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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000813.txt from 1997/09

From: avrahm galper <>
Subj: breaking in a reed
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 1997 18:59:09 -0400

Breaking in a reed.

All clarinet players know that one has to "break in" a reed, play it for
a few minutes, or whatever, and then after a few days you have a good
reed (hopefully)
I've often thought of having a machine to break in reeds.
A machine that would blow and the reed would vibrate.

Some years ago, there was an experiment to photograph the vibrations of
the reed.
A clarinet mouthpiece was encased in a short transparent tube and a
rubber pad was held against the reed to simulate the embouchure.
A blowing machine was turned on and when the reed vibrated, pictures
were taken of the reed's vibrations.
Eventually they could slow down the film and observe the vibration

The "breaking in" machine I had in mind would be like in that
It would be an encased mouthpiece and reed, attached to the clarinet.
Once the blowing machine is set in motion, you would sit and finger the
clarinet and the reed would vibrate and get "broken" in.

A malicious thought came to me, why not get pupils to break in the reeds
and when they are ready, just take them and use the reed myself.

And in this regard I have a true story.

A friend of mine, who plays clarinet, went down to study in the States
with one of the top teachers.

He once came to a lesson with a good reed. The teacher listened and
said, "Hey, let me try that reed."
The reed was very good.
The teacher said, " You know, a reed like this can give you a false
sense of security in playing.
You should really learn to control mediocre reeds and improve your
blowing technique.
I could use this reed at tonight's concert. Over there is a shoe box
full of reeds. Pick out any dozen reeds."

My friend never took a good reed to a lesson after that!

Avrahm Galper

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