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The Science and Technology of Music


Research Project: A study of the perceived quality of saxophone reeds

Back to Research Field: Music Perception and Cognition

A study of the perceived quality of saxophone reeds

  Research Project Information
Runtime: Mar 31, 2012 until Dec 26, 2013
Project coordination: Gary Scavone
Scientific staff: Gary Scavone; Stephen McAdams

The subjective quality of cane reeds used on saxophones or clarinets may be very different from one reed to another even though the reeds have the same shape and strength. The aim of this work is to study the differences in the subjective quality of reeds. The work focuses mainly on the agreement of a panel of musicians, the reliability of the evaluations and the discrimination power of the panel. A subjective study, involving 10 skilled musicians, was conducted on a set of 20 reeds of the same strength. Three descriptors were assessed: Brightness, Softness, and Global quality. The ratings of the musicians were analyzed using sensory data analysis methods to estimate the agreement between them and the main consensual differences between the reeds. This work has been conducted in collaboration with student member Pierric Kersaudy and Dr. Jean-Fran├žois Petiot at Ecole Centrale de Nantes.