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CLARINA—CLARINET

which combine graceful melody with contrapuntal learning, were much admired by Cherubini. They appear to have been admired by Handel also, since he did not hesitate to make appropriations from them. Clari composed one opera, Il Savio delirante, produced at Bologna in 1695, and a large quantity of church music, several specimens of which were printed in Novello’s Fitzwilliam Music.


CLARINA, a comparatively new instrument of the wood-wind class (although actually made of metal), a hybrid possessing characteristics of both oboe and clarinet. The clarina was invented by W. Heckel of Biebrich-am-Rhein, and has been used since 1891 at the Festspielhaus, Bayreuth, in Tristan und Isolde, as a substitute for the Holztrompete made according to Wagner’s instructions. The clarina has been found more practical and more effective in producing the desired tone-colour. The clarina is a metal instrument with the conical bore and fingering of the oboe and the clarinet single-reed mouthpiece. The compass of the instrument is as shown, and it stands in the key of B♭. Like the clarinet, the clarina is a transposing instrument, for which the music must be written in a key a tone higher than that of the composition. The timbre resulting from the combination of conical bore and single-reed mouthpiece has in the lowest register affinities with the cor anglais, in the middle with the saxophone, and in the highest with the clarinet. Other German orchestras have followed the example of Bayreuth. The clarina has also been found very effective as a solo instrument.  (K. S.) 

Notation.Real sounds.
Britannica Clarina Notation.jpg Britannica Clarina Real Sounds.jpg


CLARINET, or Clarionet (Fr. clarinette; Ger. Clarinette, Klarinett; Ital. clarinetto, chiarinetto), a wood-wind instrument having a cylindrical bore and played by means of a single-reed mouthpiece. The word “clarinet” is said to be derived from clarinetto, a diminutive of clarino, the Italian for (1) the soprano trumpet, (2) the highest register of the instrument, (3) the trumpet played musically without the blare of the martial instrument. The word “clarionet” is similarly derived from “clarion,” the English equivalent of clarino. It is suggested that the name clarinet or clarinetto was bestowed on account of the resemblance in timbre between the high registers of the clarino and clarinet. By adding the speaker-hole to the old chalumeau, J. C. Denner gave it an additional compass based on the overblowing of the harmonic twelfth, and consisting of an octave and a half of harmonics, which received the name of clarino, while the lower register retained the name of chalumeau. There is something to be said also in favour of another suggested derivation from the Italian chiarina, the name for reed instruments and the equivalent for tibia and aulos. At the beginning of the 18th century in Italy clarinetto, the diminutive of clarino, would be masculine, whereas chiarinetta or clarinetta would be feminine,[1] as in Doppelmayr’s account of the invention written in 1730. The word “clarinet” is sometimes used in a generic sense to denote the whole family, which consists of the clarinet, or discant corresponding to the violin, oboe, &c; the alto clarinet in E; the basset horn in F (q.v.); the bass clarinet (q.v.), and the pedal clarinet (q.v.).

Britannica Clarinet Albert Model.jpg
Fig. 1.—Clarinet
(Albert Model).

The modern clarinet consists of five (or four) separate pieces: (1) the mouthpiece; (2) the bulb; (3) the upper middle joint, or left-hand joint; (4) the lower middle joint, or right-hand joint[2]; (5) the bell; which (the bell excepted) when joined together, form a tube with a continuous cylindrical bore, 2 ft. or more in length, according to the pitch of the instrument. The mouthpiece, including the beating or single-reed common to the whole clarinet family, has the appearance of a beak with the point bevelled off and thinned at the edge to correspond with the end of the reed shaped like a spatula. The under part of the mouthpiece (fig. 2) is flattened in order to form a table for the support of the reed which is adjusted thereon with great nicety, allowing just the amount of play requisite to set in vibration the column of air within the tube.

The mouthpiece, which is subject to continual fluctuations of dampness and dryness, and to changes of temperature, requires to be made of a material having great powers of resistance, such as cocus wood, ivory or vulcanite, which are mostly used for the purpose in England. A longitudinal aperture 1 in. long and ½ in. wide, communicating with the bore, is cut in the table and covered by the reed. The aperture is thus closed except towards the point, where, for the distance of ⅓ to ¼ in., the reed is thinned and the table curves backwards towards the point, leaving a gap between the ends of the mouthpiece and of the reed of 1 mm. or about the thickness of a sixpence for the B flat clarinet. The curve of the table and the size of the gap are therefore of considerable importance. The reed is cut from a joint of the Arundo donax or sativa, which grows wild in the regions bordering on the Mediterranean. A flat slip of the reed is cut, flattened on one side and thinned to a very delicate edge on the other. At first the reed was fastened to the table by means of many turns of a fine waxed cord. The metal band adjusted by means of two screws, known as the “ligature,” was introduced about 1817 by Ivan Müller. The reed is set in vibration by the breath of the performer, and being flexible it beats against the table, opening and closing the gap at a rate depending on the rate of the vibrations it sets up in the air column, this rate varying according to the length of the column as determined by opening the lateral holes and keys. A cylindrical tube played by means of a reed has the acoustic properties of a stopped pipe, i.e. the fundamental tone produced by the tube is an octave lower than the corresponding tone of an open pipe of the same length, and overblows a twelfth; whereas tubes having a conical bore like the oboe, and played by means of a reed, speak as open pipes and overblow an octave. This forms the fundamental difference between the instruments of the oboe and clarinet families. Wind instruments depending upon lateral holes for the production of their scale must either have as many holes pierced in the bore as they require notes, or make use of the property possessed by the air-column of dividing into harmonics or partials of the fundamental tones. Twenty to twenty-two holes is the number generally accepted as the practical limit for the clarinet; beyond that number the fingering and mechanism become too complicated. The compass of the clarinet is therefore extended through the medium of the harmonic overtones. In stopped pipes a node is formed near the mouthpiece, and they are therefore only able to produce the uneven harmonics, such as the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, &c., corresponding to the fundamental, and the diatonic intervals of the 5th one octave above, and of the 3rd and 7th two octaves above the fundamental. By pressing the reed with the lip near the base where it is thicker and stiffer, and increasing the pressure of the breath, the air-column is forced to divide and to sound the

  1. See Gottfried Weber’s objection to this derivation in “Über Clarinette und Basset-horn,” Caecilia (Mainz, 1829), vol. xi. pp. 36 and 37, note.
  2. Nos. 3 and 4 are sometimes made in one, as for instance in Messrs Rudall, Carte & Company’s modification, the Klussmann patent.