©anødine - by alex rault
Presentation of the


Here is some important information to know about the instruments you will discover during the European Crafts Days exhibition.

The clarinet

Wind instrument of the woodwind family

Evolution of the instrument

Evolution of amedieval wind instrument called the chalumeau, the clarinet was invented around 1690 by Johann Christoph Denner in Nuremberg. He added a bell and two keys to it, allowing musicians to play in several registers, ranging from high to low. However, it was not until Ywan Müller’s modification in 1812 that the clarinetist was able to play the entire chromatic scale, i.e. 4 octaves and 48 notes.

In 1840, Louis-Auguste Buffet, thanks to research work done in collaboration with Hyacinthe Klosé, applied the Boehm movable ring key system devised for the flute, thus creating the modern clarinet. Indeed, this system is still used by most manufacturers.


Place of the instrument in the orchestra

Neighbor in the orchestra of… violins, flutes, horns

Some composers

The clarinet appeared and grew alongside classical music. Indeed, won over by its sound, many composers of the early 18th century incorporated it into their operas: Vivaldi (1678-1741), Telemann (1681-1767), Rameau (1683-1764), Mozart (1756-1791), etc. Subsequently, the richness of the artistic palette will allow the clarinet to renew itself in other musical genres such asjazz as in Benny Goodman’s (1909-1986) Sing sing sing, military, traditional or contemporary music.

Following his meeting with Anton Stadler, Mozart wrote in 1791 a concerto dedicated to this instrument.

Excerpt from the Clarinet Concerto K622
Excerpt from the Clarinet Concerto K622
Mozart - Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622, II. Adagio


The clarinet is a transposing instrument. Transposing means that an instrument plays one note written on the score, while it sounds another. For example, a G is heard when an A is played. This is the case with the so-called “B-flat” clarinet (the most common instrument), which is shifted by one tone from the reference C.


The clarinet isa wind instrument,so it is necessary to blow into the mouthpiece to produce the sound. This action produces acoustic waves due to the vibration of the column of air contained in the instrument. The fingers of the player, by plugging or opening the holes of the clarinet, will vary the length of the air column thus allowing the sound to be modulated.

The range of the clarinet extends over 4 octaves.

Listen to the sound

of the clarinet

Clarinet, instructions for use - Orchestre de Paris
Clarinet, instructions for use - Orchestre de Paris
[Figures de Notes] La clarinette, mode d’emploi

Holding the Instrument

Like almost all wind instruments, the clarinet is held with left hand at the top of the body (closer to the mouth) and the right hand at the bottom. On the lower body, a tab accommodates the right thumb that holds the instrument, and does not intervene in the playing. The fingertips press on the rings and keys to vary the sound.

Sources: the conservatory of Cergy Pontoise / Wikipedia

Instrument construction

Clarinet body

The clarinet is usually made of noble wood such as grenadilla or rosewood.

In the 1930s, Jazz used metal models.

In 1994, clarinets made of composite material appeared. This line of instruments was developed by Buffet Crampon under the name green Line and made from a material consisting of 95% ebony powder and 5% carbon fiber. These clarinets reportedly have the advantages of wood without the disadvantages: they retain the tone of ebony instruments, gain in lightness, and are less prone to splitting.


Clarinet keys.

The keys are made of silver, nickel, or gold plated nickel silver.