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J Acoust Soc Am. 2003 Mar;113(3):1736-42.

Musical quality assessment of clarinet reeds using optical holography.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Physique des Interfaces et des Couches Minces, CNRS-Ecole Polytechnique, F-91128 Palaiseau Cedex, France.


Vibrational modes of 24 clarinet reeds have been observed in both dry and wet conditions using holographic interferometry. Results have been compared with the "musical quality" of the reeds as judged by two professional clarinet players. An excellent correspondence has been demonstrated between specific vibrational behavior and musical quality. The results suggest that the presence and symmetry of a strong first torsional mode are indicative of good or very good musical quality. A second, but less stringent quality criterion is the proximity of frequencies corresponding to the second torsional and the second flexural mode. This proximity leads to the creation of mixed vibrational modes for the very best of the investigated clarinet reeds.

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