Clarinet in Bb

Brief description

  • Name: Bb Clarinet
  • Spelling
    • German: Klarinette in B
    • Italian: clarinetto in si bemolle
    • French: clarinette en si bémol
  • Classification: Aerophone, single-reed instrument, woodwind
  • Material: Tube: Ebonite or grenadilla or metal; keywork: nickel silver, brass, silver or gold
  • Mouthpiece: Beak-shaped mouthpiece made of ebonite or cocus wood with a single reed (width up to 12.5 mm, material: arundo donax)
  • Tube: Mainly cylindrical, barrel-shaped bulge below the mouthpiece (barrel)
  • Total length: Approx. 66 cm (clarinet in Bb), approx. 71 cm (clarinet in A)
  • Bore: Medium, inner diameter approx. 12.7 mm
  • Keys/tone holes: 24 tone holes; German (Oehler clarinet) or French keywork (Boehm clarinet)
  • Bell: Funnel-shaped

The clarinet is the most recent addition to the woodwind family (flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet) and was the last woodwind to be integrated into the symphony orchestra (during the period of "Viennese Classicism" in the 2nd half of the 18th century).

The clarinet in Bb, a soprano woodwind instrument, is the most commonly used in the clarinet family. In the orchestra clarinets in A and C are used, as are the small clarinet (in Eb or D), the basset horn in F and the bass clarinet in Bb.

In marching bands and wind bands, in which the clarinet is the most important woodwind, high clarinets in F and Ab are also played. In the USA there are clarinet-only orchestras, in which the more common instruments are joined by the alto clarinet (in Eb) and the contrabass clarinet (in Bb).

The clarinet is composed of five parts: the beak-shaped mouthpiece with a single reed, the barrel (or socket), a piece of tube that bulges like a barrel, the upper joint (left-hand joint), the lower joint (right-hand joint) and the funnel-shaped bell.

Slight alterations to the overall tuning can be made by using barrels of varying length.

The keywork is particularly complicated because the clarinet overblows to a twelfth which extends its fundamental compass to nineteen half tones. The other woodwinds overblow to the octave (twelve half tones).

Modern Clarinets

The clarinet family, which used to be larger, nowadays consists of the following instruments:

  • Piccolo clarinet in Ab (35 cm)
  • Sopranino clarinet (small clarinets): clarinet in Eb (49 cm), clarinet in D (52 cm)
  • Soprano clarinet: clarinet in C (57 cm), clarinet in Bb (66 cm), clarinet in A (71 cm)
  • Alto clarinet in Eb (95 cm)
  • Basset horn in F (107 cm)
  • Bass clarinet in Bb (135 cm)
  • Contrabass clarinet in Bb (265 cm)

Two Forms

Today, two systems are in use: the German, or Oehler system and the French, the so-called Boehm system, which is widespread in France, Great Britain and the USA.

The term Boehm system is somewhat misleading, since it was not the revolutionary keywork that Boehm invented for the flute that was applied to the clarinet, but merely the ring key principle. It was in fact impossible to use the Boehm mechanism on the clarinet for the simple reason that the clarinet's fundamental compass was greater than the flute's: the flute overblows to the octave, the clarinet to a twelfth (octave + a fifth).

A comparison between the German and the French systems

Key arrangement

The French model (the standard Boehm model) has seventeen keys (plus seven open tone holes, making twenty-four tone holes all together) and six ring keys; the German version has at least twenty-two keys and five ring keys.

The fingering on the French system is a little easier.


On the underside of the mouthpiece, which tapers to a point, a notch or slot is carved out over which the reed is attached. Together with the rails on either side of the slot this forms the so-called lay, or facing, which allows the reed to vibrate during playing. The form of the lay, especially the angle of the rails to the tip of the mouthpiece, is largely responsible for determining the instrument's timbre.

*side view: 1 reed; 2 lay; 3 ligature*
*bottom view (without reed): 4 rails; 5 slot; 6 table*

The lay of the German mouthpiece is narrower and slightly concave. The reed is slimmer, longer and heavier, and was traditionally fixed by means of stout twine; nowadays the ligature is used for the fixing. The lay of the French model is broader and flatter, the reed being affixed with the ligature.

