Home > Fingering Charts > Clarinet > Fingering Scheme

Fingering Scheme for Clarinet

The fingering scheme below describes the text and key images used to represent fingerings in the fingering charts.

 

All Keys Pressed and All Holes Covered

Boehm-System Clarinet

RT AG#12Eb3C# F F# E|123412B3F# G# E F

 

Oehler-System Clarinet

RT AG#1F2Eb3C# E F# Bb G#|12341a2Bb3G# F

 

Albert-System Clarinet

RT AG#12Eb3C# E F#|1341a2Bb3G# F

 

Three-Key Kinderklarinette

RT A123E|1234

 

 

Keys and Holes Common to Boehm, Oehler, Albert, and Kinderklarinette Systems

Left Thumb Keys

T Thumb hole
The thumb hole is closed by the left thumb for the majority of notes in the chalumeau, clarion, and altissimo registers.  The thumb hole is left open for certain throat tones.

R Register key
The register key vents a hole to raise the pitch by a twelth (one octave and seven semitones). The key is depressed by the left thumb for nearly all notes in the clarion and altissimo registers.

Left Hand Main Holes

1 First finger hole (F#/C#)
This hole is covered in most of the chalumeau and clarion tones as well as in various altissimo fingerings.  On Boehm-, Oehler-, and Albert-system models, the hole is left open as a vent for the lower altissimo notes.  (For alto, bass, and contrabass clarinets, a half-hole is used as the vent.)

2 Second finger hole (D/A)
This hole is covered for notes from D and below in the chalumeau register and from A and below in the clarion register, as well as in various other fingerings.

3 Third finger hole (C/G)
This hole is covered for notes from C and below in the chalumeau register and from G and below in the clarion register, as well as in various other fingerings.

Right Hand Main Holes

1 First finger hole (Bb/F)
This hole is closed for notes from chalumeau Bb and below and from clarion F and below as well as for various altissimo notes.

2 Second finger hole (A/E)
This hole is closed for notes from chalumeau A and below and from clarion E and below as well as for various altissimo notes.

3 Third finger hole (G/D)
This hole is closed for notes from chalumeau G and below and from clarion D and below as well as for various altissimo notes.

Boehm-, Oehler-, and Albert-System Models

Left Hand Side Keys

G# Side G# key
The side G# key is pressed by the bottom of the first finger of the left hand between the first and second joints.  The key is used to play throat G# and is used as a vent in many high and altissimo fingerings. Kinderklarinette models lack this key.

A Top A key
The A key is pressed by rolling the first finger of the left hand upward and pressing with the first joint.  The key is used primarily for playing throat tones A and Bb.

Left Hand Little Finger (Pinky) Keys

E (Boehm) or (Oehler and Albert) Low E/B key
All three models. The low E/B key used primarily for playing low chalumeau E and for low clarion B. On Boehm models, this key is doubled by a right hand little finger key.

F Low F/C key
Boehm models only. The low F/C key is used primarily for playing low chalumeau F and for low clarion C and is doubled by a right hand little finger key.

F# (Boehm) or (Oehler and Albert) Low F#/C# key
All three models. The low F#/C# key is used primarily for playing low chalumeau F# and for low clarion C#. On Boehm models, this key is doubled by a right hand little finger key.

C# (Boehm) or (Oehler and Albert) C#/G# key
All three models. The C#/G# key is used for playing chalumeau C# and clarion G# and acts as a vent for certain altissimo notes.

G# (Boehm) or (Oehler) G#/D# key
Some Boehm and Oehler models. The G#/D# key is used for playing chalumeau G# and clarion D# and acts as a vent for certain altissimo notes. This key is doubled by a right hand little finger key.

Bb Bb/F key
Some Oehler models. The Bb/F key is used primarily for playing chalumeau Bb and clarion F .

Left Hand Sliver Keys

F F/C Sliver Key
Oehler models only. This key raises chalumeau E2 and clarion B3 by a semitone to play chalumeau F2 and clarion C3.

Eb Eb/Bb Sliver Key
All three models. This key raises chalumeau D and clarion A by a semitone as an alternative to using the lower right hand side key or fork fingerings for chalumeau Eb and clarion Bb.

Right Hand Side Keys

1 First side key
All three models. On Boehm models, this uppermost side key raises throat G#, A, and Bb by a whole tone and can be used to play throat Bb with clear tone or clarion B and C as a throat tone.  This side key is also used as a trill key or alternate fingering to avoid crossing the break between the chalumeau and clarion registers.

2 Second side key
Boehm and Oehler models only. On Boehm models, the second side key raises throat G#, A, and Bb by a semitone and can be used to play throat A and Bb with a clear tone or clarion B as a throat tone.  This side key is also used as a trill key or alternate fingering to avoid crossing the break between the chalumeau and clarion registers.

3 Third side key
All three models. On Boehm models, the third side key is often used in combination with the fourth side key as a trill fingering or an alternate fingering to produce a clearer tone for certain throat tones. On Oehler and Albert models, the key is used as an alternative for playing chalumeau F4 and clarion C6.

