Acoustics of the clarinet

clarinet fingering legend

When two or three fingerings appear on the same impedance graph or the same spectrum, it means that these fingerings are acoustically identical. Different levers may be used to close or open the same hole or holes. This applies especially to the levers operated by the little fingers of both hands.

More usually, however, different fingerings for the same note are acoustically different and so have different impedance spectra and sound spectra.

On this site, all pitches are written pitches. For a Bb clarinet, the sounding pitch is one tone lower (written C sounds as Bb), for an A clarinet a minor third lower (written C sounds A, whence the name). In the international pitch naming convention, middle C is C4. See also notes and frequencies.


a half-sharp
# a sharp
#/ one and a half-sharps
a half-flat

Contact: Joe Wolfe /
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