The clarinet is the most versatile wood wind instrument. The range is also wider than any other wood wind instrument. The general clarinet known to many is the A flat and B flat which is the soprano clarinet. All forms of articulations like vibrato, staccato and even legato can be played on the clarinet. The clarinet can also change pitch from a type of tone to another without a break.
Clarinet also has a wide range of loudness. Only the brass and saxophone are louder than the clarinet among the wind instrument. The clarinet is capable of doing many things in sound dynamics and playing methods. The versatility of the clarinet made it a popular instrument in orchestras.
Clarinets are very flexible and quite easy to learn in comparison to other instruments. In terms of music, it can play just about anything that the clarinetist will learn. This instrument has the versatility to convey softer, relaxing sounds one minute and the next sound strong, intimidating, and almost aggressive.
Aside from the 'typical' Bb clarinet--the one that most people learn on--there are also the bass clarinet, the A clarinet, the Eb clarinet, the contrabass clarinet, and a few others. If you learn one clarinet, you will be able to adapt easily to the others and can possibly learn other, more challenging instruments like the oboe.