The mouthpiece is the part of the clarinet that affords the player the greatest individuality. The differences in material and construction are a result of the various sound ideals favored by the different schools. The question of whether to use a "German" or a "French" mouthpiece is essentially a philosophical one.


German clarinets have a slightly wider bore than French models.


The clarinet's timbre depends primarily on the player. The German clarinet tends to have a darker timbre.


Forerunners in Antiquity and in the Middle Ages

Instruments that were played with mouthpieces that had a kind of simple reed were already known in Antiquity: a triangular section was cut out of the mouthpiece in such a way that the reed still hung on its end and could be controlled by the lips. The Egyptian memet from the 3rd century BC is one such early clarinet. It was played as a double instrument; the two cylindrical pipes were made of reeds or wood and tied together. They had fingerholes and two mouthpieces. These instruments were later adopted by the Greeks and Romans.

Clarinets with one, two and even three reeds were used in many cultures; indeed, in some parts of the world they are still in use and have remained unchanged (e.g., the Russian brelka or the Sardinian triple clarinet the launedda ).

In medieval Europe a single-reed instrument that had originated in the Orient and usually had eight fingerholes was common. This was the chalumeau. Chalumeau means "reed" and is derived from the Greek "calamos" and the Latin "calamus". Chalumeaux had a range of about one octave (F4-G5). From the Renaissance onward they were made in various tunings, from treble to bass in keeping with the custom of the time.

In the late Middle Ages the term chalumeau (German: Schalmei, English: shawm) came to be used as a generic term for the whole shawm family.

From the chalumeau to the clarinet

Johann Christoph Denner (died 1707), an instrument maker from Nuremberg, is today generally credited with the invention of the clarinet, which evolved from the chalumeau toward the end of the 17th century. Exactly what Denner's innovations were is not clear, which means that the exact difference in construction between the chalumeau and the clarinet, which coexisted for over half a century, is not known. What is generally accepted, however, is that Denner was the first to equip the chalumeau with two keys.

Following his example his son Jakob and other instrument makers of the time began producing clarinets with two keys and a wider bore. The chalumeau's cylindrical bell was replaced by one that flared, and the clarinet tubing was given its characteristic barrel-shaped bulge (barrel) below the mouthpiece.

As on all baroque woodwind instruments the position of the hands had not yet been determined, so clarinets were made so that either hand could be in the lower position (for instance, a hole for the little finger was drilled on both the left and the right sides, the hole that was not needed was blocked up).

On the chalumeau only the fundamental register was played, in other words the pitches from the fundamental that could be produced using the fingerholes (the clarinet's lowest register retains the name chalumeau to the present day). The sound is said to have been less than pleasant, having even been described as "wailing". Initially only the upper register, the so-called clarinet register, was played on the clarinet. The high notes were produced by overblowing, the fingering remaining the same as in the fundamental scale. Overblowing was achieved with the aid of a speaker key on the reverse of the tubing (which was operated by the thumb) and was made easier by the small mouthpiece and narrow reed.

Because the clarinet overblows to the twelfth (octave + fifth) due to its cylindrical tubing, at least two keys were required to bridge the gap between the fundamental scale and the first overblown note.

Until the middle of the 18th century most clarinets had two keys: their lowest note was written F3. Pitches up to G4 were produced without keys, A4 with the front key, Bb4 by opening both keys. B4 was only rarely used and was produced by altering lip tension (using either the Bb4 or C5 fingering). B4 was not easily playable until a third key (B4 key) was added, which also extended the range downward to E3. The pitches from C5 upward (to about G6) were played by overblowing.

The clarinet's timbre was originally hard and trumpet-like in the upper register, which not only earned it its name (little clarino or little trumpet) but also defined its initial role in the orchestra: the playing of trumpet-like parts in the upper register. By the end of the 18th century it had completely taken over from the previous incumbent of this position, the clarino (high trumpet). At the same time solo literature for the clarinet began to appear which was already exploiting the instrument's great range and variety of timbre.

