Title

The History of the Clarinet

Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

1996

Advisor

Jerome Coller

Abstract

In my written thesis, I traced the evolution of the clarinet over roughly a three hundred year period (from c. 1700 to modern times). For the first 100 years of its existence, the clarinet received relatively little improvement, but it nonetheless (by the end of the 18th) century gained a prominent role in orchestras throughout Europe. The 19th century saw the most significant advances in clarinet design and construction. Through the efforts of innovators such as Iwan Muller, Carl Baermann, Hyacinth Klose, and Oskar Oehler, the clarinet was evolved to a form in which was little different from the clarinets used today. In concluding my research, I made several important observations. First the term evolution is appropriate in describing the development of the clarinet for that development represents an unbroken chain of improvements made by makers and players throughout the last 300 years. Second, there are four major factors which influenced the speed and direction of the clarinetÕs evolution:

1) the public's acceptance of the clarinet as an instrument worthy of sponsorship (a factor which held back the instrument's evolution for the first 80 years of its existence)

2) an ever increasing demand made by composers for an improvement in the technical capability of the instrument

3) the ingenuity of individual makers and the overall technological capability of their era

4) the willingness and and/or ability of clarinetists to adapt to the changes made by innovators.

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