The clarinet could perhaps be called an invention out of necessity. Musical necessity, that is! During the Late Baroque Era, composers such as Handel and Bach, began requiring higher notes written for the trumpet, an instrument that struggled to meet such demands. The range of pitch desired was called the clarion range. The name “clarinet” is believed to be a blend of the words “trumpet” and “clarion.”
Johann Christoph Denner is credited with the invention of the clarinet, as he was the one who added a register key to the ancestor of the clarinet, the chalumeau.
While the clarinet can be played on a very wide range, the most common clarinet of today is the B flat. Due to its musical flexibility, however, the clarinet enjoys everything from the orchestral hall to the marching band, and klezmer to jazz.