In search of the pure tone

Like all woodwinds the clarinet suffered from the impure intonation and poor tonal quality of those notes played using cross-fingerings. The first attempts to solve this problem focused on the addition of keys. These early keys were prone to malfunction and most clarinetists rejected them as a merely temporary solution. Instead instrument makers began producing clarinets in many different tunings. Whereas baroque clarinets - like the natural trumpets of the period - were still being made chiefly in C and D, the second half of the 18th century saw the introduction of instruments in B, Bb, A, Ab and G so that several keys could be played while retaining evenness of timbre and purity of intonation.

This practice caused new problems, however. Aside from the fact that clarinetists now had to buy several instruments, switching between mouthpieces of varying size proved problematical for the embouchure and the change from an instrument that was already warmed up to a cold one posed new problems in terms of tuning. Although so-called "pièces de rechange", components that could be exchanged, alleviated certain technical difficulties, they fell far short of solving the problem of inaccurate tuning.

But although the construction of clarinets in various tunings did not solve the problem of intonation it did result in a wide choice of timbres which was greatly appreciated by musicians.

By the end of the 18th century instruments with five keys had become standard. The clarinet had established itself in the orchestra, in wind bands and in military bands. In the Classical period composers began to move away from clarinet concertos, in which the clarinet played mainly in the upper register, and made increasing use of the instrument's lower notes (W. A. Mozart was a pioneer of this). In chamber and orchestral music the playing of broken chords in the chalumeau register as accompaniment to the melody became particularly popular.

Clarinet in D, Paris, France, 1830s (Musikinstrumentenmuseum Schloss Kremsegg, Austria, Collection Streitwieser)

From the second half of the 18th century a new awareness of the tonal qualities of the clarinet slowly emerged which blossomed in the age of sentimentalism. No longer was the clarinet sound seen as trumpet-like, hard, shrill and bright, but as the ideal vehicle for the expression of emotions. In his Ideen zur Ästhetik der Tonkunst (1784/85) Chr. Fr. D. Schubart had already described the clarinet's timbre as "sweet", "yearning" and "emotion melted in love".

19th century - striving for technical perfection

Clarinet in Eb, unsigned, probably by Conrad Eschenbach, Musikinstrumentenfabrik Markneukirchen, Saxony, founded 1883 (Musikinstrumentenmuseum Schloss Kremsegg, Austria, Collection Streitwieser)

At the turn of the century innovative instrument makers provided the clarinet with more keys.

The Frenchman J. X. Lefèvre added a sixth, a seventh was patented in 1800 by the Englishman James Wood and J. F. Simiot, another Frenchman, added a trill key and a small pipe to the G4 tone hole to prevent the escape of water.

In 1812 the German clarinetist Iwan Mueller presented a new model with thirteen keys, setting a milestone for all modern clarinet mechanics. His system was enthusiastically received by clarinetists and became the basis of imitation and improvement over the entire century.

In his key arrangement he took pains to ensure that all previous fingerings could be retained. He replaced the leather or felt key pads with skin pads filled with wool. Mueller was also an advocate of playing with the reed on the lower lip - up to that time playing reed uppermost had been widespread.

In around 1840 parts of the keywork that Theobald Boehm had invented for the flute were transferred to the clarinet by the Parisian clarinetist Hyacinthe Eléonore Klosé (1808-1880) in collaboration with the instrument maker Louis-Auguste Buffet (died 1885). This "clarinette à anneaux mobiles" ("clarinet with movable rings") served as the prototype of the so-called Boehm clarinet with seventeen keys which is nowadays widely used in Romance and Anglo-Saxon countries.

The Mueller clarinet was improved in Germany in around 1860 by Carl Baermann and Georg Ottensteiner (1815-1879). The 22-key Oehler clarinet, which was developed in 1900 by the instrument maker Oskar Oehler (1858-1936) and is now played in German-speaking countries, is a direct continuation of this development.

Present day

Because the clarinet's modulatory capabilities made it especially well suited to the sound ideal of the Romantic period it became the most important wind instrument in the Romantic orchestra in the 19th century along with the horn (since Beethoven it has been customary to use two). The Bb clarinet became standard, with the A and C clarinets also in use, although the latter is only very seldom called for today on account of its characteristic timbre (e.g., in the "witches' sabbath" movement in Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique).

