Archives of Acoustics, 36, 2, pp. 267–282, 2011

Toward a Single Reed Mouthpiece for the Oboe

Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Wien Institut für Wiener Klangstil

Christophe VERGEZ
Laboratoire de Mécanique et d’Acoustique LMA-CNRS UPR 7051


Reed woodwind instruments differ in both their geometry (mainly cylindrical
or mainly conical) and their excitation mechanism (single or double reed). How
much of the resulting sound is due to the single/double reed, and how much to the
geometry of the instrument? Measurements done by Almeida et al. (J. Acoust. Soc.
Am., 121, 1, 536–546, 2007) show that the flow vs pressure characteristic curve of
an oboe reed is not that different from that of a clarinet reed, the only difference
probably being due to pressure recovery inside the conical staple. Is it possible to
make a single reed mouthpiece for an oboe, while keeping the conical staple, that
would still give the oboe its characteristic sound? To find it out, a mouthpiece with
the following characteristics was made: A standard clarinet B[ reed can be attached
to it, its volume is approximately that of the missing part of the instrument cone,
and a standard French oboe staple can be inserted to it, so that it can be inserted in
the usual way in any french oboe. In this paper, the first prototype of the mouthpiece
is shown. Also, a sound comparison of the oboe sounds played with this mouthpiece
and a standard double reed by a professional player is presented.
Keywords: single reed; mouthpiece; oboe; double reed; woodwind instruments
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