Acoustics of the saxophone

Bb saxophone

multiphonic 2

Music Acoustics UNSW

Multiphonic 1 Multiphonic 2 Multiphonic 3
Multiphonic 4 Multiphonic 5 Multiphonic 6
Multiphonic 7 Multiphonic 8  


a key depressed
a key not depressed
a hole covered
a hole uncovered
a part of the mechanism that is not normally touched
Details in fingering legend.

Acoustic schematic
a closed tone hole
an open tone hole

Non-specialist introduction to acoustic impedance
Non-specialist introduction to saxophone acoustics

Notes are the written pitch.
Frequencies are the sounding frequency, for Bb saxophone.
Unless otherwise stated, the impedance spectrum is for a Bb saxophone.

Impedance spectrum of a Bb saxophone measured using fingering for the multiphonic A6 with C7 .This multiphonic operates at the 7th peak (3rd major peak) and the 8th peak. By adjusting a strong impedance peak of the vocal tract (see this page for an explanation and some interesting results), the player can obtain a trill alternating between A6 and C7, perfect for playing the blues in written G.

For more explanation, see Introduction to saxophone acoustics

Fingering legend
How were these results obtained?

Contact: Joe Wolfe /
phone 61-2-9385-4954 (UT +10, +11 Oct-Mar)
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