In military, popular and jazz music only the Bb clarinet is widespread. In jazz, which gave the orchestral clarinet modern techniques such as glissando to play, the clarinet was often used as a melody instrument but was replaced more and more by the saxophone. In the USA jazz clarinetists traditionally double on other woodwind instruments in the same register as their own. In the production of musicals several reeds often share a part.


Clarinets are transposing instruments. Notation is in treble clef. Notation for the bass clarinet is written in treble and bass clef.

All clarinets have the same fingering. The written pitches refer to the fingering that the clarinetist is to use on his or her instrument. In other words, if a particular written pitch is to be played by two clarinets in different tunings, both instruments use the same fingering. Because the fundamental pitch of each instrument is different, the same fingering produces a different sounded pitch.

This practice is a historical development and has the advantage for the musician of his having to learn only one system of fingering, which he uses on every instrument in the clarinet family. Thus the fingering of a notated Bb major scale is always the same, but played on a Bb clarinet it sounds as an Ab major scale, and on an A clarinet as a G major scale.

Clarinetists read the score as if it were written for a C clarinet and transpose according to which instrument they are playing. On the C clarinet the sound is as written.

This correlation between notation and sound means that the written compass of all clarinets ranges from E3 to C7.

Higher-pitched clarinets sound higher than written. The Eb clarinet sounds a minor third higher than written, the D clarinet a major second:

Lower-pitched clarinets sound lower than written. The Bb clarinet sounds a major second lower than written, the A clarinet a minor third. The basset horn in F sounds a fifth lower than written, the bass clarinet in Bb a ninth lower:


On all clarinets the written compass ranges from E3 - C7.

On the C clarinet this is also the range of sounding pitches.
The clarinet in Bb has a range from D3 - Bb6 (to G6 in orchestral playing).
The clarinet in A has a range from C#3 - A6 (to F#6 in orchestral playing).

Demarcation of registers on the Bb clarinet (sounding pitches given)

Lower register (chalumeau register):

  • D3 - E4

Middle register (throat register):

  • F4 - Ab4

Upper register (clarinet register):

  • A4 - F6

Highest register:

  • G#6 - Bb6

Some clarinets possess an extra half tone in the low register: these instruments have a slightly longer tube with an Eb key (produces a Db3 on the Bb clarinet).


In modern compositions microtones (e.g., quarter tones) are also asked for. On both the clarinet and the oboe they can be performed either by altering the embouchure or by using special fingerings, usually cross-fingerings.

Microintervals are intervals that are smaller than a half tone. Fingering charts for microtones on the clarinet (e.g., B. Bartolozzi: "New sounds for Woodwinds", 1967; Caravan; Rehfeldt) give fingerings for the same tone which are often very different and must therefore be tried by the clarinetist.

Sound production


The clarinet is unique among the woodwinds in that it has a cylindrical tube, whereas the tubing of the oboe, bassoon and saxophone is conical.

The cylindrical form, which is closed at one end and open at the other, lends the instrument the acoustic properties of a stopped organ pipe: it sounds an octave below a conical instrument of the same length and when sound is produced only the odd harmonics speak which means the first overblown harmonic is the twelfth (not the octave).

To play, the reed is placed on the lower lip, which is pressed against the lower teeth while the upper teeth grip the mouthpiece on the closed side. When blowing the clarinet, the reed is controlled and set in motion by means of lip pressure, air pressure and the points of contact between the reed and the lower lip. The vibrating reed sends little puffs of air into the air column inside the instrument, thus causing the air column to vibrate.

When attacking strongly in the low register the reed hits the mouthpiece; in piano it swings freely and does not touch the tip of the mouthpiece - beside producing a soft and clear sound this also makes it possible to play a pianissimo that can fade to complete silence.


The notes of the clarinet's compass are produced either by opening or closing the appropriate tone hole or key with one finger or by a fingering combination.

The clarinet's fingering is rather more complicated than that of the other woodwinds. This is due to the instrument's unusually long fundamental compass; because it overblows to a twelfth (3rd harmonic = octave + a fifth) its fundamental compass consists of nineteen half tones. To bridge the gap between the highest notes of its fundamental register (on the Bb clarinet Eb4-Ab4) and the first overblown note, difficult fingering combinations are used.

