Clarinet in B-flat

Maker: Charles Joseph Sax (Belgian, Dinant, Belgium 1790–1865 Paris)

Date: 1830

Geography: Brussels, Belgium

Culture: Belgian

Medium: Ivory, brass, gold-plated silver

Dimensions: Height: 26 3/4 in. (68 cm)

Classification: Aerophone-Reed Vibrated-single reed cylindrical

Credit Line: Funds from various donors, 1953

Accession Number: 53.223


The ivory body of this clarinet and its ornate gold plated keys suggest that it was a special commission or presentation piece. Its bell proclaims Sax’s status as musical instrument maker to the court of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This instrument is also distinguished by its early use of Ivan Müller’s improved thirteen-key system, which became the preferred choice of most clarinet players until the beginning of the twentieth century.