Bass Clarinet: A new timbre for new times


Like other clarinet varieties, bass clarinets are typically made of grenadilla (African Blackwood), with plastic resin as a cheaper alternative. German silver (an alloy of copper, zinc, and nickel) makes up the various keys to shine without allowing tarnish. Materials such as cork, leather, felt, wax, and stainless steel help line and work spring mechanisms within the instrument. Cane reed is used to create the vibrations needed to produce sound, as it is with many other woodwinds.

The standard bass clarinet consists of six main parts: the mouthpiece (with reed and ligature), crook/neck, upper and lower joints, bell and peg. Because of its size, the bass clarinet rests on the floor directly in front of the musician.

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