The clarinet and its development



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This paper discusses the general history of the clarinet, beginning with the primitive single reed instruments of Egypt, India, and China. The development of the chalumeau (early name for the instrument) is traced to the 'invention' of the clarinet by Denner (ca. 1700). Further development of the clarinet during the 1700's, including the addition of keys, and its establishment as a member of the symphony orchestra by 1800 is also discussed. Mechanical and acoustical improvements of the instrument after 1800, beginning with the addition of more keys, including Mueller's thirteen- keyed system, are detailed. Materials used in the construction of clarinets are discussed. The Boehm system is traced through its development by Klose and Buffet. The Boehm clarinet of today is discussed showing the work that is still going on to perfect the system. Appendix I presents pictures of the important stages in the development of the clarinet. Appendix II gives musical examples of representative works for the clarinet.