Soprano Clarinet

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The soprano clarinet is a single-reed woodwind instrument of the clarinet family. This aerophone is higher in register than the typical alto Bb clarinet that are the most commonly found in orchestras. The soprano clarinet is the second highest in register after the piccolo clarinet and it can come in several tunings including G, A and Bb.
History of the Soprano Clarinet
The soprano clarinet has a history that dates back to the 17th century when German instrument maker Johann Cristoph Denner invented and patented the design for the first clarinet in the late 17th century and compositions for this instrument began to appear in the early 18th century. Woodwind instruments including the chalumeau were already in widespread use, however this new instrument featured an alto key register that allowed the clarinet to cover more than two octaves. Other instrument makers later added metal keys and the clarinet was quickly adopted by composers in the 18th century like Mozart and Beehthoven. It is not known when the soprano clarinet first evolved from Denner’s early designs but many instrument makers worked on perfected the clarinet’s design in the early 18th century. The Eb clarinet is the instrument that is most commonly referred to as a soprano clarinet, however, the concert Bb has also been considered a soprano. Since the differences in these instruments are so slight, the Eb clarinet has also been labeled a sopranino clarinet and piccolo clarinet. The Eb soprano clarinet has a limited use in classical compositions so it is most frequently found and heard in clarinet bands and clarinet choirs.
Inventor: Johann Christoph Denner

Where to Buy

£150 - £1,000

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How to Play

A wind instrument played by blowing air into a mouthpiece and covering the tone holes to change the pitch of the sound produced.

In Popular Music

Rainbow Connection' by Kermit the frog in The Muppet Movie (1979) features a soprano clarinet. American composer George Gershwin also included a soprano clarinet in his 'Rhapsody In Blue'.

Famous Players

Sidney Bechet, Artie Shaw

Close Relations

Bb Clarinet, Alto Clarinet
Video Credit: Gear4music Guitars
Understanding the Soprano Clarinet
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18th century

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Woodwind

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