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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000239.txt from 1999/04

From: Roger Garrett <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Reeds, should I put them in water?
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 13:10:15 -0400

On Sun, 4 Apr 1999, Fernando Silveira wrote:
> Soak reeds in water or in saliva does not make any diference in terms of
> logevity of the reed's life.
> Saliva is made of 95% of water and, as the reed is made of cellulose, the
> acids from the stomach does not affect the reeds at all. For the truth, if
> you "eat" one reed it will pass through your stomach without any phisic
> change.
> But, when you soak the reed on a cup of water, the reed tends to be soaked
> quickly, because the water easily goes up to the reed; diferent from the
> saliva.(it is called specifc gravity)

Sounds right to me Frenando. But I wouldn't have wanted to be the one who
tested the hypothesis regarding the reed passing without ay physical

BTW, when I was a young kid, my dad gave me some homemade reeds which were
part of a dissertation at the University of Oregon in the 1950's. The
reeds had been soaked in some kind of oil - I believe Olive Oil - with the
idea that they would repel the minerals in the saliva but that the reeds
would remain moist. The reeds were supposed to last indefinitely. The
only thing I ever figured out about the reeds he gave me were that the
reeds tasted bad and they never played very well.
Roger Garrett
Professor of Clarinet
Director - Concert Band, Symphonic Winds & Titan Band
Advisor - Recording Studio
Illinois Wesleyan University

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