Douglas H. Keefe
School of Music, DN-10, Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195
Universite du Maine, 72017 Le Mans Cedex, France
Performers of reed-driven woodwinds understand the important role that the reed plays in the production of aesthetically expressive musical sounds, yet the current status of musical acoustics theory and experiment concerning the reed is ambiguous. Benade (1976) stressed the importance of the reed resonance in controlling the tuning and tone color of reed-driven woodwinds, and Thompson (1979) experimentally measured such tuning effects using a metal reed with a quality factor (Q) of about 10. However, the Q of a clarinet reed has been reported to be about 3. Time-domain simulations of a clarinet with a Q of 3 did not show the predicted entrainment of the playing frequency to a subharmonic of the reed frequency (Keefe, 1992). Measured responses of moist clarinet and saxophone reeds using mechanical impact excitation have been obtained in a configuration in which the experimenter's thumb applies the static force of the reed against the mouthpiece. This is intended to mimic the lower lip of the player under playing conditions. Results indicate Q's in the range of 5--10. Time-domain simulations of sound production demonstrate that entrainment can occur in these higher-Q regimes.