Differences between the Clarinet and the Oboe

Clarinet and Oboe look similar but they are two different instruments. They both belong to the woodwind family of instruments. The main difference between the two is that they have different reeds. Let’s discuss some more differences between these instruments. 

They look identical but there are many minor differences in their appearances. Oboe has a staple whereas the clarinet has a barrel and mouthpiece. Oboe has two reeds and a conical bore whereas the clarinet has a single reed and cylindrical bore. Oboe comes with a round bell and the clarinet comes with a flared bell. Most oboes have closed tone holes, while clarinets have open tone holes. These two also differ in size, Clarinet is about 27.5 inches where as Oboe is 26 inches in size. 

Reed is the most significant difference between the two. Clarinet comes with a single reed which is placed on the mouthpiece and is kept in place by a ligature. On the other hand, we have an Oboe which comes with a double reed. The reeds are placed alongside each other to generate sound. This difference is responsible for generation of different tones and tunes in these instruments. It also changes the technique of playing the Oboe and the Clarinet. 

Another difference between the two instruments is the tone that they produce. Oboe produces a penetrative, bright and clear tones, on the other hand, clarinet produces mellow and low range tones. The conical bore that the Oboe has is responsible for its bright tone. Since the oboe can produce a wide variety of tones and can be played in different ranges it can be used in diverse genres. 

When it comes to learning the instruments, the clarinet is comparatively easier to learn. You can learn the finger basics within a few clarinet lessons along with consistent practice. However, mastering the timbre and the airflow takes a lot of time and proper training. It is always better if you take professional clarinet lessons so that you learn the correct technique of playing the instruments. The oboe poses a difficult challenge in front of aspiring players. You need to practice continuously and just like Clarinet lessons, Oboe lessons are also an absolute necessary if you wish to master the instrument. 


Learning these instruments may be difficult but the benefits are immense. Playing the oboe or clarinet can help you become smarter and add a new aspect to your personality. It can also be a great addition to your music repertoire. If you are looking for something which helps you to stand out of the crowd then oboe and clarinet can be great choices. Whichever instrument you choose make sure you take professional help so that you are on the right track to success.

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