alto clarinet
Eb Alto Clarinet
The alto clarinet is the band equivalent of the viola in the orchestra. It has a dark sound with a reedy quality, though certainly not as dark nor as reedy as that of the bass or contrabass clarinets. It is considered to be by many an endangered species of the modern band, and in fact it's presence has been on a steady decline due to the rise in popularity of the Eb alto saxophone creating an overlap in notes played in the modern concert band. It has also been suggested that the key of Eb itself produces an inferior sounding instrument for the clarinet. However, the alto clarinet continues to play an integral part of the clarinet choir.
clarinet consort small
Clarinet Consort shown with low
Eb Contrabass Clarinet.
(click to enlarge)

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