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 Air pressure
Author: gregbaker112@gmail.com 
Date:   2019-06-23 06:09

Greetings from not (yet) humid Minnesota!

What impact does a change in barometric air pressure have on the playability of reeds? Asking for a friend (me).

Greg Baker

😀 "Hey! I got nothing to do today but smile."
-Paul Simon

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 Re: Air pressure
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-06-23 07:42

I have had two inexplicable instances where I could't even get a sound out of a clarinet (just mouthpiece; on clarinet-tried three different ones). This happened one day last October and the other just two days ago. If I had a concert on those days I would have been completely without recourse.

The only thing I can attribute this two is some odd confluence of temperature, humidity and barometric pressure (air pressure determines how fast air molecules move). For the record these were pre-storm days with particularly low pressure (29.5ish).

But I have no scientific explanation for why my playing completely shut down.

.................Paul Aviles

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 Re: Air pressure
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-06-23 22:46

I thought I'd add Ricardo Morales' direct answer to your question:


At 00:53 Ricardo Morales speaks of his reed strength options and notes that in high altitude places like Colorado, he uses a reed a half strength softer than closer to sea level.

Less pressure = softer reed

.............Paul Aviles

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 Re: Air pressure
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2019-06-24 02:47

Paul is dead on. I have a friend who performs throughout the world, and he had to perform in Peru (I think?) at 8000+ ft. He went with a more open mouthpiece and a much softer reed.

I’m in central Virginia (~450 ft) and frequently find myself performing in the blue ridge mountains (~1000-1700ft)...and I use a softer reeds when I’m in the mountains.

Having said that — I haven’t noticed the same issue with the synthetics that I now use, but I’m also not changing a really significant altitude.

Gnothi Seauton

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