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When I hear about players described as "warm blowers" or "bright players", does that mean that their respective individual oral cavity always give them a certain tone landscape regardless of their mouthpiece/reed choice? I'm asking this because a dentist I visited some years ago noticed that I have a small oral cavity - should this mean that I'm a player who "can blow bright" as 10mfan describes it?
 

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The size and shape of the oral cavity will give players a pre-disposition to a certain sound, and it's the starting point from which you work.
That's not the only physical component that makes a real difference in the sound a player gets, but it is an important and fundamental one.
 

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All that "rules" such as what sound one's anatomy will produce is to cause folks to assume limitations in performance based on preconceived notions. It is best to ignore such things and just continue developing the sound that you want. Concerning oneself with what might be and what might not be does not help to develop that sound that you want.
 

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The size and shape of the oral cavity will give players a pre-disposition to a certain sound, and it's the starting point from which you work.
That's not the only physical component that makes a real difference in the sound a player gets, but it is an important and fundamental one.
Absolutely true--and very overlooked IMO
 

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With no intention to belittle the question, the specifics of an individual's oral cavity are not the primary factor in tone, but certainly are a factor. It's really the whole body - seriously. The ability to use the diaphragm to push air, the size and shape of the chest, lung capacity, head and neck size and shape, sinus cavities, jaw features, dental characteristics (over/under bite, missing teeth, etc.), size, shape and position of tongue, facial characteristics such as lips and muscles and of course oral cavity size and shape. Still, although no player can be exactly like another player in physical characteristics, it is amazingly true that one completely different player can manage to play and sound very much like another if they are willing to work at it, because some of the more critical factors are flexible. We change the volume of the oral cavity a significant amount by opening and closing the mouth and moving the tongue; we can change the embouchure. We can vary the amount of air we use and it's pressure; we can use many different kinds of instruments, mouthpieces and reeds.
So, yeah, the oral cavity affects tone. How much it affects it is player-specific and mostly not intentional. It always before was really subconscious adjustments you made in the attempt to get a sound or effect like the guy on the record. I mean, can anybody (should anybody) try to play music while they try to remember all those factors and try to adjust them on the fly? Don't you think these factors are really the result of people trying to analyze how somebody really good plays so they can try to teach it the clueless? IOW, the old problem of science trying to describe art.
 

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I have a large oral cavity. Sometimes I play very 'bright'. Sometimes I'm a 'warm blower'.
What I do INSIDE that large oral cavity makes some difference in my personal sound.
 

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Yes, your whole body will have an influence on your sound. But it's possible to transcend these attributes by the way you blow (shape of tongue, speed of air, embouchure, throat, etc.)

There are two great proofs of this in jazz history.

First Coltrane at 26, then 8 years later. Totally different sound.

Then, even though it's not as drastic, Lovano in 77 and something more recent.
 

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In HS and for YEARS after graduation I weight at MOST 125lbs. That's relatively thin, but I still played with a FAT sound.
Now that I'm heavier I still play with a fat sound. I just has a bit more 'resonance'. ;)
 

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Yes, your whole body will have an influence on your sound. But it's possible to transcend these attributes by the way you blow (shape of tongue, speed of air, embouchure, throat, etc.)

There are two great proofs of this in jazz history.

First Coltrane at 26, then 8 years later. Totally different sound.

Then, even though it's not as drastic, Lovano in 77 and something more recent.
"Proof"? That's disriculous. Might some years on the horn have just a lil' influence on developing a personal sound? Gimme a few more data points, maybe a couple examples where someone lost weight over the course of 10-15 years, and even though they developed as a musician, their sound faded with their mass.

I know that I have maintained my weight within a span of about 15 pounds (185-200 lbm) over the last 40 years, and my sound just continues to grow - because I continue to work on it. Yes, you can develop a FAT sound without growing a body to match.
 

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"Proof"? That's disriculous. Might some years on the horn have just a lil' influence on developing a personal sound? Gimme a few more data points, maybe a couple examples where someone lost weight over the course of 10-15 years, and even though they developed as a musician, their sound faded with their mass.

I know that I have maintained my weight within a span of about 15 pounds (185-200 lbm) over the last 40 years, and my sound just continues to grow - because I continue to work on it. Yes, you can develop a FAT sound without growing a body to match.
Yes G, that's what I meant. :scratch:
 

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Oral cavity affects the sound very very little.

I know it seems like common sense that the oral cavity would have an effect, but I'm now absolutely sure it has no effect whatsoever. Dr. Edward Pillinger has done research into this, albeit using a clarinet, however i can't see it would be any different to a saxophone.

By building an artificial embouchure he was able to cut out any human variables, and to his surprise he found that while lip pressure and position made a difference, the actual cavity and/or the material of the cavity made absolutely no difference to the sound. He upset a few orchestral players and learned acousticians in the process, but they could not deny his results.

As we might expect with the lip pressure and position, very slight and subtle changes could make a huge difference. This is what we work towards in our tone exercise: absolute control over the lip part of embouchure. Oral cavity we can't do much about, beyond puffing out our cheeks or cutting a bit off our tongues so basically it's down to how hard we work o other things, i.e. lip pressure, position, articulation, airflow.
 

