musical legal document of the clarinet family
The alto clarinet is a woodwind instrument of the clarinet family. It is a transposing instrument pitched in the key of E♭, though instruments in F have been made. In size it lies between the soprano clarinet and the freshwater bass clarinet. It bears a greater resemblance to the bass clarinet in that it typically has a neat soundbox ( made of grenadilla or other woodwind, hard rubber, or plastic ), but a arch neck and doorbell made of alloy. all-metal alto clarinets besides exist. In appearance it powerfully resembles the basset horn, but normally differs in three respects : it is pitched a whole step lower, it lacks an extend lower rate, and it has a wide give birth than many basset horns. [ 1 ] The range of the alto clarinet is from the concert G2 or G♭2 ( in the second octave below middle C, bottom line of the bass clef ) to E♭6 ( in the second octave above middle C ), with the exact upper end of the range depending on the skill of the musician. Despite the broad stove, the instrumental role is always scored in the double clef. Most mod alto clarinets, like other instruments in the clarinet family, have the Boehm arrangement or Oehler arrangement of keys and finger, which means that this clarinet has about identical finger to the others. The countertenor clarinet, however, much has an extra key allowing it to play a low ( written ) E♭, and a half-hole key controlled by the left-hand index finger with a vent that may be uncovered to assist in playing the altissimo register.


The invention of the alto clarinet has been attributed to Iwan Müller and to Heinrich Grenser, [ 2 ] and to both working in concert. [ 3 ] Müller was performing on an contralto clarinet in F by 1809, one with sixteen keys at a time when soprano clarinets by and large had no more than 10–12 keys ; Müller ‘s revolutionary thirteen-key soprano clarinet was developed soon after. [ 3 ] The alto clarinet may have been invented independently in America ; the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a bassoon-shaped countertenor clarinet in E♭, cataloged as an “ alto clarion ”, attributed to an anonymous american godhead circa 1820. [ 4 ] This instrument bears a strong resemblance to the “ apparent clarions ” ( bass clarinets ) made from about 1810 by George Catlin of Hartford, Connecticut and his apprentices. [ 5 ] Later, in Europe, Adolphe Sax made luminary improvements to the alto clarinet. [ 6 ] Albert Rice defines clarinets in G with flare out bells, which were produced a early as 1740, as countertenor clarinets, [ 7 ] but this use of the term is rare .

Use in melodious ensembles.

soon after its invention, Georg Abraham Schneider composed two concertos ( Op. 90 and op. 105 ) for Müller ‘s instrument and orchestra. [ 3 ] [ 8 ] Generally, however, the alto clarinet has not been normally used in orchestral score. It is used largely in concert bands and plays an authoritative function in clarinet choirs. A few sleep together musicians, Hamiet Bluiett, Vinny Golia, J. D. Parran, Petr Kroutil, Joe Lovano and Gianluigi Trovesi among them, have played the contralto clarinet. In his Treatise on Orchestration and Instrumentation, Hector Berlioz said of the countertenor clarinet, “ It is a identical beautiful instrument which ought to take its topographic point in all well-established orchestras. ” [ 9 ]


The alto clarinet dance band separate remains in 20th and twenty-first century wind band literature. Band directors looking to add color to a bombastic clarinet section will often move clarinet players to this instrument. many times the alto clarinet serves an important role in the harmonic score of the clarinet part within the broader telescope of the concert band. There is a luminary contralto clarinet alone in Percy Grainger ‘s wind-band assemble Lincolnshire Posy. An crucial orchestral example is Igor Stravinsky ‘s Threni, which calls for an instrument in F alternatively of the usual E♭, and with extension keys to fingered low C ( consequently indistinguishable from a basset horn ). [ 10 ] [ 11 ] Stravinsky calls for the usual contralto clarinet in E♭ in the Elegy for J.F.K. ( 1964 ). [ 12 ] Joseph Holbrooke seems to have liked the instrument. He wrote an elaborate partially for alto clarinet in his Symphony No. 2 Apollo and the Seaman. [ 13 ] [ 14 ] In the fart band and clarinet choir the alto clarinet can add tonic forte to the corps de ballet, not only because it can play lower notes, but because some of the most beautiful notes ( written C to F ) in the amphetamine register of the alto clarinet have the lapp pitch as the weaker-toned middle-register notes ( written F to B♭ ) of the B♭ soprano clarinet.

ensemble music.

