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Clarinet Quartet: four equals more

Clarinet quartet: four equals more

A clarinet quartet is an ensemble made up of four clarinet players. There are no restrictions on which four members of the clarinet family are used – sometimes four B Flat instruments are used, other times the combination is made up of soprano, two B flat and a bass clarinet, and there are also quartets that are made up wholly of bass instruments.

A quartet can play a broad range of music, ranging from traditional chamber music pieces to arrangements of modern favorites. Often string quartets will be arranged for clarinets, as the choice of clarinets can be matched to be similar to the instruments in a string quartet, making arranging a bit easier.

While rare, there are some original pieces for clarinet, such as 'Conversation' for Clarinet Quartet (2004) by Costas Dafnis, A Knight Remembered (1997) by Alun Cook, and the quartets written by the Finnish clarinetist Bernhard Henrik Crusell (1775-1838). Many original compositions are commissioned or inspired by specific quartets. You can find a great collection of originally written music for clarinet quartet here!

A quartet of clarinets has many advantages for players. It gives new players a chance to work in a small sized ensemble with other clarinetists who can probably answer questions they have and know exactly what is required. Quartets are also a good option for more advanced clarinetists who wish to try different members of the clarinet family but do not live in an area with enough good players to form a larger clarinet ensemble.


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About the Author:

written by Natalia Forrest


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