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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000406.txt from 2001/05

From: "Doug Sears" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Clarinet History
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 01:51:04 -0400

Instruments that overblow at the octave can play a complete scale with no
keys at all. Examples are the early transverse flute, recorder, shawm (oboe
ancestor), and cornetto. Instruments that don't overblow can also play a
complete scale within their limited range, for example the chalumeau. The
clarinet, overblowing at the twelfth, needed keys, because most of us only
have ten fingers. I think it was the need for keys that retarded the
clarinet's development.

Doug Sears

>Why was the clarinet developed so late, relatively speaking? The early
>clarinet lags behind the early oboe by several hundred years. I find this
>surprising. The clarinet seems like a natural derivative from the old
>recorder, much more natural a double reed arrangement.
>I presume there have been innumerable masters theses on this topic. Anyone
>have any pet theories?
>- Tim Roberts,
> Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.

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