Key Difference – Clarinet vs Flute
Clarinet and flute are two musical instruments that belong to the woodwind family. While the term flute is also used to refer to a broad category of wind instruments, including instruments such as piccolo, recorder and fife, the western concert flute is typically considered to be a standard flute. This flute is a reedless instrument, but clarinet is not; it has a single reed. This is the key difference between clarinet and flute.
What is a Clarinet?
The clarinet is a wind instrument with a single reed. The body of this instrument resembles a cylindrical tube with holes. It also has a cylindrical bore, which allows its diameter to remain fairly constant throughout its length. The mouthpiece of the clarinet has a reed attached to it and the sound is produced by blowing through the mouthpiece, making the reed vibrate. The musician playing the clarinet should also cover the holes in the instrument with his fingers in order to produce a musical note.
Clarinets are transposing instruments, i.e., there is no difference between the sound emerging from the clarinet and the sheet music. These instruments are used in a wide variety of settings. They are used in orchestras, military bands, marching bands, concert bands as well as jazz bands. A modern symphony orchestra typically has two clarinets: a standard B flat clarinet and a slightly larger A clarinet.
What is a Flute?
As mentioned above, the term flute is applied to a number of wind instruments that produce sound from the flow of air across an opening. Several instruments such as piccolo, recorder, fife, and bansuri are considered to be flutes. Flutes are basically made from a tube with holes, which can be stopped with keys or fingers. Flutes can be categorized into several broad groups such as fipple flutes and non-fipple flutes, side-blown and end-blown flutes, etc.
Fipple flutes have a constricted mouthpiece and are held vertically when played.
Ex: Recorder and tin whistle
Non-fipple flutes don’t have a constricted mouthpiece. Most flutes are non-fipple.
Side-blown flutes, also known as transverse flutes, are held horizontally played.
End Blown Flutes
End-blown flutes are played by blowing on one end of the flute and are held vertically when played.
In standard usage, the term flute mainly refers to the western concert flute, a side-blown instrument made of metal or wood. These flutes are pitched in C has a range of three and a half octaves starting from C4. The highest pitch in western flutes is considered to be C 7.
What is the difference between Clarinet and Flute?
Clarinet vs Flute
|Clarinet is a woodwind instrument with a single-reed mouthpiece, a cylindrical tube with a flared end, and holes stopped by keys.||Flute is a wind instrument made from a tube with holes that are stopped by the fingers or keys.|
|Clarinet has a single reed.||Flute does not have a reed.|
|Roles in Opera|
|Clarinet is an end-blown instrument.||Flutes can be side-blown or end-blown. Western concert flute is a side-blown instrument.|
Summary – Clarinet vs Flute
Clarinet and flute are two important members of the woodwind family of instruments. The main difference between clarinet and flute is the presence/absence of reeds; flutes are reedless instruments whereas clarinets have a single reed. In addition, the clarinet is an end-blown instrument whereas flute (western concert) is a side-blown instrument.
1. “Flute parts illustration” By Jkwchui – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Clarinet construction” By Sotakeit at the English language Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia