Eb Clarinet - You're Missing a standard Auxilary!

Hi Spitfire

I'd like to make a case for including the Eb clarinet as a more standard auxilary instrument in all your libraries.

The Eb clarinet is well and truly a 'standard' auxilary and should be included well ahead of some of the other auxilaries you have in your collection.

The Eb clarinet has quite a unuqie texture that is as different from the Bb/A instrument as the Bass clarinet is different to the Bb/A instrument. Note that the difference is not just in the high range, but the entire instrument. Just listen to Ravel's Bolero and hear the difference between the Bb clarinet line and the solo Eb clarinet. The Bb is comparativly melifluous whereas the Eb has a slightly more edgier sound that rings out across the orchestra a bit better. Note especially that area around the throat tones have an extra pungency used really well in the Ravel.

It's an excellent instrument and should be included whenever standard auxilaries are included in a sample library.

Is there a reason for this that I don't understand? I would dealy like to see you include this instrument well ahead of the contra-bass clarinet, for example.


Best Answer

  • Angus
    Angus admin
    100 Answers 500 Likes 500 Comments First Anniversary
    Answer ✓

    Hi @jamesbdarcy

    Eb Clarinets are typically used for Concert Bands and Military Bands only. We mainly record with Symphonic Ensembles, so this is not typically an instrument we record. I will pass your feedback onto the team.


  • Hi Angus.

    I'm sorry to say this but that is not correct at all.

    The Eb clarinet is a standard of the symphonic ensemble used from Berlioz's Symphony Fantastic forward: Mahler, Stravinsky (The Rite and many others), Ravel (Concerto for piano Left Hand, Bolero), Strauss (TIll Eilenspiel) etc. It is most definitely in common use for any symphonic orchestra. Even community orchestras need to be able to get hold of an Eb clarinet fairly regularly. Certainly much more so than the contr-bass clarinet, for example, and other auxilary instruments.

    Spitfire produces maily for Film oriented orchestras and the Eb clarinet is part of that ensemble for sure.


  • Dear Angus and James.

    I approve James's opinion.

    Besides it's also used by the following famous music of Symphonic Music

    Shostakovich's Symphonies(4~8,10,13; The 5th 2nd movement is famous.), Prokofiev's Symphonie(4~6), Ravel's "Daphnis et Chloé" , Bernstein's West Side Story (Original and "Symphonic Dances".) etc...

    I myself frequently blow at an amateur orchestra, too.

    I think the range of the Bb clarinet is also lacking.

    The range is standard and even "transcribing High A (actual sound High G)" is necessary. (Ravel is being also used.)

    And Substitutability of A Clarinet is considered, I want "transcribing Low Eb (actual sound C#)". I don't mind by the same sampling, .

    I expect that these request is reflected. Sorry.


  • @jamesbdarcy my knowledge of woodwinds are fairly limited (I'm usually the one scaring them in the background by banging things). I'll be sure to pass this on!

  • I fully agree with James. The Eb clarinet is nowhere to be found across Spitfire products, whereas the less common cimbasso and contrabass clarinet are. I understand however how these latter two instruments are more common in sampled orchestras.

    Spitfire Studio Woodwinds Professional would be made 100% complete in my opinion by the inclusion of the Eb clarinet. I'm having to turn to other companies to source one at the moment.

  • Eb Clarinet is used in a lot of symphonic compositions: Berlioz, imsky- Korsakov, Richard Strauss, Ravel... All them has used clarinet in Eb

  • Hello everyone,

    I bought BBCSO 2 years ago, and saw some new things being added, like the Mutes on Brass, and one of my main questions about this library is why doesn't it have an Eb Clarinet... It has a Contrabass Clarinet that has its use but is far more niche, this wouldn't be such a problem if the Bb Clarinet had a better higher register going all the way to G6 (F6 concert)...

    My Question for Spitfire now is: Will you add Eb Clarinet to the BBCSO? Or make a dedicated library containing only the Eb Clarinet?

    My regards to all the Spitfire team


  • Interesting question; I wasn't even aware of an Eb clarinet until I read it. But in context, it makes me wonder if the actual BBC SO has any Eb clarinets, and if not, perhaps that's why they're not in BBCSO.

    I do like the dedicated library idea; maybe not for a single instrument, but perhaps a collection of less common ones?

    macOS 13.4.1, Logic Pro 10.7.9, BBCSO Core

  • I'm certain the BBC SO has a Eb Clarinet player, It's more common then u think...

  • In many orchestras the co-principal clarinet player, or assistant-principal will also have Eb clarinet duties as part of their job description.