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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000283.txt from 1998/04

From: Christina Crispin <>
Subj: Re: High altitude reed adjustment
Date: Tue, 7 Apr 1998 01:27:58 -0400

>Original message
> From: Jimmy Covelli <>
> To: Klarinet Mailing List <>
> Date: Sunday, 5 April 1998 3:56pm
> Subject: High Altitude Reed Adjustment
> >My question concerns the effect on reeds in switching from low
>altitudes to high altitudes. I am playing a concert in June in
>Colorado. What can I expect to happen to my reeds (coming from a low
>altitude humid climate to a high altitude dry climate)? And is there
>anything I can do to prep my reeds beforehand?
> >
> >>Jimmy Covelli
On Tue, 7 Apr 1998, Brian Catchlove wrote:
> Dear Jimmy,
> Last time I went to a drier environment (although not at altitude)
>my reeds went softer. It may be a good idea to take a variety of
>reeds. Some that are a little light for comfort, some that are too
>heavy as well as your favourite reeds . This then covers all your
> bases. I hope this is of some help.
> Brian Catchlove

>Jimmy did not specify a drier environment....he specified a higher
>altitude. The reed plays harder.....much, much, harder in this

Roger Garrett

> ------------------------------
Colorado is indeed a very dry environment as well having high altitude.
This makes reeds much less responsive. In my experience it is often very
difficult to use reeds in Colorado that have been played in a more humid
climate, so you may want to bring a good selection of brand new reeds in
addition to you favorites. How you treat you reeds once you get there
will be more important than what you do to them before you go. As was
mentioned in an earlier response you will want to be extra careful keep
your reeds "humidified" (using a damp sponge in the reed case) when not
in use. I've also found it to be helpful to keep the mouthpiece cap on
during rests and rehearsal breaks to prevent the reed from warping on
the mouthpiece. Reeds tend to warp very easily in the dry heat, so you
may also want to bring a flat file (or sandpaper spray-mounted on glass)
in order to correct this problem by filing them flat. Also, consider
whether you are performing in the mountains or not. The higher your
performing altitude, the bigger the change will be and the harder and
less articulate the reeds will feel. (Don't forget that there is also
less oxygen up there, which decreases your air capacity while
playing!) The best advice I can offer is to bring lots of reeds, and
leave youself time to pick through them and adjust them once you get
there. You will have a new appreciation for humidity when you return
home :) Hope some of this will be helpful.
Good Luck!

-Christina Crispin

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