A Short History of the Clarinet

The year was 1700; Nuremberg the town;

The man was Johann Denner, a craftsman of renown.

He took the ancient Chalumeau and gave it just two keys,

and thus the clarinet's first sounds were wafted on the breeze.

Throughout the 18th century its repertory grew,

By Molter, Tausch and Stamitz, to mention but a few.

As more composers wrote for it, its keys increased as well;

First three then five and even some extending down the bell.

And then in 1791, through Anton Stadler's fame,

Came Mozart's great Concerto to immortalize his name.

So into a new century, eleven years had passed,

When Weber had a busy time, composing really fast

His famous Concertino and both concertos too;

Heinrich Baermann was the chap who had them all to do.

The Boehm system came along in 1839;

Still just the same today upon your clarinet and mine.

Klose, its inventor, was enormously astute

In basing it on Boehm's ring-key system for the flute.

As the 19th century was drawing to a close,

Brahms composed the four great works each clarinetist knows.

His inspiration for the music, graceful and profound,

Was Richard Muhlfeld's artistry and most exquisite sound.

There are so many other players worthy of a mention;

Technicians who contributed many an invention;

Composers who have written for the instrument we love;

I've merely scratched the surface in my little verse above.

But you should try to find out more, and this is what you do:

Read Weston, Rendall, Kroll, and then the future's up to YOU.