Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Best Cane in Japan

My wife is an amateur microscopist and subscribes to Microscopy Today. In this month's issue there is an article about research done on Phragmites australis, cane that grows naturally in Japan that has been used for centuries to make reeds for the Hichiriki, a double reed instrument.

Using the input from a player of the Hichiriki, the researchers found that the best cane came from the banks of the Udono river in Japan. Other sources yielded cane with less desirable qualities for the player. Cane from this particular site has been harvested and made into reeds for over 1200 years!

The researchers took microscopic samples of cane from various sources, including the Udono and conducted analysis.

The results showed the cane from the Udono had the most consistent internal structure and a shell thickness of 1mm.

There is much to be learned from this research for the maker of reeds from Arundo donax, and, indeed, research on Arundo donax is cited in the article.

Here is a link to a pdf of the article. (Scroll down the table of contents to find the pdf link).

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