This is a remake of BDP#1.

<Music: Hummel, Bassoon Concerto, I, Terry B. Ewell, bassoon, and Peter Amstutz, fortepiano, Oct. 1997, Kent University.>


There are a myriad of scrapes that are available for bassoon reeds. These are two of the hypothetical types of scrapes we have for the bassoon reed. The parallel scrape features of a quick sloping tip area and then is largely the same thickness from the heart to the back. Obviously you have reeds that are a compromise of these two types. The sloped shape you also have the tip area but then it slopes on up to where we find the bark or the area of the first wire. As I mentioned, some of the sloped or pyramid shapes will not feature called a collar or an abrupt ridge in this area here.

I prefer the term "sloped" and we will use the term here, but there are other reed makers who prefer the term "pyramid."

Now we are going to talk a bit about the "aperture" of the reed. The aperture is what you see when you look at the tip of the reed or the opening of the reed. Here we have two different types of apertures. We have one aperture that is basically a single curve and then we have another aperture where we have a curve that reverses direction. See right where the arrows point we have a change in direction. There are more complex curves to this aperture. We call this area of change "the point of inflection." These two reeds types will of vary in response. These apertures produce different types of reeds that we will discuss later on in this video series.

Now when we are referring to aperture we can talk about the height of the aperture, that is the distance between the two blades in the middle point of the reed (the tip opening that is the largest), and we can also talk about the width of the aperture, that is the point at which air is allowed to go into the reed. See right here at the edge here it is all black? That part of the reed is not allowing air through it. That part is not participating (at least as much) in vibration. This part is allowed to freely vibrated in the center section. So we talk about the aperture width, it is the width that is actually vibrating on the surface. This becomes important particularly for the reed with points of inflection.

You can see how in number 1, 2, and 3 the width of the aperture (as well as the height) varies considerably In fact this is the fantastic thing about a bassoon reed--particularly one with points of inflection. You are creating as it were, multiple reed shapes and multiple reed sizes. By reforming your embouchure on the reed, with various pressures of your embouchure on the reed you are actually changing the vibrational surface area of the reed.  So here we are looking on were looking on.... Number 1 is too open as an aperture. You probably won't find many reeds that will work with an aperture like that. But it is highly stylized so that you get the idea. Notice that the width of the aperture in 1 is greater than the width is this aperture in 2. Here in number 3 we have a much smaller aperture width. So the vibrational area of this particular reed of this number 3 aperture is right in this area. This part does not participate as much in the vibration.

If we look at the lay [blade] of the reed I think you will begin to understand the vibrational surface.  So what I show as number 1 had the aperture that was from here to here. You can see the edge of this black area in number 1 was not participating in that vibration. But everything else was freely vibrating and participating in that reed opening. Now as that reed opening closed to the 2nd aperture the black shaded area was closed off here and here and neither of these areas vibrated freely. This area (grey and white) all vibrated freely. In the 3rd all white--we've got a different lay of the reed all vibrating.

We will discover later that to the smaller the vibrating area of the reed, the more it favors the high register. The larger the vibrating area the more it favors the low register. So the number 1 aperture would be when you are playing with as loose an embouchure as possible, generally playing in the low register. The number 3 aperture would be where your embouchure is exerting more force on the reed and therefore is playing high notes, in the high register.

If we look at a reed with no points of inflection, it's different in that although the aperture height changes, there is generally little difference in the width of the aperture. So the reeds without points of inflection, despite the fact that you increase the embouchure pressure on the reeds, still freely vibrates along a large surface area.

Now here's a comparison, side by side, of h the openings of the reeds. Again you can see that that reed number 3 has a very small aperture here with a reed with points inflection and then there is still a pretty large aperture here.

The height has changed but again the width is pretty much the same for that particular aperture. I want to also talk about a couple of other terms that we have in this video series.

When we are addressing wire adjustments...let me go back to my reed here... if you round out a wire, making the tube rounder, that would be squeezing with tube with pliers on each side of the reed. If you flatten the wire, that is squeezing on this point and on opposite side, actually closing the wire down. That rounding and flattening the wires will be an important concept that will have later on in our video series.

Well, this closes the first of all the video series here. I want to close with a little prayer for you. I know that reed making can be absolutely frustrating. There have been many times in my life when I've been frustrated. as well with reed making. So I just want to pray for God's mercy in your life. So Lord I would pray that those who are working on reeds now and learning these new skills, you would be blessing them, God, and helping them to understand these concepts and quickly master the making of reeds. Amen.

<Music: Hummel, Bassoon Concerto, I, Terry B. Ewell, bassoon, and Peter Amstutz, fortepiano, Oct. 1997, Kent University.>