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Investigation of the Emission Rate of Particles when Musicians Play Wind, Woodwind, and Brass Instruments

Schumann, Lukas; von Zadow, Dorothea; Schmidt, Alexander; Fernholz, Isabel; Hartmann, Anne; Ifrim, Liliana; Kriegel, Martin; Seybold, Joachim; Mürbe, Dirk; Fleischer, Mario

In the context of the high risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19, the question of the production of particles while playing wind instruments is highly relevant. Therefore, in this study, 23 professional musicians played their instruments in a cleanroom in cleanroom-grade clothing. The most common orchestral wind instruments flute, oboe, clarinet, and trumpet were therefore chosen. Aerosol measurements using a laser particle counter were conducted to quantify the emission rate of respiratory particles. Orchestral excerpts as well as sustained tones in two dynamic levels were played. The emitted particles were mostly in a submicron size range. For all instruments besides the clarinet, an influence of the loudness of playing on the emission rate could be observed. The emission rates for all musical instruments were independent of the passages played. Flute and oboe showed similar emission rates but lower than the values for clarinet and trumpet. While playing a note with a small volume, the flute, oboe, and trumpet have a similar emission rate as found for speaking.
Published in: Indoor Air, 10.1155/2023/8092828, Wiley