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The Clarinet

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The Clarinet Describing something, especially when your audience doesn’t know anything about it, is a very difficult task though it is not impossible. However, if you possess some practical experience with the thing you describe, and if you have a vibrant imagination, the process could turn out to be artistic and it would offer a unique experience for the audience. For example, a layman would describe a football as a spherical object, filled with air, which is light in weight. But a talented footballer will also be able to explain to the listener how its touch feels against his feet.

Similarly, as I have been a musician since I was twelve, and because of my deep passion for it, describing the musical instrument ‘clarinet’ appears to be a simple objective for me to accomplish. Most of the people are very fond of clarinet’s music, but many dont really know much about this instrument. But I hope to describe it in such a manner that a pretty good idea of the same could emerge in my readers’ mind. The clarinet is an instrument from the woodwind family.

It acquires its name from the word clarino, which means a particular type of ‘trumpet’ and prefixed to net which means ‘little’. Thus the word ‘clarinet’ can be taken to mean as ‘a little instrument which sounds almost like trumpet. ’ The woodwind family has three branches, and each has a different source of sound. The sounds are made in clarinet through the vibrations that are made by blowing air across the top of this instrument, across a single reed or in some cases across two reeds.

The reed is clamped to a mouthpiece at the top of the instrument and vibrates against the mouthpiece when air is blown between the reed and the mouthpiece. In cases where two reeds are tied together and used in a clarinet, such instruments are known as double reed clarinets. The clarinet’s body is slender and long, and it accommodates some metal keys which can be pressed to play different notes. Made from wood, the clarinet produces a fluid sound when air is blown between the reed and the mouthpiece.

Most of the clarinetists buy manufactured reeds while some of them make their own. The acoustics perfection of the instrument depends on the quality of the reeds. Therefore, the selection of the right reed is of crucial importance in producing good music. Therefore, in order to sustain quality, clarinetists change their reed at least twice every month. There are several types of clarinets that differ in sizes and pitches. Most of the musicians consider them as the largest in the instrument family. Clarinets come in more than two dozen types.

Some of them are rare while others are no longer in use; but they still are recognized as one of the instrument types. Out of the different types, some have four parts and some others have five, depending on the function of the instrument. The body of the clarinet is provided with seven holes which are covered by fingertips. The rest are opened or closed with a set of complicated keys. By pressing the metal keys with fingers of both hands, the player has the facility to play many different notes in quick succession.

Clarinet has no specific color; but the most popular and commonly found is the black colored clarinets. During the early stages of the 20th century clarinets were used to be made in metal. Later on, the trend shifted to replacing the metal body with wood. African hardwood is the most preferred wood in the manufacture of clarinets. However, there is another variety called the ‘green line clarinet’ which is made from a composite of wood powder and carbon fiber. Being a flat soprano clarinet player from the age of twelve, I have developed a deep love and fascination for the instrument.

I also have an emotional connection with the clarinet because it was gifted to me by my parents. It possesses such elegance and charm that makes me want to look at it and touch it everyday. The sound of the clarinet has a graceful cadence that can capture anybody’s attention and force them to be passionate about it. Clarinet is often used in ballads, blues, jazz and many other types of music. It is the kind of instrument that will command your concentration once you start listening to someone playing it.

I will always cherish possessing the clarinet I received as a gift from my parents. I presume my brief description of the instrument has given you an idea about the nature of its grandeur. There is no doubt that clarinet has been, and will remain for times to come, the best instrument in the woodwind family. It is mellow like the moonlight; yet cadent like the flowing water.

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preview essay on The Clarinet
  • Pages: 3 (750 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Music
  • Level: Masters
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