Clarinet : the multiphonic glissando sound

Colin, a composer from Tours in France, just left a question on the French version of this blog. He is asking how I would notate clarinet multiphonics, especially the clarinet multiphonic & glissando documented with a clarinet multiphonic sonogram video and related fingerings. For the record, Colin posted the question on the French page: Multiphonique en série & glissando : les doigtés.

First, Colin, thank you for your interest and for the question. Let's look at the first two parts of the video.

Multiphonic series

The part from 0:00 to 0:16 in the video was inspired by a series in E. Michael Richards’s book The clarinet of the twenty-first century, page 158. It corresponds to excerpt #2 on this page from E. Michael Richard's web site. Note that for the youtube video, I did not choose the exact same fingerings: you'll have to check the pitches, but you get the idea for the notation.

Multiphonic & glissando

This one, starting at 0:19, is a personal creation, triggered by a question from Prof. Eric Heller, the author of Why You Hear What You Hear. I would suggest the following notation:

I hope that helps, and I would recommend that you work with a clarinetist, to make sure the pitches & timbres are similar: results may vary with different clarinetists and different instruments.
For more clarinet multiphonic sound notation, have a look at the multiphonics used in the composition Electroclarinet 1.


  1. Thank you for sharing this informational blog. It really helps me alot especially that Im doing some research now.



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