The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers

By Arthur Elson | Go to book overview

L
THE CLARINETS

WHILE the instruments of the oboe family have two bits of reed in their mouthpieces, the clarinets have only one. This is a broad strip, narrowing at the top to a very sharp edge. It is attached to the mouthpiece of the instrument by two metallic bands provided with screws. The player presses the end of the reed against his lower lip while performing, and the vibrations of the reed cause the air-column in the tube to vibrate also, and produce the tone.

The early instruments known as shawms, and probably some of the old Greek auloi, were of this type. But the clarinet as we know it is due to Johann Christopher Denner, of Nuremburg, who perfected it in 1690. This instrument was improved by Stadler, of Vienna, and by Sax, of Paris; but it is not suited for the Boehm system of keys. The main part of its tube is cylindrical, which has some effect; but the size of the reed is really responsible. While the flute and oboe act like open pipes, the clarinet behaves like a stopped pipe, closed at one end. One result is a deeper pitch, the clarinet sounding an octave below a flute of the same size; while another effect is found in the fact that stopped pipes do not give the odd- numbered harmonies. This point is explained in the chapter on "Acoustics." The first harmonic, an octave above the normal tone in pitch, is used to get a second octave scale in the flute or oboe; but it does not exist on the clarinet. The over-blowing in the latter case causes the air-column to vibrate in thirds instead of halves, giving a rise in pitch of a twelfth instead of an octave. Thus a fingering based on octaves must be supplemented in some way.

The clarinet (German, Klarinette; French, clarinette; Italian, clarino) has six finger-holes, played by three fingers on each hand. These give the scale of G major, a fifth below that of the flute. There are extra keys to close holes at the end away from the mouthpiece, thus lengthening the air-column and lowering the compass to the E below middle C. The usual keys for sharps and flats are

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The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Part I - The Evolution of Music 1
  • Part I the Evolution of Music 2
  • I - Primitive and Savage Music 3
  • II - Greece and Rome 13
  • III - Early Christian Music 23
  • IV - The Minstrel Knights 31
  • V - The Schools of Counterpoint 42
  • VI - The Harmonic Style 58
  • Part II - The Great Composers 67
  • Part II the Great Composers 68
  • VII - Bach 69
  • VIII - Handel 77
  • IX - Gluck 85
  • X - Haydn 91
  • XI - Mozart 98
  • XII - Beethoven 108
  • XIII - Schubert 120
  • XIV - Weber and Romanticism 128
  • XV - Mendelssohn 135
  • XVI - Schumman 143
  • XVII - Chopin 151
  • XVIII - Italian Opera 158
  • XIX - Cherubini and French Opera 170
  • XX - Berlioz and Other Frenchmen 179
  • XXI - Liszt and His Circle 188
  • Part III - Musical Form 307
  • XXXI - Melody and Appreciation 309
  • XXXII - Figures and Phrases 317
  • XXXIII - The Song-Forms 324
  • XXXIV - The Rondos 331
  • XXXV - The Sonata-Allegro Form 336
  • XXXVI - Other Sonata Movements 341
  • XXXVII - The Orchestral Forms 345
  • XXXVIII Dances and Piano Styles - Dances and Piano Styles 351
  • XXXIX - The Vocal Forms 360
  • XL - The Contrapuntal Forms 366
  • Part IV - The Instruments 376
  • XLI - The Piano and Its Predecessors 377
  • XLII - The Organ 384
  • XLIII - The Voice 391
  • XLIV - The Violin 398
  • XLV - Other Bowed Instruments *
  • XLVI - Plucked-String Instruments 413
  • XLVII - Flute and Piccolo 420
  • XLVIII - Oboe and English Horn *
  • XLIX - The Bassoons 433
  • L the Clarinets 438
  • Li Horns, Trumpets, and Cornets 444
  • Lii Trombones and Tubas 450
  • Liii Instruments of Percussion 456
  • Part V - Special Topics 463
  • LIV - Some Famous Pianists 465
  • LV - Some Famous Singers 474
  • LVI - Violinists and Violin Music 483
  • LVII - Orchestration 491
  • LVIII - Conducting 496
  • Lix Acoustics 503
  • LX - How to Read Music 515
  • LXI - Modern Music 538
  • Appendix 569
  • Index 581
  • Index to Supplementary Chapter 606
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