Clarinet family

In order from left to right: BB♭ contrabass, EE♭ contra-alto, B♭ bass, E♭ alto, B♭ soprano
Size comparison among the A, E, and B clarinets

The family clarinet family is a musical instrument family including the well-known B♭ clarinet, the slightly less familiar E♭, A, and bass clarinets, and other clarinets.

Clarinets other than the standard B♭ and A clarinets are sometimes known as harmony clarinets. However, there are many differently-pitched clarinet types, some of which are very rare. They may be grouped into sub-families, but grouping and terminology vary; the list below reflects popular usage and compares it with systems advocated by a few influential authors. See separate articles for additional details.


  1. F. Geoffrey Rendall. The Clarinet. Third Edition. London: Ernest Benn Limited, 1971, pp. 3-4.
  2. Nicholas Shackleton. "Clarinet", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed 21 February 2006), (subscription access).
  3. Albert R. Rice. From the Clarinet D'Amour to the Contra Bass: A History of Large Size Clarinets, 1740-1860. Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 9-10.
  4. Lawson, Colin (Nov 1987). "The Basset Clarinet Revived". Early Music. 15 (4): 487–501. doi:10.1093/earlyj/XV.4.487.
  5. Rice, Albert R. (Sep 1986). "The Clarinette d'Amour and Basset Horn". Galpin Society Journal /". The Galpin Society Journal, Vol. 39. 39: 97–111. doi:10.2307/842136. JSTOR 842136. line feed character in |journal= at position 23 (help)
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