The clarinet is a musical instrument that is a part of the woodwind family. The name derives from adding the suffix -et (meaning little) to the Italian word clarino (meaning a type of trumpet), as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed. In jazz contexts, it is sometimes informally referred to as the "licorice stick."
Clarinets comprise a family of instruments of differing sizes and pitches. The clarinet family is the largest such woodwind family, with more than a dozen types, ranging from the BB♭ contrabass to the A♭ soprano. Of these, many are rare or obsolete, and music written for them is usually played on the common types. The unmodified word clarinet usually refers to the B♭ soprano clarinet, by far the most popular clarinet.
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