The clarinet belongs to the single reed members of the woodwind family, the other being the saxophone, although in the woodwind section of the orchestra it is the only single reed instrument. By single reed it means that I have just one piece of wood here.
So we have one reed, a single reed, which is strapped in various forms sometimes its wrapped around with a piece of string or some type of cloth or in my case a piece of metal, it's really a preference. And underneath that single piece of cane there is a hole and then that continues down into the body of the instrument. If you can see where the air goes down, its an absolutely tiny tiny hole down there, the effect is a bit like when you put a blade of grass between your fingers, because it's across a hole and you then seal up that space in a way with your lips, and it’s the air whooshing past that reed which has the hole in front of it and that vibration and the air behind it then creates the sound.
Nowadays they make the very top bit out of ebonite which is a little bit more stable a material as it is in and out of your mouth, so it is much better for tuning and they can shape it better and more easily and they have the machines to make it more finely. I think the shape and size is sort of crucial to the sound you are able to make on your instrument. I can show you different bits of tuning, how it effects the tuning.
Right so this is as high as it can go, I’ll just play you an open G which is a really easy note on the clarinet because you don’t use any fingers at all. I’ll play the open G (plays) ok and if I pull it out quite a lot it will sound like this (plays which actually becomes an F sharp quite surprisingly.