Modern Orchestration Masterclass - The Clarinet and Bass Clarinet

Membership plan: Going Deeper | Topics: Music Production

Course overview

£15 off SWAM Viola 3 for people who purchase this workshop! 

Aimed at composers, arrangers and producers wanting to work with orchestral instruments and musicians, this workshop begins with an overview of the standard articulations for the clarinet and bass clarinet, along with the best practices for writing for this instrument, and how to programme clarinet VSTs for realism.

Clarinet player:

Louise Chappell is a prize winning low reed specialist with extensive experience across both orchestral and musical theatre genres; most notably holding the Devdep position for Reed 5 (bass clarinet, baritone saxophone and clarinet) on A Christmas Carol at the Dominion Theatre in London’s West End. Over the last few years, Louise has also played in some of London’s finest music venues; the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Cadogan Hall to name a few. Louise leads an active portfolio career playing clarinet and bass clarinet regularly with London City Philharmonic, Cinematic Syncopations Orchestra, Orchestra Nouvaeu, Capital Orchestra and Bloomsbury Festival Opera Orchestra. In addition, Louise is a regular chair holder in many London and Suffolk musical theatre and immersive performance shows playing all clarinets, saxophones and flutes. Louise graduated with a First Class BMus (Hons) Performance degree and the Prize for Clarinet Excellence from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in 2019 where she studied with Fiona Cross, Joan Enric Lluna, Paolo de Gaspari and Anthony Pike. During her time at Trinity Laban, Louise was also a two time winner of the prestigious Wilfred Hambleton Clarinet competition.

What you'll learn

  • Understand the range and standard articulations for the clarinet
  • Begin to write playable and idiomatic music for the clarinet, whether for an IRL musician or a VST
  • Create realistic clarinet lines using VSTS, with understanding of range, articulations, dynamics, expression and modulation
  • Communicate as a composer with a clarinet player (by understanding what can reasonably be asked of the instrument and what experimental techniques might be possible)
  • Know a little about clarinet auxiliary instruments (we will demonstrate some bass clarinet also)

Who is this course for?

  • Composers, arrangers, TV and film music producers
  • DAW and music notation software users looking to learn to write for the clarinet and bass clarinet
  • Anyone looking to produce music with realistic-sounding software instruments

Course content

  • Full course PDF (open it as you follow the course)
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. What is Modern Orchestration_
  • 3. Intro to the Clarinet & Bass Clarinet - Anatomy
  • 4. Intro to the Clarinet & Bass Clarinet - Range
  • 5. Intro to the Clarinet & Bass Clarinet - Differences between the two
  • 6. Intro to the Clarinet & Bass Clarinet - Registers
  • 7. Intro to the Clarinet & Bass Clarinet - Reeds
  • 8. Intro to the Clarinet & Bass Clarinet - Transposing
  • 9. Basics of writing for Clarinet Bass Clarinet - Breathing
  • 10 Basics of writing for Clarinet Bass Clarinet - Dynamics
  • 11. Basics of writing for Clarinet_Bass Clarinet - Range and Agility
  • 12. Basics of writing for Clarinet_Bass Clarinet - Dynamics Continued (writing niente)
  • 13. Basics of writing for Clarinet_Bass Clarinet - the 'Break'
  • 14. Articulations - Legato
  • 15. Articulations - Legato with sample library
  • 16. Articulations - Legato - SWAM Clarinets
  • 17. Articulations - Vibrato
  • 18. Articulations - Vibrato - sample library
  • Articulations - Vibrato - SWAM Clarinets
  • 19. Articulations - Breath Sounds & Key Noise - SWAM Clarinets
  • 20. Articulations - Staccato and Short Notes
  • 21. Articulations - Staccato & Short Notes - Sample Library
  • 22. Articulations - Staccato & Short Notes - SWAM Clarinets
  • 23. Articulations - Marcato, Accents, Tenuto, Sforzando
  • 24. Articulations - Marcato, Accents, Tenuto, Sforzando - Sample Libraries
  • 25. Articulations - Trills
  • 26. Articulations - Trills - Sample Libraries
  • 27. Articulations - Trills - SWAM Clarinets
  • 28. Articulations - Glissando
  • 29. Articulations - Multi-tonguing
  • 30. Articulations - Extended Techniques
  • 31. Articulations - Extended Techniques - Multiphonics
  • 32. Articulations - Extended Techniques - Flutter Tongue & Growl
  • 33. Articulations - Flutter Tongue & Growl - Sample Library
  • 34. Articulations - Flutter Tonghue & Growl - SWAM Clarinets
  • 35. Mimicking Mozart - Sample Library
  • 36. Mimicking Mozart with VSTs - SWAM Clarinet
  • 37. Bass Clarinet - working with VSTS
  • 38. BBCSO sample library bass clarinet
  • 39. SWAM Bass Clarinet demo
  • 40. SWAM Clarinets - the Break
  • 41. Listening Suggestions for Bass Clarinet
  • 42. Q&A


  • A computer and internet connection

Meet your instructor

Helen Noir (she/her) is a London-based soprano, composer, orchestrator & producer. She writes soundtracks for film, fashion and theatre, most recently for Joseph Wilson's Isn't it a Beautiful World, which premiered at BFI London Film Festival in October 2021. She works specifically with directors and designers to take music from initial composition through recording, orchestration, production and mixing. She also performs regularly with cult performance art group Theo Adams Company, and is an operatic session vocalist.


Useful links

SWAM Clarinets | Audio Modeling

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