If the clarinetist attacks normally, the written compass from E3-Bb4 is produced with the help of the keys.

On the clarinet, overblowing is achieved with a speaker key. The first overblown note is B4, a twelfth above E3. The range B4-C6 is produced by first-degree overblowing (in theory this is possible to F6). From C#6 second-degree overblowing is used (from E6 in the French system). In addition, special fingerings with keys are used to correct intonation.

Sound production on the Bb clarinet:

  • D3-Ab4: normal attack (from the fundamental)
  • A4-Bb5: first-degree overblowing (to the 3rd harmonic)
  • from B5: second-degree overblowing (to the 5th harmonic), special fingerings

Many notes, especially those in the upper register, can be played with one of several fingerings. It is up to the clarinetist to choose the fingering best suited to the passage being played.

Playing Techniques


Despite its complicated keywork the clarinet is extremely agile and allows great dexterity. Its agility is exceeded only by the flute, which is due to the clarinet's particularly difficult fingering.

Legatos played on the clarinet have an especially velvety sound which makes it the perfect instrument for the performance of trills and tremolos, arpeggios, scales and legato phrases.

Single Tonguing

Very fast sequences of notes played staccato are also possible in longer passages. Using single tonguing sixteenth notes can be played up to about MM 150.


Microtonal periodic fluctuations in pitch and/or volume which are produced by movements of the diaphragm, larynx and lips.

Is not asked for in orchestral playing for reasons of tone, but is one of the key techniques for shaping jazz styles.



Forced, short attack followed by a rapid reduction in tone intensity.


Forced, short attack with continuance of tone intensity.


Rapid dynamic reduction from forte to piano.

Double/triple tonguing

Double and triple tonguing are hard to perform because the articulation is hindered by the reed. For this reason these techniques are rarely used.

Flutter tonguing

The clarinetist articulates a lingual R (produced with the tip of the tongue) or a rolled (guttural) R against the palate.

The slower the articulation, the softer the sound. In principle this technique can be performed over the entire range but is seldom required of the clarinet.


A good and substantial effect on the clarinet and for this reason a typical playing technique, although the fingering of some trills makes them difficult to play. Certain trills are made easier by trill keys. Whole tone and half tone trills can be played on the Bb clarinet from the lowest note to around F6. The higher the trill, the more penetrating the sound.


Two notes played repeatedly and quickly one after the other, which produces a trembling, vibrating sound. Tremolos with an interval of a third or a fourth are the most common. Tremolos with an interval of a fifth upward sound more ponderous, tremolos with an interval of up to an octave are technically possible with no problems, as long as one goes no higher than C6.


Produced by partly covering the tone holes or by changes of fingering. Playable over the whole compass, with some limitations: glissandos which cross from one register to another are generally very difficult to play. Glissandos in the upper register are also difficult because of the complicated fingering.


The performance of broken chords is particularly characteristic of clarinet playing.


Legato passages, intervals of a third, fourth, fifth and sixth, large leaps and appogiaturas are typical playing techniques on the clarinet.



Describes a modern fingering and blowing technique which makes it possible to play two or more notes at the same time. Playing more than three notes simultaneously is extremely difficult.

The clarinet is blown in such a way that a partial (or several partials) of the fingered note speaks as well, or that only the partials sound. Multiphonics range from harmonic multiphonics (sounds that develop from a prime tone and harmonic partials) to sounds with inharmonic partials and complex sounds consisting predominantly of noise components.

Multiphonics are produced by using special fingerings and changing the force of attack at the same time or by using conventional fingerings with a radically altered embouchure. On the clarinet changing the force of attack plays a particularly important role. The instrument is often held experimentally in different positions.

Fingering charts for multiphonics can produce different results on different types of clarinet and must therefore be tried out.

Pitch bending

Pitch bending describes a fluctuation of intonation or a pitch alteration in a single note which is produced by altering the embouchure. During pitch bending the tongue's position moves from an articulated "e" to an "oo".

On the clarinet, which is better suited for playing this technique than the double-reed instruments, relatively large pitch alterations are possible downward: low notes can be lowered by up to a quarter tone; notes in the middle register (from G4-D5) up to a minor second and higher notes from a major second to an octave.

In contrast, bending the pitch upward is possible over only a small interval.

