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Experienced Saxophonists Learn to Tune Their Vocal Tracts

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Science  08 Feb 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5864, pp. 776
DOI: 10.1126/science.1151411

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Abstract

Acousticians have long debated whether and how the resonances of the vocal tract are involved in the playing of clarinet and saxophone. We measured the resonances of saxophonists' vocal tracts directly while they played. Over most of the instrument's range, there is no simple relation between tract resonances and the note played, and the tract resonances varied among players. In the high (altissimo) range, a strong resonance of the tracts of professional saxophonists was systematically tuned slightly above the desired note. Amateurs, who did not tune a strong resonance, were unable to play notes in the altissimo range.

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