The cylindrical bore is primarily responsible for the clarinet's distinctive timbre, which varies between its three main registers, known as the chalumeau, clarion, and altissimo. The tone quality can vary greatly with the musician, the music, the instrument, the mouthpiece, and the reed. The differences in instruments and geographical isolation of players in different countries led to the development, from the last part of the 18th century onwards, of several different schools of clarinet playing. The most prominent were the German/Viennese traditions and the French school. The latter was centered on the clarinetists of the Conservatoire de Paris. The proliferation of recorded music has made examples of different styles of clarinet playing available. The modern clarinetist has a diverse palette of "acceptable" tone qualities to choose from.
The A clarinet and B♭ clarinet have nearly the same bore, and use the same mouthpiece. Orchestral players using the A and B♭ instruments in the same concert could use the same mouthpiece (and often the same barrel) for both (see 'usage' below). The A and the B♭ instruments have nearly identical tonal quality, although the A typically has a slightly warmer sound. The tone of the E♭ clarinet is brighter than that of the lower clarinets and can be heard even through loud orchestral or concert band textures. The bass clarinet has a characteristically deep, mellow sound, while the alto clarinet is similar in tone to the bass and the basset horn has a tone quality comparable to the A clarinet.
Clarinets have the largest pitch range of common woodwinds. The intricate key organization that makes this range possible can make the playability of some passages awkward. The bottom of the clarinet’s written range is defined by the keywork on each instrument, standard keywork schemes allowing a low E on the common B♭ clarinet. The lowest concert pitch depends on the transposition of the instrument in question.
Nearly all soprano and piccolo clarinets have keywork enabling them to play the E below middle C as their lowest written note (in scientific pitch notation that sounds D3 on a soprano clarinet or C4, i.e. concert middle C, on a piccolo clarinet), though some B♭ clarinets go down to E♭3 to enable them to match the range of the A clarinet. On the B♭ soprano clarinet, the concert pitch of the lowest note is D3, a whole tone lower than the written pitch. Most alto and bass clarinets have an extra key to allow a (written) E♭3. Modern professional-quality bass clarinets generally have additional keywork to written C3. Among the less commonly encountered members of the clarinet family, contra-alto and contrabass clarinets may have keywork to written E♭3, D3, or C3; the basset clarinet and basset horn generally go to low C3.
Defining the top end of a clarinet’s range is difficult, since many advanced players can produce notes well above the highest notes commonly found in method books. G6 is usually the highest note clarinetists encounter in classical repertoire. The C above that (C7 i.e. resting on the fifth ledger line above the treble staff) is attainable by advanced players and is shown on many fingering charts, and fingerings as high as G7 exist.
The range of a clarinet can be divided into three distinct registers. The lowest register, consisting of the notes up to the written B♭ above middle C (B♭4), is known as the chalumeau register (named after the instrument that was the clarinet's immediate predecessor). The middle register is termed the clarino (sometimes clarion) register and spans just over an octave (from written B above middle C (B4) to the C two octaves above middle C (C6)); it is the dominant range for most members of the clarinet family. The top or altissimo register consists of the notes above the written C two octaves above middle C (C6). Unlike other woodwinds, all three registers have characteristically different sounds. The chalumeau register is rich and dark. The clarino register is brighter and sweet, like a trumpet (clarino) heard from afar. The altissimo register can be piercing and sometimes shrillThe C411 is a miniature vibration pickup for acoustic guitar, mandolin, violin and most other string instruments. Its integrated condenser capsule will reproduce the sound of the instrument clearly and without coloration. The C411 ultralight pickup (18g/0.6oz) can be easily attached on or near the bridge with the included nonmarking, solvent-free adhesive pad without changing the balance of the instrument. The C411 is available in two versions. The C411 PP features a MPAV standard XLR connector while the C411 L provides a professional three-pin mini XLR connector that fits the body-pack transmitters of all AKG wireless microphone systems.
Condenser transducer in sealed enclosure for clear and uncolored sound
Ultralight vibration pickup does not change the balance of the instrument