The E-flat clarinet is a member of the clarinet family. It is usually classed as a soprano clarinet, although some authors describe it as a "sopranino," "petite," or "piccolo" clarinet. Smaller in size and higher in pitch than the more common B♭ clarinet, it is a transposing instrument in E♭, sounding a minor third higher than written. In Italian it sometimes referred to as a quartino, generally appearing in scores as quartino in Fa.
The E♭ clarinet is used in orchestras, concert bands, marching bands, and plays a particularly central role in clarinet choirs, carrying the high melodies that would be treacherous for the B♭ clarinet. Solo repertoire is limited.
The E♭ clarinet is required to play at the top of its range for much of the time to take advantage of its piercing quality. Fingerings in that register are more awkward than on the lower part of the instrument, making high, fast passages difficult.