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February 11, 1974

French Horn Affairs

Author Affiliations

Fontana, Calif

JAMA. 1974;227(6):657. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230190049016

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To the Editor.—  I beg to differ with your consultant's answer to the problems of acid saliva and perspiration in the French horn player (226:212, 1973). Saliva is normally slightly acid (pH 6 to 7). The usual dosage of antacid is not going to change it. Condensate in the brass (and woodwind) instruments is mostly from watersaturated breath with probably a negligible amount of saliva. The acidity of the liquid is from the dissolved carbon dioxide, ie, carbonic acid. Antacid will not help.For protection of the instrument, a coating of some type of clear plastic like that used for protecting paintings or to protect and waterproof furniture finish might help. Be sure the plastic is the kind that remains smooth when dry, and is not tacky. A coating on the tops of the valves probably will protect the instrument against perspiration. No musician can or will want to play