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Double clarinets.

I was doing a little reading up on double clarinets. For those of you who haven't yet heard of them, here you go, the basic what-it-is:

Who plays them, and does anyone know of anyone left who makes something similar anymore? I had something like this at one time, a clarinet like instrument attached to a drone pipe of sorts, and the overtones it created were massively brilliant. It was a makeshift "prototype".

I really like the "mutant" woodwinds, I remember the aulochrome, though, that's for sure...


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
I did some Googling, because I've not heard of a "double clarinet." I thought you might have been talking about the quartertone clarinet, which does look like two clarinets fused together.

It looks like you have to define where you want the double clarinet from, because the construction varies quite widely: for instance, an Indian one doesn't look very much like an Egyptian one. Check out http://www.clarinete.8m.com/folk(eng).htm, too. After you do that, you can do more Googling on that specific double-clarinet's name, like the Arghul (several YouTube videos for that).
The Urua (fig. 10) is absolutely what I've been having in mind, I'd love to make one one day...

I heard a long time ago about a one-of-a-kind experimental instrument featuring a supported "drone" inside of the main bore... mad scientist? It had a drone reed on the inner tube but could be played in two different ways, like a trumpet, or with a reed. Cylindrical instrument, about 5' long. At first it sounds like nonsense to explain but on the other hand when I think about it more, it's totally believable and certainly doable.
Extremely difficult to support the so said inner tube, though. Someone had a lot of time on his hands. A lot.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Well, the definition of a double clarinet seems to be, "Has a drone." Now, a drone inside the main fingered body, that's different. Additionally, I started thinking about the urua as something like a trombone. Dunno about that.

Check this out. A modern recording of the uruá -- and it's described as a double-pipe flute.

There's a triple clarinet, too. Check this out.
Thanks for the links, pete!
The Mediana Pipia has a wonderful sound
However I must also say that a double clarinet's definition is anything with multiple "tubes", that are functional, drone or not. I have a preference towards instruments with an attached drone, especially the concept of a bass drone with the overtones of the fingered part of the instrument...

I'd say there is some relation between the urua and the trombone, a little different general mechanism but a slide instrument is what it is, if we go back to the discussion on didgeridoos they're manufacturing slide didgeridoos. Interesting idea. But I wouldn't count that in because of it's lack of reed.
in addition to the whole Italian family of single reed double-chanter bagpipes;

Launeddas, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfFbv01uSwY
surdulina, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLk3C9LQbz8
zampogna a paro, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vaj8G6s5rbs
ciaramella di amatrice, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iww35vakpg

there is also an entire branch of double chantered, single reed bagpipes in Hungary, south Bohemia, & Romania. (transDanubian/northern Balkan, call what you will)


The chanter of the Hungarian Bagpipe (Duda) has two seperate bores:
the (player's) left-side bore has thumb & 6 finger holes,
the other bore plays only two tones: tonic & dominant.
(watch Nemethmik;s right pinky move !)
and of course there is a lower drone also,
so here are a plethora of double clarinets,
in wide use in traditional European bagpiping.

of course, the Balkan pipes are all single reed chanters, with usually one single reed drone, as is this Bulgarian Kaba Gaida,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfZLrE8kz7o (guy;s missing some finger! :0 but he's great)

PS I wouldnt call that particular wiki 100% reliable...there are couple things in there I feel are misdefined. but anyway. :)