Squidward’s musical instrument is an important part of his life. Knowing what it is can help you identify with him and enjoy the show more. You’ll learn more about Squidward’s beloved musical instrument in this article.
On the television show, or even on its musical version (“SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical”), Squidward is best known for playing the clarinet.
Read on to learn more about the Squidward clarinet and Squidward himself.
Who Is Squidward?
Squidward is the cranky neighbor of SpongeBob and Patrick. Although he’s often portrayed as being constantly annoyed with SpongeBob, there are moments when he shows that he enjoys his company.
Squidward’s full name is Squidward J.Q. Tentacles. He was 43 years old (born on October 9), but when SpongeBob SquarePants started, he was only 22.
And would you believe he’s less than a foot (25.4 cm) tall? What’s even more interesting is he wasn’t always bald. He used to have long blond hair. He lost his hair due to the stress from working at the Krusty Krab.
Squidward’s name is a misnomer. He’s not a “squid” but an octopus—a giant Pacific octopus, to be more exact.
He has all the features of an octopus: a big round head and rectangular pupils. He only has six tentacles, not eight, because the series animators felt it would make their job harder if he had too many of them.
But in some episodes, such as “Pressure,” there were brief scenes showing Squidward having a full set of eight tentacles.
What Type of Clarinet Does Squidward Have?
Squidward treats his clarinet like it’s something alive. He even gave it the nickname “Clarry” or “Clarey.” He loves it so much that he sleeps with it. He has a special pillow for Clarry to rest on, as seen in the “Squidville” episode.
Squidward’s clarinet appeared in the episode “Bubblestand” from season one. The features of his clarinet are significantly less detailed if you compare it to a clarinet in real life.
It’s a black clarinet with only six tone holes. It has a wooden reed, which rests flat on the mouthpiece. The player is supposed to blow into the reed to allow air vibration to produce sound.
But in “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water,” Squidward’s superhero alter-ego, Sour Note, used a real-looking clarinet. Sour Note used this clarinet as a weapon by producing loud music.
He first used it when he launched a full-scale attack on the film’s main antagonist, Burger-Bear, the Pirate.
Trivia: Some fans are wondering, does Squidward play the oboe? Based on the series’ 1996 pitch bible (a tool for describing a concept), Squidward was supposed to play the oboe, not the clarinet:
When Did Squidward Start Playing the Clarinet?
But before that, did you know that Squidward wasn’t the only one who played the clarinet in the series? On different occasions, SpongeBob—and even Gary and Patrick—was shown to play the instrument.
Now, back to Squidward and his clarinet. He started playing the instrument in school. He joined his high school band class and met his arch-rival Squilliam.
Squilliam Fancyson’s first appearance was in the episode “Band Geeks.” He’s a multi-millionaire casino owner and a band director.
Squidward has always been jealous of Squilliam because his arch-rival has always been better than him in every way.
Squilliam is filthy rich while he works at a fast-food restaurant in Bikini Bottom. Squilliam is also an accomplished artist, dancer, and musician, while his lack of musical talent annoys the heck out of the residents of Bikini Bottom.
Best Episodes Featuring Squidward’s Clarinet
Squidward’s clarinet appeared in many episodes of the series. Below are just some of them that you need to watch.:
“Bubblestand” (Season 1, Episode 2a)
In this episode, SpongeBob decided to build a “bubble stand loudly.” This irritated Squidward, who was practicing his clarinet during that time. Despite being demanded to be quiet, SpongeBob still managed to finish building the stand because Squidward’s clarinet playing masked the noise.
SpongeBob charged customers twenty-five cents ($0.25) to blow a bubble at his newly built stand. His first customer was Patrick, who had to learn the right technique for blowing bubbles from SpongeBob.
The interaction between the two caused so much disruption that Squidward was forced to confront them. SpongeBob tried to reason with him, saying he was creating art with the help of his bubble-blowing technique.
Squidward sneered at the idea and tried to show them that he didn’t need SpongeBob’s technique to create bubbles.
As expected, Squidward failed miserably and ended up (mockingly) copying SpongeBob’s technique. He created a giant bubble and went back inside his home to continue practicing his clarinet.
Squidward didn’t notice that the giant bubble enveloped and unearthed his home. As his house was floating in the air, he looked outside to greet his imaginary fans. Just then, the giant bubble exploded with so much force.
And as his house descended to the spot where it was initially located, he let out a few weak notes from his clarinet to end the episode.
This is an essential episode for many fans because they believe it answers why Squidward stopped being a decent clarinet player. I’ll explain the fan theory in greater detail later.
“Band Geeks” (Season 2, Episode 35b)
In the “Band Geek” episode, Squidward reunites with his high school rival Squilliam Fancyson. The episode started with Squidward playing his clarinet, which a doctor mistook for a dying animal.
Then, Squilliam called to inform him that he’s unable to play the prestigious Bubble Bowl and, if Squidward wants, he could replace him.
Even though he didn’t have a band, Squidward accepted the offer. He posted flyers around Bikin Bottom, hoping to gather musicians for his band. But all he got were townspeople (including SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, and Plankton) with no musical talent.
The four-day practice ended in disaster. Band members were bickering, and a mass brawl broke out, leaving damaged musical instruments. So, Squidward resigned to the idea that their Bubble Bowl performance would be a disaster.
On the day of the performance, Squilliam was ready to bask in the failure of his enemy. But SpongeBob and the rest of the band surprised everyone. The band performed a jaw-dropping ballad called “Sweet Victory.”
