Bass Clarinet

Instrument Overview

picture of a bass clarinet

The bass clarinet is a member of the woodwind instrument family. It is larger than a soprano clarinet (the most common type of clarinet) and produces lower notes, but the bass clarinet is played just like a clarinet, with many keys operated by the player's left and right hands. The reed that vibrates to produce sounds is somewhat larger than that of a clarinet. A metal peg attached to the instrument is used to adjust the height of the bass clarinet, which is usually played sitting down.

Some people choose to learn bass clarinet as their first instrument, but most begin by first learning to play the (soprano) clarinet and eventually add the bass clarinet as a second instrument.

Other Resources

Bass Clarinet Facts

  • Instrument Family: Woodwind
  • Key: Bb - sounds one octave plus a major 2nd below the written note
  • Clef: treble clef
  • Reputable Student Brands Include: Selmer, Yamaha

Some bass clarinetists to listen to:

  • Eric Dolphy
  • Michael Pilz
  • Harry Sparnaay