Bass clarinet is also more difficult to play high notes on. The mouthpiece is larger and you have to use a little more air than with a Bb clarinet. One good thing about the bass clarinet is that it always has one voice, so you don’t have to double it like you would with an Eb, Alto, Contra Alto, or Double Bass.
Playing the bass clarinet is relatively easy but takes some getting used to, especially on the lowest notes. But over time you will get them without any difficulty. Make sure your reed is wet enough.
The bass clarinet has the same arrangement, with the register key instead of the octave key. While the fingerings on the clarinet and bass clarinet are almost identical, you may find that bass clarinet is more difficult to learn because it requires more breathing support.
Used. The bass clarinet has been used regularly in orchestras and wind bands since the mid-19th century and became more common in the mid and late 20th century. A bass clarinet is not always in demand in orchestral music, but almost always in concert band music.
All clarinets use the same fingerings. The bass clarinet has some lower notes that a Bb clarinet doesn’t have, but you don’t change anything, you just add Xtra keys. Bass clarinets can go all the way down to low C. I’ve never seen fingerings for the bottom keys, but they’re easy to figure out.
It produces its sound in the same way as the clarinet. It’s tuned in the key of B, like the B flat clarinet, but it sounds an octave lower. It is notated in treble clef. It is written from E3 to E6, but it sounds from D2 to D5.
A student bass clarinet starts at $1,500, but quality student bass clarinets typically cost at least $2,000 but can go as high as $7,000 depending on the model you choose. A top-of-the-line professional bass clarinet typically costs between $10,000 and $15,000.
Bass clarinets of any kind do not belong on the march.
Oddly the bass clarinet is a treble clef instrument! It plays and reads the same as the Bb clarinet, although it sounds an octave lower. That’s a good thing, because if you’ve played the clarinet, you can pick up a bass clarinet and start right away without having to learn a new clef.
The bass clarinet’s bell curves upwards and more forward, like a saxophone, and the barrel is an S-curved piece of metal. Weighing between 30 and 50 pounds (13.6 kg – 22.6 kg), this instrument is far too heavy to hold in your hands.
Both have their lighter and less easy sides : I found it easier to get an acceptable initial sound on the clarinet, and I also found the posture to be easier. However, once you get started with the flute, many of the basics will come with practice (and good instruction).
The pitch range of the bass clarinet is wider than that of any other wind instrument – it can play as low as a bassoon (in order to be able to play bassoon parts, the instrument makers use four additional keys, so the professional instruments are sufficient to low C – that sounds like B flat major) and high to …
Eric Dolphy is the godfather of the jazz bass clarinet! Many current bass clarinettists credit him as the inspiration for recording the instrument in the first place, and he gave many jazz fans their first taste of this wonderful sound.