as soon as comparing a modern clarinet and a recorder, the first thing that obviously is various (next come the color of the wood and also the size) is the clarinet"s key system. It looks rather complicated and it certain is. Short and also long levers, blocks, axes and also tubes move long and short keys, which having actually pads in the finish covering tone holes. Part even interact in complicated ways.

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for somebody that does not play the clarinet (or the oboe or bassoon which have got a very comparable system), it appears to it is in confusing, and also many players, too, couldn"t absolutely say which tricks would open up in detail when castle play a particular note. We players have actually just learned exactly how to do the fingering, and we execute that currently without much thinking around it.

You require the clarinet"s tricks in bespeak to execute what you have the right to do top top the recorder just using fingers: Opening and also closing the ton holes. In bespeak to occupational properly, a vital must nearby the tone-hole totally tight - when closed, no air should go with it. The should offer as tiny resistance to the air circulation as feasible when open up - this needs a key-pad to open up to a street that is at the very least a third of the diameter that the tone-hole. Then keys must open and close quickly - that is really quick; and for both directions: One move is done through your finger, generally this is no problem, yet then a spring needs to put the vital back into exactly the same position it was before. Don"t forget that some keys open and close various holes at the very same time - and some levers space long! bass clarinets have obtained mechanics that move pads about fifty percent a meter away. This calls for springs to be solid and the axis to have actually as small friction as possible.

Pads have to work wet and dry, make no sound the themselves and also must be extremely reliable. They need to be acoustically neutral, too, that is, they need to not influence the instrument"s sound.Your own fingertips would execute all that - and also thinking around that, it i do not care a challenge to to win fingertips when it concerns closing ton holes. Wind instrument building contractors of all times had actually to find ways to solve this.

as we talk about it, friend will uncover there are undoubtedly "fingers only" options at the very least when closing top tone holes, once playing the smaller sized clarinets prefer Eb-flat and B-flat. However you can"t do this with all holes for 3 reasons:

due to the fact that the minimal hand span is not enough to cover the whole clarinet, that is the ton holes all method down the bigger tone holes have to be large, too broad for typical finger tips, (and most importantly) you would certainly need more than ten finger to operate the tool - you will check out why the is below; and also this is distinct for clarinets.

therefore in repercussion clarinets rely on secrets - tools without tricks can"t be clarinets.


Tone holes - too much away and also to wide for fingertipsWhy walk the tone become higher when opened a tone hole?Clarinets should have more tone feet than various other wind instrumentsPlay greater registers: Overblowing through the speak holePlay fifty percent tones by forkingLowering tones by "covering"Play fifty percent tones with extr tone holesOpen and closed keysRequirements secrets must meetKey breakthrough in historyModern ton holes: No an easy drill jobKey materialsPadsSpringsKey distinctions Boehm vs GermanKeys and acousticsSome thoughts about optimal secrets

Tone holes - some room too far away and too broad for fingertips

The smaller members of the clarinet family, the E-flat and also the B-flat, carry out have straightforward tone holes the you can close through your finger tips, lot like a recorder. However even with the smaller instrument varieties the lowest holes - that are way down - cannot be closed through your fingertips only. The larger the instrument, the additional away the tone holes. And also you will view that ton holesfor reduced tones are wider than her fingertips, i beg your pardon is acoustically helpful.

In contemporary clarinets, few of the crucial mechanics room designed to close ton holes at areas where a finger couldn"t go easily. You want to have actually the tone holes at the optimal position rather 보다 drilling them whereby they can be provided based an mean player"s anatomy.Optimal positions would be a right line down facing the audience, including the thumb-operated speaker key, a hole that usually encounters the player.

Why does opening a ton hole readjust the tone?

Simplified: as soon as playing, the air pillar in the bore swings -comparable through a etc string; and also this swinging is passed on come the surrounding air,which in turn reaches ours ears and also can it is in heard as a sound. Once the guitar player provides the swinging string shorter by pushing the wire down, that swinging motion becomes shorter (because the rate of swinging itself remains) and also a much shorter swinging translates into a higher frequency, for this reason the ton becomes higher. When he moves the finger additional up, the swinging part of the string becomes longer again, the ton becomes lower.

Practically this means: fifty percent the size of a string = double frequency = an octave higher.

This is practically the very same with wind instruments, only that over there is no up-and-down-swinging string, yet a forward-and-backward-swinging push wave in an air shaft within the instrument"s body between mouth item tip and also the opening at the bottom (making points a bit more complicated to watch and understand). Bends in ~ the instrument show little influence to this as long as the diameter that the boring is not affected, so bigger clarinets (Alto, Bass, Contra) and also bassoons have bended shapes, i beg your pardon helps taking care of them. The finish length of the swinging air shaft depends ~ above the length of the instrument thus - as long as every tone holes room covered. The moment that one ton hole is opened (and if it is vast enough to let many of the swinging air column stream the end of the instrument"s body), the size of the swinging air obelisk is decreased to approximately the distance between the reed"s tip and the tone hole. For this reason - streamlined - as soon as you open a sufficiently big tone hole this way nearly the exact same as reduce the instruments as whole length.

