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Lost my original reply to the smartphone nirvana, so I just add the following: the free reed vibrates more or less in its own frequency, and thus has to be tuned, whereas the beating reed is just stimulating an air column to vibrate in its own - variable - frequency (by beating either against a mouthpiece or, in case of a double reed, one against the other).

 

Besides, in German nomenclature it would be said that a reed is either beating freely (free reed = durchschlagende Zunge) or not...

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