Clarinet in B Flat

Catalogue number: 4.4

Original name: Clarinet in B flat.

Type or system: Six keys.

Maker: Thomas Key.

Place of origin: London, c.1805 - 1853.

Overall size: 506mm, bell diameter: 81.5mm.

Bore: Barrel 21.5mm; upper joint: 14.2mm - 14mm; middle joint: 14mm - 14mm; lower joint: 14mm - 19mm; bell: 23mm - c.58mm.

Technical description: Four sections in boxwood. Barrel: 65mm; upper joint: 231mm; middle joint: 123.8mm; lower joint: 144.6mm; bell: 114mm.

Ivory ferrules and bell rim. Six brass keys with square flat flaps (flap design A ) mounted on raised rings and blocks.

Key work and finger holes

Finger hole diameter (av.)

Left hand thumb:

T; Speaker / B flat

Left hand, first finger:

T; A natural

Left hand, second finger:


Left hand, third finger:


Left hand, fourth finger:

Low F sharp / C sharp; Low E / B natural

Right hand, first finger:

T; A - B natural trill key

Right hand, second finger:


Right hand, third finger:


Right hand, fourth finger:

T; A flat / E flat

Inscription: Stamped on all joints: “ KEY / LONDON / [motif: unicorn head]”.

Faults: Crack on upper joint, running from top to throat B flat key; small piece missing from top of bell with crack running down 75mm from top; bell top ferrule damaged with small section missing.

No mouthpiece. The bottom joint or bell has been cut. It is possible that the top of the upper joint has been cut to raise the pitch as it does not marry well the ivory ferrule of the barrel. No mouthpiece.

Repair history: Bell top ferrule and wood has been ‘filled’ with wood filler. Upper joint tenon has been replaced with one of ebonite or bakelite.

Performance characteristics: a’ = 440 Hz. Poor tuning.

Illustration references: See below

Recording references: Click here

Previous collection numbers: A and B: Item 114.

Gallery of Images