Squilliam fainted in shock and had to be escorted out of the stadium on a folding stretcher. Meanwhile, Squidward enjoyed his moment of victory against his arch-rival.
Watch the band’s performance of “Sweet Victory:”
“Squidward in Clarinetland” (Season 7, Episode 133b)
In this episode, Squidward arrived at the Krusty Krab with his clarinet in its case. He was noticeably in a good mood because of his upcoming recital.
Not until “Incidental 46” came to the restaurant and her baby drooled on his clarinet. A female fish play incidental 46 with pale emerald-green scales, teal lips, and pale blue striped fins.
He threw a fit and demanded Mr. Krabs provide him a place where he could safely store his stuff, as mandated by the “Bikini Bottom Labor Regulations.”
Left with no choice, Mr. Krabs gave him his old Navy locker. But there’s a catch: He had to share it with SpongeBob, who cleaned the locker himself.
While Squidward manned the cash register, SpongeBob was busy doing something to the locker. Worried about his clarinet, Squidward went to see what he was doing.
He couldn’t find SpongeBob anywhere, so he opened the locker and crawled inside. He discovered that SpongeBob converted it into a big room filled with vertical filing cabinets.
While chasing SpongeBob around the room, he discovered a small door near the floor and entered a bizarre forest with giant clarinets. Before he could retrieve his clarinet, he was picked up by a giant bald eagle head, who told him that clarinets couldn’t be owned and he should learn to respect them.
Although Squidward told “The Keeper” that he has learned respect, it didn’t believe him. Instead, it swallowed him. It turns out it was just a dream. Then, after waking up, SpongeBob walked into the kitchen with Mr. Krabs. He had Squidward’s clarinet the whole time.
In the last scene of the episode, Squidward made it to his recital. When he opened his clarinet case, he found SpongeBob inside, causing him to run from the stage before giving his presentation.
“Squidville” (Season 2, Episode 26b)
The episode started with SpongeBob and Patrick receiving their new reef blowers in the mail. They have begun playing with their reef blowers by sucking Squidward’s windows and door.
After tunneling his way out of his home, Squidward demanded that the two put his windows back. But as they tried to do that, they destroyed Squidward’s house.
Squidward has had enough of SpongeBob and Patrick and decided to move to a gated community exclusive to octopuses. This community was called Tentacle Acres, otherwise known as Squidville.
During the first few days, Squidward enjoyed everything about Squidville. He rode his bike, joined a group synchronized interpretative dance, and even played his clarinet with a clarinet-playing trio in the park.
However, as time passed, he felt everything became too monotonous and lost his enthusiasm for living there.
He finally decided to return to Bikini Bottom after getting the ire of the Squidville residents because of his bad behavior. The episode ended with Squidward using the park worker’s reef blower to launch himself out of the community.
Again, what instrument does Squidward play? Squidward from the show Spongebob plays the clarinet.
“Professor Squidward” (Season 6, Episode 117b)
At the beginning of the episode, Squidward watched in disdain as the audience cheered and showered his arch-rival (Squilliam) with roses after his concert.
After one of Squilliam’s adoring fans talked to Squidward about how great he was, Squidward finally had enough and walked out of the concert building.
Right after he stepped out of the building, a school headmistress for “Prestigious Music College” in Bikini Bottom approached him. She mistook Squidward for Squilliam.
Although Squidward tried to tell her he was not him, the headmistress just ignored what he said and went on to offer him a job as a professor for their music school. Eventually, Squidward accepts the job.
On his first day of teaching, much to his surprise, he finds out SpongeBob and Patrick signed up for his class. The pair eventually blew Squidward’s cover at the end of the episode by calling him by his real name instead of Squilliam.
Like I said earlier, there are many SpongeBob SquarePants episodes that Clarry appears in. These episodes are just some popular ones that feature Squidward’s clarinet and his passion for music.
Is Squidward a Bad Clarinet Player?
I can’t blame Bikini Bottom’s residents if they’re extremely annoyed at Squidward’s lack of musical talent. But quite a few fans believe that he was a decent clarinet player at one point in the series. So, what happened?
Theory #1: He Became Partially Deaf
Remember the episode “Bubblestand” that I talked about earlier? Some fans believe Squidward experienced partial hearing loss when the giant bubble that engulfed his home popped with explosive force.
But one Reddit user suggested an alternative reason for Squidward’s clarinet playing was pretty good in that episode. The Reddit user believed Squidward screaming at the top of his voice helped improve his clarinet playing. It let out all of his pent-up feelings.
Theory #2: He Lacks Confidence
Practically everyone in Bikini Bottom seems to hate Squidward’s clarinet playing. It also doesn’t help that he has his arch-rival (Squilliam), a talented clarinet player, always making him feel inferior.
If people make you feel you’re not good enough, it would likely lower your self-confidence, affecting your musical ability.
Theory #3: Big Ego
According to flutist Hannah Haefele, Squidward’s ego is probably one of the reasons he hasn’t become a great clarinet player. Throughout the series, Squidward has always seen himself as better than others.
He thinks he’s a great musician, although not better than Squilliam. Because of his inflated ego, he might not see the need to improve himself as a musician.
Conclusion – What Instrument Does Squidward Play?
Squidward plays the clarinet, albeit not the most talented one. His musical instrument plays a huge part in his life, as seen in some of the episodes in the SpongeBob SquarePants series.
Knowing more about his musical instrument and his passion for music might help you empathize with him more.