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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E Flat Clarinet

The E flat clarinet, sometimes known as the piccolo clarinet (‘small clarinet’), plays considerably higher than the B flat clarinet.

E Flat Clarinet

Instrument: E Flat Clarinet

In this film, Jennifer McLaren introduces her instrument - the e flat clarinet.


With considerably more projection than the larger B flat clarinet, and a particularly piercing sound, intonation in the higher register is a particularly fine art, as there are numerous finger combinations for each note. Because the E flat clarinet is one of the most exposed instruments in the orchestra, much of the writing for the instrument is soloistic and requires a player with a great deal of courage and rock-solid technique.

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

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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,