How to Characterize the Clarinet Tone

The clarinet has several ways of being characterized and describe by a listener. It depends on what range the clarinet is playing in, how well the player can stay in tune and the timbre that the performer is able to produce from the clarinet. A suitable characterization should include all three of these elements. For example, "The clarinet tone is playing in the high range and has a sharp texture with a slightly flat intonation."

Step 1

Determine the pitch level that the clarinet is playing in. When characterizing tone, it is important to identify whether the clarinet is playing in the high, medium or low register. Each register sounds different, so it is important to first determine what register you are trying to characterize.

Step 2

Describe the clarinet tone in terms of texture. Use words that you would normally use to describe a texture. Words such as grainy, smooth, rough and flexible are appropriate ways to characterize clarinet tones.

Step 3

Determine whether the clarinet is playing in tune. You can tell by using a tuner to check pitches or comparing the clarinet with a piano playing along with the clarinet. If the pitch is below the correct pitch, characterize the pitch as flat. If the pitch is slightly above the correct pitch, characterize the pitch as sharp.


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