The Eb clarinet is also known as the E-flat clarinet and is generally regarded as the sopranino or piccolo member of this family of instruments. It is the smallest of the standard clarinets, being about a third shorter than a B-flat or A clarinet.
An E-flat clarinet may interest you for various reasons – not least the bright sound that it usually produces. This clarinet's tone range means it is frequently set in unison with flutes and oboes. It tends to represent a much greater technical challenge than other clarinets, so players normally need great "ears" and excellent technical skill to get the best out of it. While Eb clarinets aren't as common as B-flat clarinets, they are still used in a range of contexts including orchestras, concert bands and marching bands. You may wish to purchase an Eb clarinet for use in a clarinet choir, in addition to using alongside the Bb clarinet. However, the technical challenge inherent in playing an E-flat clarinet means we do not recommend one for a child or beginner. Instead, it is advised that younger players wait until their hands are sufficiently large to play a B-flat clarinet.A clarinet with an intriguing history of its own
The Eb clarinet became a popular choice for concert and military bands in the early 19th century. Parts written for D clarinet are often played on the more popular E-flat clarinet, with examples of orchestral compositions or operas featuring notable Eb clarinet solos including Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D major. More recent works using Eb clarinet range from John Adams's Chamber Symphony to Adriana Hölszky’s A due.Take your pick from a variety of E-flat clarinets
If you have a certain brand or manufacturer in mind, you will likely be delighted by the range of possibilities we can bring you for an Amati, Buffet, Yamaha or Selmer Eb clarinet. Alternatively, you may wish to invest in an Eb alto clarinet, which is traditionally used in concert band rather than orchestra settings. As dedicated and passionate players of woodwind instruments ourselves here at Dawkes Music, we can give you all of the assistance and guidance that you need to make the most informed choice of Eb clarinet purchase.