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'Masks' for wind instruments?

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'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:31 pm

Is there any consensus on using 'masks' for wind instruments to allow for a Covid-safe performance or rehearsal?

I am interested in particular jazz, horns and wind instruments:

clarinets
tubas
trumpets/cornets
saxes
trombones


Does anyone have any info on products or methods that allow us to have these instruments live, in a covid-safe way?

Much appreciated.
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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:11 pm

Just thinking about it from first principles I doubt blowing into a wind instrument (flute excepted as you don't actually blow into it) would result in much, if any, propagation of droplets through the air, they mostly condense inside the tube and are expelled through the drains keys as liquid water. Singers and kazoo players OTOH, we always knew they were the work of the devil ;)

I believe when live performance restarts the only allowable lyrics will be "mmfff mmfff mmffff"..... :D
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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby MOF » Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:15 pm

First the silly reply, you won’t be able to play a wind instrument if you’re wearing a mask. :D
Secondly the serious answer is I don’t think that much air comes out of these instruments, it’s mostly about creating a column of vibrating air at the mouthpiece that is amplified by the body.
I would say a singer will expel more air than the wind/brass instruments.
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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby shufflebeat » Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:43 pm

Probably not a surprise you mention this while I'm doing some planning to fashion something along these lines out of perspex sheet and some 20mm rubber grommets:

Image

The one I'm planning will be for fluters and singists rather than sax players for which it serves a different porpoise.
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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby ben howes » Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:48 pm

You might want to get in touch with these people, they are investigating the aerosol made by wind instruments as well as singing.
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/ ... nging-safe
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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby Malcolm Smith » Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:18 pm

A brass playing friend of mine showed me this informative video:

Sound waves in Brass instruments
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyoGz5PSuSw

Spread that! :clap:

But he still also stretched a (huge!) "mask" across the bell of his sousaphone as a joke and to allay uneducated people's fears now that he's out performing in street bands again.
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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:42 pm

Excellent video! :clap:
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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby Folderol » Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:53 pm

First class. Simple, direct and accurate!
Hmmm.
So way too arcane for most people (and all politicians).
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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby N i g e l » Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:26 pm

Great demo but I bet theres dribbles on the carpet !
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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby DC-Choppah » Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:29 am

Hmmm

OK, so if a horn player takes a big breath of air, then plays a line, then has to breath again, where did the air go?

The video above shows that air did not go out of the bell of the trumpet. Thanks for that. Pretty straight forward. Perhaps a 'mask' on the bell of the trumpet/cornet won't help. Where did the air go then? Is there any way to put a mask over where the air actually comes out then?
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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby ef37a » Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:52 am

Folderol wrote:First class. Simple, direct and accurate!
Hmmm.
So way too arcane for most people (and all politicians).

Yes Will, an excellent explanation but did you wait for the next video, the 'scientist' oop north? Crashed in at I would think 10dB more level and I had to back off the volume in my cans but even worse WHY that bloody awful background music?!! At times I found it hard to hear what he was saying beneath it.

The air must be escaping past the lips, AT the lips and since it is at some pressure, droplets will I think be propelled with greater velocity than normal speech? Thus some form of acrylic screen would seem to be in order? There are I am sure venues where 25mm Polycarbonate would be a better choice?

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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby dustin.newman » Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:02 am

very interesting point, I guess that under these circumstances you only can do only 2 things:

* Ensure that every musician did a test before playing
* Put security distance between each musician

Otherwise, I don't think it can be done much more.
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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby ef37a » Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:00 am

dustin.newman wrote:very interesting point, I guess that under these circumstances you only can do only 2 things:

* Ensure that every musician did a test before playing
* Put security distance between each musician

Otherwise, I don't think it can be done much more.

I think the 'danger' is that venues might provide screens (every drummer and most lead guitarists should have one!) but unless they understand the science they will put it at the bell of the instrument and not at the face of the musician.

I don't see much point in 'muso to muso' protection? Surely they have got together previously to rehearse?

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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby DC-Choppah » Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:12 pm

ef37a wrote:
The air must be escaping past the lips, AT the lips and since it is at some pressure, droplets will I think be propelled with greater velocity than normal speech? Thus some form of acrylic screen would seem to be in order? There are I am sure venues where 25mm Polycarbonate would be a better choice?

Dave

Then what about a mask with a little hole in it, large enough for the stem of the mouth piece. Then sealed up. So the mouth piece is inside the mask. Lips and mouth piece all inside the mask. Would that work for all brass then?

What about clarinet?
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Re: 'Masks' for wind instruments?

