Sax Tip: Practice Makes Perfect

Experience Helps Saxophonists Hit the High Notes Instead of Squealing Through Their Reed

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on February 07, 2008
From the WebMD Archives

Feb. 7, 2008 -- Love the saxophone? Hitting those high notes is a skill that singers might be able to relate to, an Australian study shows.

Physicists at the University of New South Wales in Sydney rigged a small microphone that fit over saxophone reeds and was hooked up to a computer.

Five professional saxophonists and three amateur saxophonists played high and low notes while the microphone measured the acoustics inside the players' vocal tract.

None of the players adjusted their vocal tracts to nail the lower notes. But the high notes were a different story.

The pro saxophonists tuned their vocal tracts to match near to the high note they're playing. The amateur players hadn't mastered that technique.

Graduate student Jer Ming Chen and colleagues report their findings in today's edition of Science.