Student Summer Scholars




Professional oboists spend more time making reeds than they do playing the oboe. Therefore, a high value is placed on reed-making in the oboe community. In this study, a controlled batch of reed cane (internodes of the grass Arundo donax) was selected based on microscopic inspection of cellular composition as well as macroscopic physical characteristics. For most of the participants, the cane was then processed identically to the stage known as a blank, after which the participants finished their reeds according to their usual methods. (The few participants who made their own blanks still used the controlled cane and also a controlled staple, the metal cylinder that attaches the reed to the oboe.) The sound spectra of recordings of each participant playing on his/her respective reeds were analyzed, as was a spectrum of the crow (sound without the oboe attached) of each reed in an anechoic chamber. These spectra were compared to one another in an attempt to discern trends.