What happens when you inhale helium and play Mozart's Clarinet Concerto?

9 September 2016, 10:19

Mozart clarinet helium

This clarinettist did just that. And the result is just wonderful.

We all know what helium can do to your speaking voice, but what can it do to Mozart's famous Clarinet Concerto? We're about to find out.

Helium is lighter than air, so the sound waves travel through it faster: sound travels at 344 meters per second through air (composed of nitrogen, oxygen, argon and carbon dioxide), but at an amazing 927 meters a second through helium. This alters the sound waves as it passes through your larynx, or your woodwind instrument. Doctors do not recommend inhaling helium. In sufficient quantities it can have adverse affects on health and has on occasion caused deaths.   

But enough of the science - show us the weird clarinet, you say. 

Here you go:

Fancy more Mozart on helium? Here's a soprano singing some coloratura from the Marriage of Figaro (with a lung-full). Nice to know all these great musicians have plenty of time on their hands.

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