Further modern techniques

Teeth on reed, air and breathing noises, playing with the mouthpiece on the lower joint (without the barrel and the upper joint), flute or trumpet embouchure (both with no mouthpiece), slap tongue, key-slap, circular breathing, use of electronic devices …

Sound characteristics

Rich, mellow, warm, gentle, melodic, vocal, round, lustrous, brilliant, bright, throaty, penetrating, dark, menacing, dramatic, explosive, incisive, expressive, shrill, reedy, caressing, pale, lively.

The clarinet's ability to play smooth and expressive legatos makes it the ideal instrument for the performance of evocative cantilenas.

If one compares clarinets of different pitches one finds that there are subtle differences in timbre:

  • Bb clarinet: lustrous, brilliant, rich, transparent.
  • A clarinet: softer and less forceful than the Bb clarinet.
  • C clarinet: brighter, colder and harder, more "pert" than the other two clarinets. It was used in the orchestra to evoke pastoral moods.

Registers of the Bb clarinet (sounds as written)

Lower register (chalumeau register)
D3 - E4

Darker, fuller, mellower and warmer timbre, especially in piano. Can also produce melancholy effects. The lowest notes especially sound darker than those of the bassoon at the same pitch. In tutti passages this register is seldom distinctly audible and is therefore used primarily to flesh out the overall sound.

Middle register (throat register)
F4 - Ab4

Compared to the lowest notes of the upper register the notes in this register sound a little weaker and duller.

The highest notes of the clarinet's fundamental range are found in the middle register which is considerably wider than the fundamental range of the other woodwinds because the clarinet does not overblow to the octave but to a twelfth (octave + a fifth). It is for this reason that the highest notes of the middle register, especially those produced with the aid of keys, do not sound so full or rich in overtones.

Upper register (clarinet register)
A4 - F6

It is the notes within this compass that are used most often.

The notes of the upper register sound brilliant, lustrous, bright and compact.

Due to their vocal character they have frequently been compared to the human soprano voice. They express a range of emotions from tender sentiment to bursts of passion, from seductive sensuality to desperate longing, or from cat-like cunning to demonic malevolence.

Because the instrument possesses great expressive flexibility similar to the human voice it partners the singers in opera, either accompanying them in unison or repeating or anticipating sung themes.

Highest register
Gb6 - Bb6

These high notes are seldom required. Especially from A6 upward they sound piercing and shrill and no longer have the clarinet's typically velvety sound.

Sound Combinations

Like all the woodwinds the clarinet is very well suited for combinations with other instruments. Its sound is adaptable enough to produce an excellent tonal blend with all instrument groups. A particularly good blend is achieved with the horn.

Clarinet + woodwinds

Clarinet + flute

Played in unison an overall sound results which is at once mellow, bright and lustrous. Low notes played in this combination sound particularly warm and rich. In octave combinations the clarinet usually plays an octave below the flute; indeed it plays two octaves lower when combined with the piccolo.

Clarinet + oboe

Very full-sounding in unison as well as in octaves and in chords. In the low register the stern and acerbic properties of the oboe are more prominent, in the upper register the mellow clarinet. Because the clarinet's compass in the low register reaches almost an entire octave below the oboe the clarinet also plays an octave below the oboe or in unison with the English horn.

Clarinet + bassoon

Play mostly in octaves. Because the clarinet's sound is related to that of the bassoon and the oboe it supports the blend of those two instruments. The clarinet playing in the low register in unison with the bassoon is a little more prominent thanks to its darker and very powerful sound in this register.

Clarinet + brass instruments

Clarinet + trumpet, trombone

Clarinet + trumpet produce a very bright effect especially when the clarinet is playing in the upper register.

Clarinet and trombone combinations do not produce a very homogeneous effect.

Clarinet + horn

A mellow-sounding blend in unison which increases in brightness the higher the notes are that the clarinet plays. The clarinet playing one or two octaves above the horns also produces a full sound.

Clarinet + stringed instruments

The clarinets and strings combine to produce a very intensive blend.

The clarinet often plays an octave above the strings. If it plays in its highest (fullest-sounding) register the sound combination attains great volume.

