The history and development of the clarinet

At the turn of the XVII-XVIII centuries. One of the most interesting instruments appears which later supplemented and decorated the group of woodwind instruments in the symphony orchestra – the clarinet. The clarinet was created, as it is supposed, in 1701 by the famous Nuremberg master of woodwinds Johann Christoph Denner, who perfected the ancient French chalume flute. Chalumeau was widely used in the orchestras of France. It consisted of a cylindrical tube without a bell and seven playing holes, which the performer covered with his fingers. The range was equal to the whole octave. Dennmer, first of all, removed the tube where the pussy was located, and replaced the notched tab with a reed plate-a cane that was attached to a wooden mouthpiece. In essence, it was a way of extracting sound, which exists to this day.

True, at first the mouthpiece did not separate from the body of the instrument, but formed one with it, and the cane touched not the lower lip, but the upper, as the mouthpiece was turned upside down with the stick. Later this kind of production was changed and the cane was attached to the bottom of the mouthpiece. Thanks to this, it became possible, by changing the pressure of the lips on the cane, to influence the quality of the received sound, to monitor the intonation. The attack of sound became more precise and definite, as the language of the performer began to touch the cane directly. On the Denner clarinet, the right hand of the performer was on the upper knee, and the left one on the lower, that is, in the completely opposite position, compared with the modern setting. Having abandoned the camera in which the cane was located, and having resolved the issue of sound extraction, Denner had to solve the second task related to the expansion of the instrument’s range. On wind instruments, a blowing method is widely used to increase the range.

A stronger air jet blown into the tool gives sounds an octave higher. If the tension of the air jet is strengthened, then it is possible to obtain sounds on the duodecimo above the basic (octave + fifth). Denner followed this path, but faced the fact that the chalumeau was an instrument on which there was no octave blowing. Then Denner increased the number of game holes from six to eight and thus received immediately a series of additional sounds: fa, salt, la, blue octave, and before, re, mi, fa, salt of the first octave. In the future he will make two more holes (one of them on the back of the instrument) and equips them with valves. With the help of these valves, he was able to get the sounds of a and si of the first octave.

Experimenting and observing Denner came to an interesting conclusion: if you open the second of the newly introduced valves, then the blow to the duodenum becomes quite convenient and feasible. This was the decisive moment that turned the chalumeau into a clarinet. The clarinet band reached three octaves. True, the sound was still uneven; all the registers had a different timbre. A number of clarinet sounds, obtained by blowing on duodecimo, differed sharply and even shrill, which resembled the sonority of an old pipe that played the clarion part. And since the clarinet had a socket similar to a trumpet by the year 1701, it all together gave the instrument a name derived from the clarion pipe, namely the diminutive Italian clarnetto, in English – the clarinet. Further improvement of the clarinet took the son of Denner. At first he expanded the trumpet from the clarinet, which immediately improved the timbre of the instrument.

Correcting the low-quality sound in the high register, he moved the duodecism valve (blowing valve) upward and narrowed the hole a little. But here he heard. That when you opened this valve did not sound si, B flat. In order to achieve the lost is, Denner had to lengthen the channel of the instrument and equip it with a third valve. This is how the lower limit of the instrument range was determined – a small octave, the main note of the modern claret. Improvements to Denner (son) date back to 1720. Somewhat later German instrumental master Barthold Fritz changed the location of the third valve: he began to burrow not with the thumb of his right hand, but with his left little finger. In the middle of the century, the famous German clarinetist Joseph Beer added two more valves to receive the sounds of the F sharp and sol-sharp minor octave.

These valves, when inflated, gave the C-sharp and the sharpest second octave. In 1791, the famous clarinetist, then professor of the Paris Conservatory, Xavery Lefer introduced the sixth valve for sound before-sharp. This was the most perfect model of the late 18th century. The instrument had a loud enough sound, the performer could calmly amplify and weaken it, play melodious melodies and staccato passages. The difference in the sound of the upper and lower register of the clarinet remained very noticeable. The listener, if he did not see the performer, it might seem that they are playing two different instruments. The gloomy, dense lower register in many respects resembled the sound of an old chalumeau, the upper register – bright, strong – the sound of a Clarino pipe. The latter began from the sound to the second octave.

The transient sounds between the two registers sounded poorly (salt-sharp, la, B-flat of the first octave). It was difficult to play the clarinet. Blowing to duodecimo, and not to the octave, affected the complexity of the fingering. Difficulties arose when there appeared many counter signs, that is, the tonality of the performed works were far from the building of the clarinet. To overcome this, it was suggested to make instruments of various sizes while maintaining the proportions of their individual parts. So they turned out clarinets of various structures. In the XVIII century. The most popular were clarinets in the re (small clarinet), before, si, B flat, la, fa (basset horn). XIX century. Was the period of the most intensive perfection of wind instruments. In the field of reconstruction of wooden wind instruments, there were also significant events. And the most important place was occupied here by the famous musical master-inventor Theobald Böhm. He developed a completely different fingering system. Beem aspired to ensure that his instrument sounded throughout the entire range and quite richly, while the virtuosic data would far exceed all former possibilities.

The historical development of the clarinet continued … Famous virtuoso clarinetist Mueller decided to improve the clarinet in the B-flat. He had to do a great job of arranging sound holes according to the acoustic patterns of the construction of the scale. If on the clarinets of old systems most of the holes were drilled so that they could be reached and closed with fingers, which often led to a clearly false intonation of the instrument, Muller arranged in accordance with the requirements of acoustics. To clarinet sound intonationally clean, he had to install a special valve for the aperture fa and increase the number of other valves to 13. In the further Mueller system was improved. There have been many changes in mechanics, there have been more holes, valves, and levers have been added. But the main stage was the application to the clarinet of the Bemsky system. This happened in the early 40’s. Klose together with the firm Buffet made the clarinet instrument, in which the difference in sound between the registers ceased to exist; there was a good legato and shiny trills. But their additions made to the mechanics made the fingering complicated and complicated, so two types of instruments of different systems continue to exist to this day: Muller and Bemskaya.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *