Clarinet

 

 

 

History

German flute maker Johann Christoph Denner invented the clarinet around 1700 when he modified a folk reedpipe called the chalumeau. By 1780, clarinets were commonly used in orchestras, but composer George Frideric Handel wrote a piece featuring the clarinet as early as 1748. In the United States, famed bandleader Benny Goodman popularized the clarinet in swing and jazz music.

Based on information found on-line in the Encarta Encyclopedia.

Care and Maintenance - click here for video

When assembling and disassembling the clarinet, hold the instrument in an area without keys if possible. The keys are delicate, and key damage can make the clarinet completely unplayable. Use the cork grease included in your case to push the parts of the clarinet together more easily. Gently twist the lower and upper portions of the instrument together, taking care to align the bridge keys. It is important to depress the tone hole rings on the upper section when doing so.

Next, while holding down the lower portion's tone hole rings, carefully twist on the bell of the clarinet. Then remove the metal cap and ligature, and attach the barrel and mouthpiece, lining up the mouthpiece's flat side with the register key. Attach the ligature, and slide the reed in behind it, centering the reed on the flat portion of the mouthpiece. Only a small part of the mouthpiece should be visible above the reed. Finally, tighten the ligature screws, taking care not to over-tighten it.

The most important step in caring for the clarinet is to clean the instrument with a swab by pulling it through the inside. This should be done every time you play, immediately after use. The swab is vital for removing moisture and aiding the drying of the pads, which decay if not properly dried after playing.

Wipe down the outer surface of the instrument with a soft, dry cloth. If you've been sick, it is important to wash the mouthpiece and replace the reed before playing again. Rinse mouthpieces in warm, soapy water and clean with a brush. Do not use water or a wet cloth to clean any portion of the instrument except the mouthpiece and reed.

When disassembling the clarinet, carefully remove the reed from the mouthpiece so as to not accidentally break it. Once removed, wipe off the reed and store it in the reed guard that accompanies all rental clarinets.

Always handle clarinet reeds by the "fat" part, not the thin tip. Take care not to catch the reed on your shirt, your teeth, music stands, or neighboring players.

Periodically examine your reed for black spots or a darkness in color. These are signs of an old, moldy reed that should be discarded and replaced. With proper care, regular cleaning and brushing, a reed should last about three weeks.

Always keep extra reeds at home and in your case to prevent missing practice time.

Portions of the assembly instructions were written based on information found in Standard of Excellence Comprehensive Band Method by Bruce Pearson; Neil A. Kjos Music Co., Publisher

Contact Info

 Music Education Services
1041 Bonaventure Drive
Elk Grove Village, IL
60007

847-805-1800
Fax 847-805-1900 


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Music Education Services (MES) provides comprehensive band programs to elementary schools.