Petite clarinette en mi bémol

Dear Dorico’s team,

I would have needed to write a part of “petite clarinette en mi bémol”, which is called soprano clarinet, sopranino clarinet — in English. Just to let the translator know that I found it under the name of “sopranino clarinet”, name that does not exist in french :wink:
Keep up the good work !
Marc

“petite clarinette en mi bémol”

I don’t know what happens in America, but in the UK the term is “Eb Clarinet” - i.e. a clarinet pitched a fourth higher than the standard Bb clarinet.

I’ve never heard of a soprano clarinet (soprano saxophone - yes, however).

Apart from the standard “Clarinet” (in Bb or A) and “Bass Clarinet”, the names of the rest of the family are generally confusing. “Eb Clarinet” usually means a fourth higher than the Bb which is what is usually meant in orchestral and wind band scores, but there are also Eb clarinets pitched a fifth lower! There have been even higher pitched clarinets in several different keys, up to a “piccolo Clarinet” an octave above the standard Bb. Some of those have been called “sopranino clarinets.”

The high Ab clarinet (a 7th above the standard) is still manufactured, and has been used by Bartok, Tavener, and by clarinet choir ensembles etc - and arrangements like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-aqcHlSFEI :wink:

Quick demos of “all” the clarinet family here, though it doesn’t go into any detail about their names: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjERmUZUY78

The Eb clarinet a fifth lower is (in NL) usually called Alto Clarinet. The family here usually is:

  • Eb
  • Bb and A
  • Alto in Eb
  • Bass in Bb
  • Contra Alto in Eb
  • Contra Bass in Bb

The Eb clarinet which is a fifth below the standard Bb soprano clarinet is called the Alto Clarinet in the U.S. also.

Over here in the U.S. confusion unfortunately reigns in the naming of the contra-alto and contra-bass clarinets. Sometimes the Contra-alto clarinet (an octave below the alto clarinet) is called “contrabass clarinet in Eb” which isn’t correct in my opinion.

Thank you everyone ! Actually, my post was aimed to the french translator of the program, to make sure that the localization in french will be corrected regarding “sopranino clarinet Eb”, which is called “Petite clarinette en Mi bémol” in french (Symphonie fantastique, many Ravel works… so quite useful for french music !)

“Actually, my post was aimed to the french translator of the program, to make sure that the localization in french will be corrected regarding “sopranino clarinet Eb”, which is called “Petite clarinette en Mi bémol” in french (Symphonie fantastique, many Ravel works… so quite useful for french music !)”

That’s what I assumed, Marc.

The Eb clarinet is a wonderful addition to the orchestral palette if you’re a composer, but I have less than warm memories of sitting next to one as principal horn during the Symphonie Fantastique. It’s a real squealer, especially during the “Witches’ Sabbath” movement (“Songe d’une nuit du sabbat”).