When one thinks of the timbre of double reed instruments, we tend to divide them as two groups:
- Oboe, English horn, bassoon. (Western instruments.) The sound is very smooth and pure.
- Other double-reed instruments around the world, like the ones from Japan, Arab, Turkey, etc. The sound is quite rough, and usually rougher than all instruments in group 1 and single-reed instruments in the same culture.
I am wondering why western double-reed instruments are so smooth. Apparently, people in Europe were able to make improvements on it over time. But how was such improvement made? Is is because the use of new material, or is it because the science of sound is getting better understood?