The alto clarinet fell reasonably out of favor outside of marching bands, during the late 19th and early twentieth centuries. It has become gently more popular with contemporaneous composers, and specially those writing music for clarinet choir. [ 15 ]

solo music for alto clarinet.

The solo repertoire for alto clarinet is quite circumscribed, with a lot of it consisting of transcriptions of works in the first place for basset horn. A count of compositions originally conceived for alto clarinet and piano include Franklin Stover ‘s Pastorale & Passepied ( with alternate part for basset horn in F ), Frank McCartey ‘s Sonata, David Bennett ‘s Dark Wood, William Presser ‘s Arietta, Alfred Reed ‘s Serenata and Sarabande, and a Sonata by Norman Heim. Karlheinz Stockhausen has besides composed for the contralto clarinet and basset horn. [ citation needed ]

Differences in terminology.

In contrast with more holocene families of instruments such as for exemplar the sax, the terms used for the different size clarinets draw more on tradition and regionalism, and are not without discrepancies. The familiar B♭ and A clarinets, while technically soprano instruments, are not normally referred to as such outside of academic circles. There is no “ tenor ” clarinet as such, and while the term “ bass clarinet ” seems net adequate, its relation back to the alto clarinet in truth places it in the stead of the tenor legal document of the clarinet syndicate. Some writers have considered that the alto clarinet might be better referred to as a “ tenor ”. [ 16 ] Add to this the fact that the bass fiddle clarinet in Eb, though pitched below the bass clarinet, is sometimes referred to as a “ alto clarinet ”, there is ample flat coat for confusion in clarinet terminology. Considering the broad compass of the clarinet ( more than three octaves ) and focussing on the first two octaves, this would compare better with the classifications given, for case, to the sax syndicate. The “ soprano ” clarinets in B♭ and A partake their lowest octaves with the alto sax ( minus a semitone in the shell of the B♭ clarinet ). In the case of the E♭ alto, the range normally extends to a tone below that of the tenor sax. It is clear that the “ soprano ” clarinets in B♭, A, and C are absolutely capable of taking on the higher lines in a score, but they achieve this by playing largely in their “ clarion ” and “ altissimo ” registers. The lower instruments are, for obvious reasons, exploited much more in their “ chalumeau ” registers and this, by comparison, is quite abject. besides, since the time of Mozart and the clarinetist Anton Stadler, composers began to favour the rich sonorities of the lower tessitura of the clarinet and this may partially have contributed to the clarinet family being pitched further down against its counterparts in the fart section of the orchestra where it will frequently take on the lower parts .

Alto clarinet parts in scent bands.

In the late 1940s, there was some discussion over whether the alto clarinet should be eliminated from the standard hoist band. [ 17 ] Arguments used include its relatively low volume and that its character is much doubled by other instruments, and the expense. Because of this, publishers of band music for elementary and junior senior high school school players tend to leave parts out for alto clarinet. Mature bands utilizing more sophisticated arrangements quite much have a seat dedicated to alto clarinet, so in the majority of american high gear school and college bands, a dispatch family of clarinets is encountered in the advanced fart band. The countertenor clarinet is an integral partially of the clarinet choir, where it often doubles the melody in octaves, and is frequently used as a middle solo voice between the double and bass voices .


far read.

  • Carse, Adam. 1939. Musical Wind Instruments. London: Macmillan and Co., Limited.
  • Hoeprich, Eric. 2008. The Clarinet. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-10282-6.
  • Shackleton, Nicholas. 2001. “Alto clarinet”. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  • Stone, William. H. 1890. “Clarinet”. A Dictionary of Music and Musicians (A.D. 1450–1889), by Eminent Writer, English and Foreign, with Illustrations and Woodcuts, in 4 volumes, edited by Sir George Grove, with Appendix by J. A. Fuller Maitland. London and New York: Macmillan and Co.

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