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Clarinet choir: making beautiful music together

Making beautiful music together: clarinet choir

Clarinets are included in most modern day musical ensembles including orchestras, jazz bands, concert bands and marching bands. However the highlight of playing clarinet for many clarinetists is being part of a clarinet choir. This type of ensemble utilizes the different members of the clarinet family, the result being a beautiful full and agile sound with an ability to convey music of any emotion.

The sound has been described by some music fans as resembling a concert organ. Popular across the globe, choirs of clarinets play both arrangements of well known pieces and increasingly music written specifically for this type of clarinet ensemble.

There is no set number of members to a choir of clarinets. Some professional choirs, have as little as 10 members, others have up to 40. Usually the largest number of a single clarinet is the B flat clarinets, followed by Altos, Basses, and then individuals or maybe two players for the E flat soprano, contra bass and maybe even contra alto, depending on the skill and preferences of the choir members. There will usually also is a conductor.

The repertoire for these choirs is vast, with many pieces being arranged for choirs with different numbers of members and levels of ability. Few composers have written pieces specifically for a choir of clarinets of any type, though choirs of some note are beginning to commission their own pieces.

Until more composers come to value the sound and agility provided by a grouping of clarinets, however, most clarinet ensembles will continue to play arrangements of other pieces.

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written by Natalia Forrest


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