Quality indicators for woodwind reed material

Stefan Glave, Jan Pallon, Chris Bornman, Lars Olof Björn, Rita Wallén, Jacob Råstam, Per Kristiansson, Mikael Elfman, Klas Malmqvist

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    For the generation of sound, some woodwind musical instruments, e.g. oboe, bassoon, clarinet and saxophone, are provided with mouthpieces made from reeds. These reeds are the culms of Arundo donax, a tall, cane-like perennial grass. A general problem is that the material is of varying quality, yet externally differences cannot be observed. Hence, large proportions of the prepared reeds are unusable. One hypothesis is that the changes in quality are correlated with differences in the chemical and anatomical structure of the tissue. Therefore, a comparison of superior and inferior mouthpieces, used by professional musicians, was undertaken to determinate potential indicators of quality. Nuclear microprobe analysis of reeds was carried out and complemented by scanning electron and light microscopy. The elemental levels of Si, P, S, Cl, K and Ca were compared between good and poor mouthpieces using appropriate statistical tests. No statistically significant differences could be identified. Microscopical observations showed that partial occlusion of vessels by tylose formation was associated with material deemed unusable.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)673-678
    JournalNuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research. Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
    Issue number1-4
    Publication statusPublished - 1999

    Bibliographical note

    The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
    The record was previously connected to the following departments: Functional Zoology (432112239), Nuclear Physics (Faculty of Technology) (011013007), Molecular Cell Biology (432112241)

    Subject classification (UKÄ)

    • Subatomic Physics
    • Biological Sciences
    • Zoology


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