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  • Philip Bate
  •  and Geoffrey Burgess


An elastic lamina of natural vegetable tissue (bamboo, leaf, straw or wood), metal, plastic or other material which, under the influence of an airstream from a wind player’s lungs or from bellows, will vibrate at a frequency determined by its dimensions, mass and elasticity. This vibration is used to excite periodic pressure waves in an air column within the tube of an instrument. The frequency of these waves and hence the note sounded is mainly determined by the form and dimensions of the air column which are the more important factors in such a coupled acoustic system. Reeds are categorized as ‘beating’ or ‘free’, the former being again divided into ‘single’ and ‘double’. For instruments used in Western art music, reeds are made from the large semi-tropical grass ...

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Early Music
Galpin Society Journal
Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society