While the bass instrument is the only one in which we find a distinction between the uke and the concert ukulele (because of the use of strings that have a very light touch), the ukulele and the clarinet, we find no such distinction in the bass instrument. And the reasons for this are not quite as obvious – there is no bassoon, and there was no brass instrument in existence prior to the invention of the uke in the 18th century!
But even if there was a sound difference between the two, the similarities are striking. They share many of the same qualities, including the use of two or more strings on each string. The ukulele plays music that is more complex than the concert ukulele. This isn’t to say that these ukuleles were simply more complex to play either, and the ukulele might even have been easier for a beginner or beginner-intermediate to learn. But the idea that two- or three-string instrumentation was always difficult was just an urban legend. It’s far more likely that the two styles simply came into existence at different times and places, and that each developed and evolved because of its unique and important role.
In the past, the ukulele and the clarinet have had different names in different languages, such as French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. In some cases, these names were borrowed from German or English and in other instances they are the names they actually retained. For example, the French ukulele has traditionally been called a sultaine, but it’s actually the name of two Germanic words which mean, “piano” and “stringed instrument.” Although the names may have varied, they are both a clear indication of something important: both are instruments which played music; the ukulele was used for clarinets and the clarinet for violins.
To learn more about the history of the ukulele and clarinet instruments, see the articles on the history of the ukulele and clarinet instruments and the ukulele and clarinet instruments.
Why is there such an emphasis on the ukulele and clarinet?
Although it might still seem counterintuitive, it is interesting to think of the musical differences between the uke and the clarinet, from an historical point of view. The two instruments are both part of the same family of instruments: the clar
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