Clarinets need more tone holes than other wind instruments

In order to recognize the tone holes and keys the a clarinet, let united state at an initial take a look in ~ the much simpler design of the soprano recorder, that has no keys at all and also (usually) eight ton holes.Many people have learnt to play this basic wind instrument as very first instrument in school. The the eight ton holes 7 are on the front and also one - the speaker hole or octave hole - is top top the back where you have your left thumb. With this instrument you deserve to play every notes of anoctave. The lowest not - C - sounds, once you blow right into the mouthpiece v all holes space closed.When opening one ton hole after ~ the other starting from the bottom one you have a range in C: C - D - E - F - G - A - B (or in romanic cultures: perform - Re - Mi - Fa - therefore - La - Si.)


scale on simple recorders - for better instruments fingering might be different!

Seven ton holes in ~ the former - the octave- or speaker-hole is the circle at the side.

Black = closed / white = opened up / half = half opened

You deserve to play the high c and also d via "forked fingering", this will certainly be explained below.

Play greater registers: Overblowing through the speak hole

once you open the overblowing - hole (speaker hole) half way (with your left thumb) and also play the same scale, the instrument produces the exact same notes, however exactly one octave higher.

One octave greater equals eight note on the scale and this method a doubling of the frequency.For us it shows up to it is in the same tone, just higher. A C continues to be a c, a G stays a g.And fingering is very an easy because of the - you use the very same fingering for the notesin the upper and also lower register.

In bespeak to do the speaker hole occupational as such and not as an ordinary open up tone hole,that would an outcome in a very sharp high tone, the overblowing hole have to be lot smaller than an ordinary tone hole. Recorder players reach that by half-covering the hole.What it does acoustically, is: over there is not just one frequency, however in truth a heat of octaves over the basic frequency. You simply don"t hear that so clearly. Currently the fifty percent open register vital is "destroying" the shortest frequency of the recorder sound, and also only the next overtones (octaves and also multiples) remain, causing the tones sound an octave higher. These were existing in the short register, too, but not so dominant (see overtones).

As said above: If the overblowing feet was also wide, the swinging air column would departure the instrument right here as the would v every various other tone hole, and also this really hightone would certainly remain, individually of what holes listed below were closed or opened. Therefore the overblow- or speaker-hole is very narrow (clarinet, oboe) or you only open it fifty percent (recorder).

The switch right into the octave once opening the overblowing hole is the exact same not only for recorders, yet all other wood wind instruments like saxophones, bassoons oboes.The clarinet is the exception to the rule: that has gained an overblow hole much like all other woodwinds, and it works the exact same way, yet when opened this hole,the frequency is no doubled, but it becomes 2.5 fold. In notes on a scale, this is not the 8th, but the 12th note (because doubling method the 8th keep in mind on a scale,2.5 - which is doubling plus a half is 8 add to 8/2 = 8 + 4 = 12). In Latin this is referred to as duodecime: octava means 8th, duodecima (~dozen) method 12 .

above I have mentioned that opened the overblowing-hole the lowest frequency, the is the one that we hear consciously, is destroyed, when the next greater strong frequency deserve to now it is in heard prominently (and all others remain undamaged as well). The sound that an instrument or voice walk not only consist the one frequency, however a row;which are associated in a math relation; typically - with recorders, oboes, saxophonesand most other wind instruments like 1 : 2 : 4 etc. - this are even numbered relations.

yet with a clarinet - because that acoustical reasons - the relationships of the sound waves developed are different,they develop waves in relations like 1 : 3 : 5 and so on, for this reason they room odd numbers.Mathematically 8 : 12 is the exact same as 2 : 3.

So now when you use the fingering for a C and also open the overblowing feet on a clarinet,what you hear is no a high c, yet a g. So much so bad. A scale and a fingering chartfor a clarinet currently looks choose this:


scale on a straightforward clarinet there is no holes because that half-tones. Black = closeup of the door / white = open. You need either 12 fingers or 2 secrets ...

In handy life this means: The most basic clarinet with tone holes for just a range in the vital of C v no #-sharps or b-flats needs much more tone holes than a recorder, due to the fact that where the recorder currently plays the eight note of the range with the fingering because that the first; the clarinet needs added tone holes for the note 8, 9, 10 and also 11. So you require at the very least 10 tone holes plus an overblowing hole; adds as much as 11 holes.And in genuine life you require at the very least one finger (usually the right hand"s thumb) to holdthe instrument, also when the is inserted on the ground choose a base clarinet.That means you only have 9 finger to run 11 holes.In an outcome that way in stimulate to develop a clarinet, you need at least two keys.

that is what you uncover at the first clarinets: 2 keys, a long one for the lowest note, and an overblowing or speak key. Due to the fact that we need to operate the instrument and also its 11 holes through 9 fingers, part fingers have to do double function jobs.

