The heckel-clarina, also known as clarina or patent clarina, is a very rare woodwind instrument, invented and manufactured by Wilhelm Heckel in Wiesbaden-Biebrich, Germany. Heckel received a patent for the instrument on 8 December 1889.[1] It was apparently intended to be used for the shepherd’s pipe solo in Act III of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.[1] It was used beginning in 1891 at the Festspielhaus, Bayreuth as a substitute for Wagner's Holztrompete. The clarina was found more practical and more effective in producing the desired tone-colour.[2]

The heckel-clarina is a single reed, conical bore instrument made of metal, resembling a soprano saxophone.[1] It has the fingering of the oboe and the clarinet single-reed mouthpiece.[2] Two versions, one a transposing instrument in B♭ and one in E♭, were produced. According to Heckel's promotional materials, the heckel-clarina's tone resembled that of a cor anglais in its low register, a saxophone in the middle, and a clarinet in its upper range.[1] The compass of the B♭ instrument is:[2]

Notation. Real sounds.

The clarina was found very effective as a solo instrument.[2] The instrument is not to be confused with the heckelphone-clarinet, also a very rare conical bore single reed woodwind by Heckel but lower in pitch and made of wood.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Dullat, Günter (2001). Klarinetten: Grundzüge ihrer Entwicklung. Frankfurt am Main: Bochinsky.
  2. 1 2 3 4  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Schlesinger, Kathleen (1911). "Clarina". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 437.

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