarinet range

Frequency Range

146 Hz – 2.1 kHz

Tube Length

60 cm

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.

Did you know?

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


More about the clarinet


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Series Advisor Steven Stucky talks with Samuel Coles (Principal Flute) and Mark van de Wiel (Joint Principal Clarinet) about Lutosławski's use of chance in his compositions

The Orchestral Woodwind Section: An Introduction

The woodwind section is one of the most sonically diverse sections of the orchestra. Find out all of their secrets in this film.

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