Historical development of the Clarinet - Philipp Dangas
Historical development of the Clarinet
In addition to the shawms, there was also a primitive keyless single-reed instrument in the Middle Ages, the chalumeau, which had come to Western Europe from the Orient. Its original instruments were the ancient Egyptian Arghúl and the related Arabic Zummárab. The name chalumeau, like the name shawm, is derived from the Greek "κάλαμος" meaning reed.
The chalumeau had a cylindrical tube with 9 finger holes and only had the tones of the F major scale from f (minor octave ) to a' (middle octave). The mouthpiece was not a separate part, but was located on the main reed itself, with the reed resting against the player's upper lip, while the fixed part of the beak rested on the lower lip. Around 1690, the instrument maker Johann Christoph Denner (1655-1707), who was born in Leipzig and lived in Nuremberg, made the first attempts to improve this instrument, which initiated the conversion to the clarinet.
Around 1750 the instrument was given a fourth and fifth key (F#-C#2 and G#-#D#2) - presumably by Berthold Fritz from Braunschweig. A little later (1789-1791) the famous virtuoso Xavier Lefévre in Paris (1763-1829) and around the same time the equally famous clarinetists Gebrüder Stadler in Vienna added a sixth key (C#1-G#2). The instrument was used in this form up to the time of Beethoven. The clarinet sound was harsh and akin to that of the trumpet. It was therefore called Clarinetto (Italian), i.e. "small trumpet", in German clarinet. Only towards the end of the 18th century did the clarinet mouthpiece get its present form with the reed on the underside.
The clarinetist Iwan Müller (1786-1854) constructed a clarinet with 13 keys around 1810 and thus created the basis for all modern key technology. In 1842, Hyacinthe Eléonore Klosé (1808-1880), together with the Buffet company in Paris, transferred the construction of the Boehm key system to the clarinet. In Germany, Th. Mollenhauer built the Böhm clarinet in 1867. Today's technically extraordinarily complicated and high-quality "German normal clarinet" was built in 1890 by Mollenhauer and Kunze. In Germany today, the Oehler clarinet built according to the Boehm system and the one made by the Ubel company are generally used.
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Table summary of the use of the clarinet in music
The table below shows the use of the clarinet in music shown. Musical works are performed with the name of the composer and the work.
The clarinet in large scale
- The clarinet is a transposing musical instrument
- Belonging to the family of woodwind instruments
- Various instruments with a simple reed were used in ancient times
- The clarinet evolved from the chalumeau
- The most important achievement on the way to the clarinet was made by the German instrument maker Johann Christoph Denner. He made an instrument that was provided with an additional key for overblowing.
- In 1839, Hyacinthe Klosé designed a completely new arrangement of the holes and keys