4 Fourth side key (Eb/Bb)
All three models. The lower side key is used primarily for playing chalumeau Eb and clarion Bb.

Right Hand Little Finger (Pinky) Keys

E Low E/B key
Boehm models only. The low E/B key is used primarily for playing low chalumeau E and for low clarion B and is doubled by a left hand little finger key.

F (Boehm) or (Oehler and Albert) Low F/C key
All three models. The low F/C key is used primarily for playing low chalumeau F and for low clarion C. On Boehm modesl, this key is doubled by a left hand little finger key.

F# Low F#/C# key
Boehm models only. The low F#/C# key is used primarily for playing low chalumeau F# and for low clarion C# and is doubled by a left hand little finger key.

G# (Boehm) or (Oehler and Albert) G#/D# key
All three models. The G#/D# key is used to play chalumeau G# and clarion D# and acts as a vent to produce clearer high and altissimo tones.  The key is doubled only on certain Boehm and Oehler models equipped with a fifth left hand little finger key.

Right Hand Sliver Keys

a Alternate Key
Oehler and Albert models only. The alternate key is not traditionally pressed by the player's fingers but closes its tone hole when RH 2 or RH 3 is pressed. The key is used in select quarter tone fingerings.

B B/F# Sliver Key
Boehm models only. The B/F# sliver key raises chalumeau Bb and clarion F by a semitone as an alternative to using the right hand middle finger for chalumeau B and clarion F#.

Bb Bb/F Sliver Key
Oehler and Albert models only. The Bb/F sliver key raises chalumeau A and clarion E by a semitone to play chalumeau Bb and clarion F.

Boehm-System Alto, Bass, and Contrabass Clarinet Keys

0 Half Hole (LH 1)
The left hand first finger ring has a small plate for depressing the ring without closing the hole, useful for high register notes.

Eb Low Eb Key
The low Eb key is found on all low clarinets to extend the typical soprano range downward by a semitone.  It is located below the right hand low E key.

D (right hand little finger) or D (left hand little finger) or D (right thumb) Low D Key
The low D key is found on many bass and contrabass clarinets to extend the range further downward.  This key can be located in either little finger stack or as a right thumb key, depending on the model.

C# Low C# Key

C Low C Key
The low C# and low C keys are found on many bass and contrabass clarinets to extend the range downward to written C.  These keys are commonly operated by the right thumb.

Three-Key Kinderklarinette Model

The Kinderklarinette ("children's clarinet") model considered here is that of the Kindercklarinette C1 maple wood model made by Guntram Wolf in Kornach, Germany. Arnold Wendl, who submitted a fingering chart for the model, describes the instrument:

"It's a one-joint-only clarinet with bell; single finger holes for left hand thumb, index, and middle finger and right hand middle finger; double finger holes for left hand ring finger and right hand index, ring, and little fingers. I use (German style) Eb clarinet reeds (the shaft has to be shortened), not fixed with the 'O-ring ligature' delivered, but [instead] with a string. I measured a bore diameter of [approximately] 10.5 mm. There is a similar Sopranklarinette ('soprano clarinet') made by Moeck, Germany, which offers almost the same key and finger hole layout, but is made from different wood, [does not have a] bell, [and has] a larger (longer) mouthpiece (no need to shorten the reed shaft)."

The three keys are a register key (R ) for the left thumb, a low E key (E ) for the left hand little finger, and a top A key (A ) for the left hand index finger. Each of these keys functions like the corresponding key on a Boehm-system model.

 

Main Holes and Other Symbols

1 : Close index finger tone hole or double hole (Kinderklarinette model).

2 : Close middle finger tone hole or double hole (Kinderklarinette model).

3 : Close ring finger tone hole or double hole (Kinderklarinette model).

4 : Close little finger (pinky) double hole (Kinderklarinette model).

- : Leave tone hole or double hole (Kinderklarinette model) open.

0 : Press halfhole plate below the left hand index finger key, leaving the tone hole open.

3 : Close upper hole and leave lower hole open in a double tone hole for the Kinderklarinette model.

1 or 3 or 4 : Close lower hole and leave upper hole open in a double tone hole for the Kinderklarinette model.

| : Separates left hand keys and holes from right hand keys and holes.

     

Trilled Keys

Keys to be trilled are indicated in red boldface text and by red key images (e.g., ).

For a fingering involving more than one trilled key, the trilled keys are to be trilled simultaneously unless specified as alternating in the fingering description. Alternating trill keys are also indicated by a combination of red boldface text and red boldface italic text.

Click on images
to open in new window.

Bb Soprano Clarinet

Clarinet Diagram


Bb Bass Clarinet

Bass Clarinet Diagram

Oehler-System Clarinet

 

Three-Key Kinderklarinette

Three-Key Kinderklarinette

 

 

Bass clarinet image courtesy of LeBlanc.

Oehler-system clarinet and Three-Key Kinderklarinette images provided by Arnold Wendl. The Albert system clarinet is similar to the Oehler system but lacks the keys labeled by an asterisk.

 

 

Back to Clarinet Fingering Charts
Back to
Home
Copyright 1998–2005
by Timothy Reichard
   visits since 8/03