Here is a question for you: which instrument, according to novelist Thomas Mann, emits the sound that can be compared to the “silvery blossoming harmony?”
You don’t know? Perhaps this hint will help: it was played by the famous bandleader, the King of Swing.
If you are thinking of the clarinet, you are correct. Like its cousins the flute, oboe, saxophone, and recorder, the clarinet belongs to the woodwind family. It is the only single-reed instrument in the symphony orchestra.
Invented by a German instrument maker named Johann Christoph Denner at the end of the 17th century, the clarinet’s distinct sound – which is more similar to the organ than to other woodwinds – had inspired quite a few great composers. For instance, Vivaldi and Hendel were the first to compose music for the clarinet. Mozart and Beethoven wrote chamber pieces for this instrument, as did later composers like Schumann and Brahms. In the 20th century, Igor Stravinsky composed Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo. And, of course, this list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention one of the most popular symphonic clarinet solos in George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, which starts with a low note ascending to a high one.
Now that you know the basics, here are some more fun facts about the clarinet:
And let’s not forget one more important piece of information: if you, your child, or another member of your family would like to learn to play the clarinet, contact us for in-home music lessons.