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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000002.txt from 2005/07

From: "Bryan Crumpler" <>
Subj: [kl] Re: Humid conditions - affects on the clarinet & reeds
Date: Fri, 01 Jul 2005 08:57:30 -0400

>>From: "Forest Aten" <>
>>If you are traveling by plane... the drastic altitude change has as much
>>warping effect on your reeds as your eardrum.
>What? I travel all of the time with my plane and I've never
>experienced what you are talking about. Plesae explain the physics involved
>in your (observation?) statement. Are you suggesting that there are air
>trapped in a reed that will expand and contract with the change in

I am not a physicist so I am not even going to bother attempting to provide
a physical explanation as to what happens. And quite honestly I don't think
I need to provide a physical explanation to know that there is a difference.
You would be better off contacting a professional physicist for that
information, but I think that would be a serious waste of time.

The only thing I was "suggesting" was the fact that *my* reeds play
differently, and most often in an undesirable way after flying... and that
anyone else traveling with their instrument may experience the same thing.
It's not that big of an issue for me to dive into understanding why...I'm
not that curious to know, because in the end... I don't have time to want to
know. I normally just find a reed that works and either put the old one
aside or throw it way.

The effect may have to do with the particular altitudes of my final
destinations as opposed to the actual plane ride itself. It may have be
misregulated cabin pressure... who knows. All I know is it's been a problem
for me.

Several oboists I know have the same problem - in particular, Nancy Ambrose
King - who first brought it to my attention in a master class when
discussing reeds problems and how climate, altitude, and travel affects the
reed's vibrational qualities. So I can't imagine (as Nancy *Buckman* says)
that it is all "balderdash" (with three exclamations). Every experienced
reed player knows that even the slightest changes or alterations to your
reed and/or mouthpiece have a drastic effect on how well the reeds
vibrate... and although some of you may not be convinced that there is a
change as a result of traveling by plane, I'm certainly not unconvinced that
there is no affect at all.

>From Bill Hausmann
>The problem your EARS have in the changing altitude is that the AIR behind
>the eardrum expands and contracts with altitude change. ... I don't think
>there are any comparable air pockets in reeds.

I was certainly *not* suggesting that the effect is exactly in the same way
as what happens with your ears. My making the comparison was purely a figure
of speech. I believe it's called "hyperbole" in English, so don't take that
too literally. I'm actually getting the impression many of you envisioned
serious deformity to the reed when I used the word "warping", but I'm not
going to get into an interpretational debate on word usage.

The point is, I believe flying has an influence on reeds... primarily
because I have experienced it myself. Perhaps for some of you, that
difference not significant enough to notice... or even significant enough
for you to care, but it is for me.

Happy flying,

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