The bass version of the clarinet appeared at the beginning of the XNUMXth century. Today, this instrument is part of symphony orchestras, used in chamber ensembles, and is in demand among jazz musicians.
Description of the tool
The bass clarinet, in Italian it sounds like “clarinetto basso”, belongs to the category of woodwind musical instruments. Its device is similar to the device of a conventional clarinet, the main structural elements are:
- Body: straight cylindrical tube, consisting of 5 elements (bell, mouthpiece, knees (upper, lower), barrel).
- Reed (tongue) – a thin plate used to extract sound.
- Valves, rings, sound holes decorating the surface of the body.
The bass clarinet is made from precious woods – black, mpingo, cocobol. Most of the work is done by hand, according to guidelines developed a century ago. The material of manufacture, painstaking work affects the price of the item – this pleasure is not cheap.
The range of the bass clarinet is approximately 4 octaves (from the D major octave to the B flat contra octave). The main application is in B (B-flat) tuning. Notes are written in the bass clef, a tone higher than expected.
History of the bass clarinet
Initially, an ordinary clarinet was created – the event took place in the second half of the XNUMXth century. Then it took almost a century to perfect it in the bass clarinet. The author of the development is the Belgian Adolf Sachs, who owns another significant invention – the saxophone.
A. Sachs painstakingly studied the models available in the XNUMXth century, worked for a long time on improving the valves, improving intonations, and expanding the range. From under the hand of a specialist, a perfect academic instrument came out, which took its rightful place in a symphony orchestra.
The thick, somewhat gloomy timbre of the instrument is indispensable in individual solo episodes of a piece of music. You can hear its sound in the operas of Wagner, Verdi, the symphonies of Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich.
The XNUMXth century has opened up new opportunities for admirers of the instrument: solo performances are written for it, it is part of chamber ensembles, and is in demand among jazz and even rock performers.
The technique of playing is similar to the skills of owning an ordinary clarinet. The instrument is extremely mobile, does not require blowing, large oxygen reserves, sounds are easily extracted.
If we compare two clarinets, the bass version is less mobile, individual pieces will require great skill from the musician. There is a reverse trend: music written in a low key is difficult to play on an ordinary clarinet, but his “bass brother” will cope with a similar task without difficulty.
The Play involves the use of two registers – lower, middle. The bass clarinet is ideal for episodes of a tragic, disturbing, sinister nature.
The bass clarinet is not the “first violin” in the orchestra, but it would be wrong to think of it as something insignificant. Without rich, melodious notes that are beyond the power of other musical instruments, many brilliant works would sound completely different if orchestras excluded the clarinet bass model from the composition.