Creating fifty percent tones - technique one: Forked fingering

Some wood wind instruments - prefer the recorder - will develop a pleasant scale in their "native" an essential with simple fingering, like displayed above. Top top the piano that would certainly be the white keys only. But with a range in simply C you can"t play much more than the simplest of children"s songs - even they occasionally need fifty percent tone actions (on a piano the black keys), and also classical music the comes in numerous keys and lots the sharps and also flats would be impossible. One way - and in old music the was usual indeed - would certainly be to have actually an individual tools for every common scale. However that is expensive and not really practical and doesn"t job-related with more contemporary music (younger 보다 400 years, the is). Therefore the recorder player supplies forked fingering - and also most football player of older timber winds need to do the same.


just how does the work?

Let"s to speak you want to beat a G-flat - i m sorry is fifty percent a tone lower than G. You use the fingering for G and also close the ton hole not one below, but two below, leaving the hole one listed below G open. This results in a quite well tuned G-flat.

Why is the - and why walk this not develop a mixture in between a poor G and an E, together you might have expected?

The swinging air shaft will departure out that the open up (forked) ton hole, in our case the F-hole,but only partly. Listed below the tone hole - but still within the boring - it proceeds to swing, but now we have actually an air tower consisting of two parts, the is related via a node, simply behind the opened tone hole.The reduced (smaller) component continues under to the D-hole. Physically speaking this is being addedto the existing obelisk for about fifty percent the distance in between forked hole and open hole.That to produce a surprisingly fine tuned G-flat.

Forked fingering just works as long as the forked feet is not as well wide, very much favor the overblowing ton hole (or speaker hole). Otherwise the air obelisk would leave the tool fullyand us would have a badly sounding (a little bit too low) G. In order to protect against that, players sometimeshalf-cover the forked holes, or the designer has construct special ring secrets for this purpose.

Lowering tones through "covering"

If girlfriend cover more tone holes below, for example the D-hole, the tone will certainly sound even lower.It is the exact same effect just like forking, and also it works as long as the number of tone feet youleave open up is no to huge (two, as much as three open holes may still work). For this reason this help you lowering otherwise as well high sounding notes. Many players will uncover that the tuning of their instrument becomes greater in ppp than in a solid forte, and this technique may be much more reliable than transforming the tuning v the embouchure.Of food this might reduce the sound top quality somewhat, therefore you have actually to discover a compromise,but climate - contrasted to being no in track in a unisono-passage v a flute - the sound qualitymay it is in less vital to you...

Create half tones with added tone holes

Forking works, and also it functions well, especially in valuable playing.Nevertheless it has its disadvantages: ton holes, the you use for forking, should not be too wide, because otherwisethe swinging air-column will certainly "break out" the the instrument and also there will be no swinging node (and this might depend ~ above the hight that the tone, the loudness, the ton you played just before etc. Etc.). Yet a smaller tone hole has its disadvantages, as soon as it is provided as a typical tone hole; then it must be together wideas possible. Because that is challenging to construct, the instrument builder will constantly settle for compromises, however those are often unfortunate and all this will certainly make forking less than optimal.

We have actually now learnt the the timeless tone hole is not just "open" or "shut",there is a 3rd state: "reduced". Every recorder player to know that.Now you have the right to understand, too, why the overblowing or speaker feet is so small -you open it only as much as crucial to let a component of the swinging wave an outbreak (lower frequencies) and another component go on in ~ the bore.And that is why part clarinets have obtained keys that have actually a very little hole drilledinto the crucial and pad - the is in bespeak to produce a "half open" state,for example for the high "c".

regrettably the dimension of tone holes depends on the register, since theacoustical impedance becomes much more prominent the higher the frequency is.In the clarinet register forking works much less optimal than in the low chalumeau register.

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In an effect modern clarinets usage for almost all half tones extra ton holes, and also forking is reduced. Over there are also mechanical tricks that let the player fork, yet the mechanic converts that into opening a tone hole instead. All this outcomes in five an ext tone holes per octave than a recorder would certainly need:

C - C# - D - D# - E - F - F# - G - G# - A - A#(Bb) - B

The added tone feet correspond with the black tricks on the piano key-board (for 8 white people you have actually 5 black ones). Since the clarinet has not only gained an octave every register, however a duodezime, the is 12 tones, there must be not just 5 however 7 ton holes because that the "black keys"; that is: there space minimum 19 ton holes for a basic scale. And that is if the lowest and topmost ton is the same (which isn"t in modern instruments):

E - F - F# - G - G# - A - A#(Bb) - B - c - c# - d - d# - e - f - f# - g - g# - a - a#(b)

including the overblow hole, you have the right to forget wanting to close every those holes v fingers only! as soon as I started discovering to pat the clarinet I had actually a basic student design soprano clarinet (German model), and also only the speaker ton hole had actually no vital and an essential pad. However then there to be a many resonance- and improvement keys. Between 22 and also 28 tricks are conventional for the German system, the Boehm has acquired some 20 keys and also 5 rings.