The altissimo register can be piercing and sometimes shrill.
Johann Christoph Denner is generally believed to have invented the clarinet in Germany around the year 1700 by adding a register key to the earlier chalumeau.
Over time, additional keywork and airtight pads were added to improve the tone and playability.
In addition to this primary compression wave, other waves, known as harmonics, are created.
Harmonics are caused by factors including: the imperfect wobbling and shaking of the clarinet reed, the reed sealing the mouthpiece opening for part of the wave cycle (which creates a flattened section of the sound wave) and imperfections (bumps and holes) in the clarinet bore.
The differences in instruments and geographical isolation of players in different countries led to the development, from the last part of the 18th century onwards, of several different schools of clarinet playing.
The most prominent were the German/Viennese traditions and the French school.A person who plays a clarinet is called a clarinetist (sometimes spelled clarinettist).The word clarinet may have entered the English language via the French clarinette (the feminine diminutive of Old French clarin or clarion), or from Provençal clarin, "oboe".It would seem however that its real roots are to be found amongst some of the various names for trumpets used around the renaissance and baroque eras.Clarion, clarin and the Italian clarino are all derived from the medieval term claro which referred to an early form of trumpet.This is probably the origin of the Italian clarinetto, itself a diminutive of clarino, and consequently of the European equivalents such as clarinette in French or the German Klarinette.