Effect of drone reed material on great highland bagpipe sound

Mathieu Paquier 1, * Vincent Koehl 1 Cédric Moign 1
* Auteur correspondant
Lab-STICC - Laboratoire des sciences et techniques de l'information, de la communication et de la connaissance
Abstract : Great highland bagpipe drones are equipped with single beating reeds. These reeds were traditionally made of cane but more and more musicians nowadays use synthetic reeds. The advantage of synthetic reed is its reduced dependance on air moisture and temperature as well as its increased stability with aging. Despite this advantage, many musicians consider that equipping their instrument with synthetic reeds would degrade its timbre and remain faithful to cane reeds. In the present study, the sound of drones equipped with cane or plastic reeds was first recorded. Expert listeners were then asked to assess these recordings with respect to the following attributes : global quality of sound, clarity, aggressiveness, warmth, volume and immersion. The reed material appeared to be without significant effect on the global quality of drone sound (and also on other perceptual attributes), when one tenor or bass drone was played alon e, and when the two tenor drones and the bass drone were played with the chanter (full set). However, independently of the material, some reeds obtained higher ratings than some other ones. Global Quality was correlated with warmth, immersion and clarity (to a lesser extent with aggressiveness)in full set condition. Correlations between perceptual results and signal analyses showed, about tenor drones, that listeners appreciated sounds having a fundamental frequency with a large magnitude, and less energy for higher harmonics. The analysis of the material influence on these signal properties indicated that synthetic tenor reeds should obtained higher quality ratings (even if this effect was not significant according to the statistical analysis).
Keywords : Musical acoustics
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Contributeur : Vincent Koehl <>
Soumis le : mardi 5 juillet 2016 - 10:54:16
Dernière modification le : mardi 16 janvier 2018 - 15:54:24



Mathieu Paquier, Vincent Koehl, Cédric Moign. Effect of drone reed material on great highland bagpipe sound. Acta Acustica united with Acustica, Hirzel Verlag, 2016, 102 (4), pp.752-762. 〈http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/dav/aaua/2016/00000102/00000004/art00015〉. 〈10.3813/AAA.918991〉. 〈hal-01341956〉



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