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Piccolo clarinet

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The piccolo clarinets are members of the clarinet family, smaller and higher pitched than the more familiar soprano clarinets in E♭ and D. None is common, but the most often used piccolo clarinet is the A♭ clarinet, playing nearly an octave higher than the familiar B♭ clarinet. Shackleton also lists obsolete instruments in C, B♭, and A. Some writers call these sopranino clarinets or octave clarinets. The boundary between the piccolo and soprano clarinets is not well-defined, and the rare instruments in G and F might be considered as either.

Clarinets pitched in A♭ appeared frequently in Europeans wind bands, particularly in Spain and Italy, at least through the middle of the 20th century, and are called for in the stage-band parts for several operas by Verdi.

A famous example of extensive use of a high clarinet in a small ensemble was the Schrammel quartet, consisting of two violins (the brothers Johann and Josef Schrammel), a bass guitar, and G clarinet, played by Georg Dänzer, during the 1880s.

The A♭ clarinet is not uncommon in clarinet choir arrangements--for instance, those of Lucien Calliet, including Mozart's Marriage of Figaro overture--though the instrument is often optional or cued in other voices. There are parts for A♭ clarinet in Béla Bartók's Scherzo for Piano and Orchestra, op. 2 ("mostly in unison with the E♭ or piccolo") and in John Tavener's Celtic Requiem (1969).<ref name="tsch"/> Several chamber works of Hans-Joachim Hespos employ the A♭ clarinet,

including the wild go which also features soprano sarrusophone, heckelphone, and tárogató. Hespos also uses the A♭ clarinet in the orchestral work Interactions.

At least two manufacturers currently produce A♭ clarinets: Leblanc and L. A. Ripamonti. Ripamonti produces both German and French system (including Full Boehm) A♭ clarinets.

[edit] References

  • Nicholas Shackleton. "Clarinet", Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. L. Macy, (subscription access).

[edit] External Links

L. A. Ripamonti's A-flat clarinet page

This article was started using a Wikipedia clarinet article
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