Evolution Of The Clarinet Essay

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The clarinet as we know it today did not have keys to begin with. It only had holes. The clarinet comes from its ancestor, the chalumeau, which was essentially a recorder with a clarinet mouthpiece and a reed. The evolution of the clarinet has occurred in 6 major stages. The clarinet begins with the chalumeau, then to the 2-key clarinet, 5-key clarinet, 13-key clarinet, 17-key clarinet, and the modern day clarinet. The chalumeau originated in France and then spread into Germany by the late seventeenth century. The chalumeau was the term to generalize any small, reed blown pipe. The instrument was made out of cane, had six holes, about eight inches long, and the mouthpiece for the chalumeau was built onto the body. Another hole was added to the back of the chalumeau, the thumb hole,…show more content…
These modifications helped develop the clarinet. The extra length helped with the intonation of the instrument and helped develop a more mature tone. The bell supported a wider dynamic range of the instrument, and the removable mouthpiece was designed in order to use different types of wood in order to get different timbres out of the instrument (Gabucci). This instrument is called the 2-key clarinet. This then lead way to another modification of the clarinet in order to gain even more control of the instrument. Keep in mind that up until this point, the mouthpiece was attached to the body, but not anymore. After this point in history, they created removable mouthpieces that allowed the player to select a different mouthpiece in order to achieve a different timbre. Mouthpieces were made out of ivory, metal, glass, and ebonite. Each one had distinct features and timbres. Also, reeds were made by the player. This allowed the reed to be totally determined by the player which helped create a unique timbre for each and every musician. Pre-made reeds did not exist until the 20th century

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