Postby Jorge » Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:29 pm

Malcolm Smith wrote:A brass playing friend of mine showed me this informative video:
Sound waves in Brass instruments
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyoGz5PSuSw

Spread that! :clap:
But he still also stretched a (huge!) "mask" across the bell of his sousaphone as a joke and to allay uneducated people's fears now that he's out performing in street bands again.

I apologize for the following long post, but I see this discussion leading to a false sense of security and possible harm to folks on this forum and others. One part of my day job is Covid-19 prevention and I would like to share some of the information I have gathered in hopes that it may reduce this potential harm.

This video is highly misleading. It creates a "straw man" false concept that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is transmitted at speed of sound from the trumpet bell (or singer's mouth) to the listener's breathing zone. Then it demolishes this admittedly ridiculous concept using common sense. Fine, so we get that this somehow magical concept of delivery of the virus to a person a long distance away from the musician is not consistent with the theory of sound wave propagation in air.

But that is not, and never has been, the problem with risk of virus transmission by vocal or brass instrument performance in public. The problem is the potential for short distance spread of the virus by what is called the airborne route. This is a route of transmission of viruses by very small particles mostly less than 5 micrometers in diameter, and is believed to be a major contributor to the spread of tuberculosis, chicken pox and measles. Whether it is a major or minor contributor to spread of SARS-CoV-2 is currently a raging controversy in medicine, epidemiology and fluid mechanics, with many economic, social and political factors underlying the scientific discussions.

Airborne spread can occur when these microscopic particles slowly float around for minutes or hours in the indoor space and may be inhaled or innoculate the eyes or mucus membranes of others in the space close to the infected person. It can also occur when an infected person coughs or sneezes and emits a turbulent buoyant cloud of particles that can propagate across a longer distance (up to 26 feet has been reported) similar to (but faster than) a smoke ring floating and drifting across a room from the mouth of the smoker who blows the smoke ring. One study reported that the particles can remain airborne for up to 3 hours but stopped measuring at that time and does not reassure us that longer times are not possible or likely. Vibrating lips, vocal cords and reeds are quite effective in generating these small particles.
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/artic ... ne.0020086

A published case report of an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 infection caused by 2 chorus rehearsals in Skagit County, Washington State, USA clearly demonstrates the potential for "superspreading" to occur when one or more infected individuals sings in an indoor enclosed space without a facemask. The setting was a 2.5 hour choir rehearsal with one known symptomatic index case and possibly other presymptomatic index cases in the 1-3 days they could be infectious before symptoms began. As a result of that one choir rehearsal, from 53% to 87% of the 61 participants became infected, and 2 of those died. A report of this "natural experiment" was published by the US CDC.
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6919e6.htm

But these superspreading events are not the norm. Typically one infected person infects between 0.5 and 3 other people during the week or so that they remain infectious with SARS-CoV-2, not more than 30 people in a couple hours. These horrifying superspreading events are less common than they could be because we have learned from careful tracing and follow-up and reports of events like this to avoid going out when sick and to practice universal masking, hand hygiene, social distancing and avoidance of unmasked singing and talking in indoor congregate situations. These and other infection control behaviours have become the norm and all contribute to reducing transmission, but only if they are implemented, enforced and continue to be followed.

How is all this relevant to wind instruments? In a live performance situation the concern really does include "muso to muso" and muso to audience transmission, in addition to the audience to audience and audience to musician transmission that also may occur. We need to always be aware that the infection can be transmitted in the 1 to 3 days prior to onset of symptoms, or even if symptoms never occur. An infected singer or horn player can thus be a hidden source of infection that needs to be controlled during live performances and rehearsals. Masking and distancing between musicians will reduce the chances of this a lot, but obviously these approaches are not feasible for singers or horn players. Currently available information does not completely reassure us that airborne transmission is not occurring.

We don't yet have a good answer for this. Medical testing can miss infected cases and daily testing, which is used for movie/tv actors, is not economically feasible at this time. Masking the bell might work for a trumpet or tuba but not for a saxophone, flute or other similar instruments that are not sealed tubes. Masking the player with a hole in the mask for the mouthpiece won't address this problem of possible airborne transmission. Singing with a mask on is not optimal. Live performances with good monitoring and adequate distances (probably 6 or 12 feet or more) between any 2 people (musicians, sound people and other employees), and live streaming to audiences at home may temporarily get the music industry through this pandemic, but may still allow rare cases of transmission and may be damaging to the experience of playing and listening to the music.
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