Auloi reed making – Duduk style


After the first EMAP meeting auf Auloi players Barnaby sent me feedback to the instruments and the reeds. He told me that you would prefer reeds in Duduk style.

I tried making such reeds and here is a short abstract how I do this.
My thanks go to Barnaby Brown for corrections in my translation and to Olga Sutkowska for sending some photos of ancient reeds and some further informations about the reeds.

Here is the latest manual:

Reed making AulosDudukV2



About thomasrezanka

Teacher and pipemaker in Upperaustria/Austria
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5 Responses to Auloi reed making – Duduk style

  1. Olga Sutkowska says:

    Very impressive Thomas. Thank you so much! Just a short note to say that this reed on the first page is not the ancient one but an ethno sample from a Turkish instrument called mey (very similar to duduk in a way). I’ve got this photo from Tobias Weber. I recommend to replace this photo by a real reed find from Egypt, for instance a drawing of a reed which was found with the Berlin Aulos (see Stefan’s article about the Berlin Aulos). Apologise, I sent you once so many photos and infos that one could get confused… Anyway, a really good job! Thank you once more.

  2. Stefan Hagel says:

    Great work, Thomas, thank you so much! I hope I’ll find some time to experiment with the techniques you describe.

  3. Jeff says:

    Great Work!

    I look forward to hearing Professor Brown play two of these on Thursday!


  4. Your duduk-style reeds are a joy to play. Thank you for investing so much time and care not only developing them but sharing the practical knowledge you acquired. I feel we are on the right path! Compared to the reeds you sent us in November, their value-for-effort is far superior. Without any scraping, I could comfortably circular breathe and enjoy playing. This pleasure factor is hugely important: it stimulates the desire to practise.

    After two days intermittently playing these reeds, my feedback is as follows. The playing pressure is perfect. This elimination of physical struggle is a major step forward. Bravo! For them to work ‘out of the box’ (without expert intervention by your customer), however, they need to be closer in pitch. My pair, when you blew them individually out of the instrument, sounded roughly a 4th apart in pitch. In order to get the two pipes in tune, I had to wind a lot of waxed hemp around the higher reed (raising it by about 5mm). As that didn’t flatten it enough, I scraped the lower reed (removing the bridle first) until the squeak was roughly a 3rd below its partner. Swapping the two reeds around in the pipes, I conclude that you want the two reeds to be nearly the same, possibly a semitone or a whole tone apart in the squeal at most, certainly not a 4th. Although initially I preferred the beefier tone of the lower reed, now that they are settling down I prefer the ease and efficiency of the higher one. This is partly because the lower reed is not quite symmetrical at the mouth – the stiffness of the cane needs to be evened out by expert scraping, so the lips close evenly when you squeeze them. I will therefore work on the lower reed to raise its pitch further and increase its efficiency, hopefully to match that of the higher reed.

    Finally, I’m fairly sure that I would prefer cane bridles to wire ones: the wire digs into the cane too brutally. Rather than adjust the bridle by using pliers, I would like to be able to slide it up or down a fraction. The wire bridle makes indentations on the cane preventing this movement: its position is stuck. With a cane bridle, with more surface area, I imagine I could make fine adjustments of fractions of a millimetre, cane against cane. For musicians flying hand-luggage-only, a no-pliers solution is attractive: I lost my lovely reed-adjusting pliers going through Stansted last month! One wants to be able to remove the bridle for scraping (or sanding), and sometimes reversing it does the trick, sorting out an asymmetry at the mouth.

  5. Roberto Stanco says:

    Many thanks Thomas for this nice manual!

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