Clarinet + cello

The cello is the instrument best suited for playing in unison with the clarinet which plays in its low and middle registers.

Clarinet + singing voice

Especially in opera the clarinet is often used in combination with the soprano or alto voices. The clarinet frequently accompanies the singer in unison or together with the viola an octave lower.

Repertoire (selection)

Orchestral works

  • Johann Christian Bach

    • Symphony no. 2 B-flat major
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    • Symphonies (nos. 31 "Paris" K. 297, 35 "Haffner" K. 385, 39 E-flat major K. 543, 40 g minor K. 550)
    • Cosi fan tutte (B clarinets), La Clemenza di Tito
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    • Symphonies (2 clarinets)
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    • Symphonies 4-6 (2 clarinets)
  • Richard Strauss

    • Salome (6 clarinets), Elektra and Die Frau ohne Schatten (8 clarinets), Der Rosenkavalier (4 clarinets)
  • Gustav Mahler

    • Symphonies (up to 6 clarinets)
  • Gustav Holst

    • The Planets (also works for wind band)
  • Arnold Schoenberg

    • Gurrelieder (7 clarinets)
  • George Gershwin

    • Rhapsody in Blue
  • Leonard Bernstein

    • Prelude, Fugue and Riffs

Concertos for clarinet and orchestra

  • Antonio Vivaldi

    • Clarinet concertos
  • Johannes M. Molter

    • 6 clarinet concertos
  • Carl Stamitz

    • Clarinet concertos
  • Franz Tausch

    • Clarinet concertos
  • Wolfgang A. Mozart

    • Concerto A major K. 622
  • Louis Spohr

    • Concerto c minor op. 26 (1810)
  • Carl Maria von Weber

    • Concertino op. 109
    • Clarinet concertos op. 114 and op. 118
  • Richard Strauss

    • Concertino for clarinet, bassoon, and string orchestra with harp (1947)
  • Claude Debussy

    • Première rhapsodie for clarinet, piano, and orchestra
  • Ferruccio Busoni

    • Concertino op. 48
  • Igor Stravinsky

    • Ebony Concerto for clarinet and Jazz orchestra
  • William Walton

    • Clarinet concerto
  • Paul Hindemith

    • Clarinet concertos
  • Aaron Copland

    • Clarinet concertos

Chamber music

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    • Quintet E-flat major for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon K. 452
    • Kegelstatt-Trio K. 498 for clarinet, viola, and piano
    • Clarinet quintet A major K. 581
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    • Trio op. 11 for clarinet, cello, and piano
    • Quintet op. 16 for piano and wind instruments
    • 2 duets for clarinet and bassoon
  • Louis Spohr

    • Fantaisie et Variations sur un thème de Danzi op. 81
  • Carl Maria von Weber

    • Quintet op. 182
    • Variationen über ein Thema aus Silvana op. 128
    • Grand Duo concertant op. 204 (1815/16)
  • Robert Schumann

    • Drei Phantasiestücke op. 73
  • Johannes Brahms

    • Trio a minor op. 114 for clarinet, cello, and piano
    • Quintet b minor op. 115 for clarinet and strings
    • Sonatas f minor and E-flat major op. 120
  • Camille Saint-Saëns

    • Sonata op. 167
  • Max Reger

    • Clarinet quintet A major op. 146
    • Sonatas A-flat major and f-sharp minor op. 49
    • Sonata B-flat major op. 107
  • Arnold Schoenberg

    • Pierrot lunaire
  • Ferruccio Busoni

    • Elegie for clarinet and piano
  • Igor Stravinsky

    • Excerpts from L´Histoire du Soldat for clarinet, violin, and piano
  • Béla Bartók

    • Contrasts op. 111 for clarinet, violin, and piano
  • Alban Berg

    • Vier Stücke op. 5 for clarinet and piano
  • Arthur Honegger

    • Sonatina for clarinet and piano
  • Paul Hindemith

    • Sonata

Solo works

  • Claude Debussy

    • Rhapsodie for clarinet
  • Igor Stravinsky

    • 3 pieces for solo clarinet
  • Rudolf Jettel

    • 5 Grotesken for solo clarinet
  • Heinrich Sutermeister

    • Capriccio for clarinet in A solo