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Oral cavity affects the sound very very little.

I know it seems like common sense that the oral cavity would have an effect, but I'm now absolutely sure it has no effect whatsoever. Dr. Edward Pillinger has done research into this, albeit using a clarinet, however i can't see it would be any different to a saxophone.

By building an artificial embouchure he was able to cut out any human variables, and to his surprise he found that while lip pressure and position made a difference, the actual cavity and/or the material of the cavity made absolutely no difference to the sound. He upset a few orchestral players and learned acousticians in the process, but they could not deny his results.

As we might expect with the lip pressure and position, very slight and subtle changes could make a huge difference. This is what we work towards in our tone exercise: absolute control over the lip part of embouchure. Oral cavity we can't do much about, beyond puffing out our cheeks or cutting a bit off our tongues so basically it's down to how hard we work o other things, i.e. lip pressure, position, articulation, airflow.

As a beginner, I am bombarded with a lot of information and, at times, contradictory advice. It helps to get some clarification.

When you say position, I assume you mean mouthpiece position (how much mouthpiece is taken in).

Does the position and shape of the tongue play a part in changing the tone and pitch. Or, is the tongue only for articulation?

Edit: I have read advice to keep the tongue touching/close to the back molars and to arch the back of the tongue. In other words, to use the tongue to change pitch, direction of airflow, etc.
 

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When you say position, I assume you mean mouthpiece position (how much mouthpiece is taken in).
No, I mean tongue position on the reed. "Mouthpiece taken in" is not something easily or objectively measurable. It is something talked about about quite a bit (mostly on this forum) and is something that I believe to be a bit of a red herring in some cases.

The position of the top teeth is quite irrelevant, the top teeth are just there there to anchor the mouthpiece. The bottom teeth/lip is what counts and "how much mouthpiece" is not the same thing.
 

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In HS and for YEARS after graduation I weight at MOST 125lbs. That's relatively thin, but I still played with a FAT sound.
Now that I'm heavier I still play with a fat sound. I just has a bit more 'resonance'. ;)
Yeah; I've gained some "resonance" over the years too. :)
 

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No, I mean tongue position on the reed. "Mouthpiece taken in" is not something easily or objectively measurable. It is something talked about about quite a bit (mostly on this forum) and is something that I believe to be a bit of a red herring in some cases.

The position of the top teeth is quite irrelevant, the top teeth are just there there to anchor the mouthpiece. The bottom teeth/lip is what counts and "how much mouthpiece" is not the same thing.
Thank you for both clarifications.
 

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it should be all here

https://www2.lawrence.edu/fast/jordheis/welcome.html

you can see videos of the various things which we perform and read about the project


“......The Saxophonist's Anatomy
Welcome to The Saxophonist’s Anatomy website. This site includes video and still images of the anatomy of the vocal tract during performance of many standard and extended techniques on the alto saxophone. The examination of the vocal tract in saxophone performance was a project of the saxophone studio of Steven Jordheim at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in 2008 and 2009.

Project Purpose and Design

•Date: January, 2008 – June, 2009

•Purpose: To increase understanding of the involvement of the vocal mechanism in the performance of standard and extended saxophone techniques and to provide direction for future research

•Participants: Six saxophonists – one female and five males – drawn from faculty, alumni, and students of the Lawrence University Conservatory Saxophone Studio

•Location: Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Appleton, Wisconsin

•Procedure: An otolaryngologist transnasally placed a fiber-optic camera into the throat of each saxophonist, providing a view of the base of the tongue and epiglottis, the structures of the larynx, and the muscular wall of the pharynx; the saxophonist performed a series of standard and extended techniques while the otolaryngologist recorded the movements of the anatomical structures. The camera was removed, and another camera was placed in the corner of the mouth to provide a view of the tongue and palate, and the mouthpiece and reed; the saxophonist repeated the series of performance techniques while the otolaryngologist recorded the movements of the anatomical structures.

•Videostroboscopy Equipment: Kay Elemetics videostroboscopy system with DVD recorder using a flexible Machida ENT-3L No. 84190 nasopharyngoscope

•Performance Equipment: Medium faced alto saxophone mouthpieces including the Selmer C* and Vandoren AL3

•Results: Video and audio clips that reveal the involvement of the anatomical structures of the vocal tract in a survey of standard and extended saxophone techniques. The recorded data was analyzed and interpreted by faculty of the Lawrence Conservatory and speech pathologists at University of Wisconsin Hospitals.

The recordings revealed that the action of the vocal mechanism was nearly identical across the group of participants for nearly all techniques performed in the project. Consequently, those video images which most clearly reveal the action of the vocal mechanism were selected for presentation on this website. For any specified technique, the video and still images of the throat and mouth are of the same saxophonist, though multiple saxophonists are represented on this website.

The design of this website allows the viewer to access video and still images in the order of the viewer’s choosing. However, it is beneficial to study the "Illustrations of the Anatomy" and "Endoscopy" pages prior to viewing any of the pages devoted to specific performance techniques and to view all of the pages in the order presented when first viewing the contents of this website. Doing so provides the viewer with a more clear understanding of the anatomical structures of the vocal tract and their function in the performance of saxophone techniques.

All pitches referenced on this website are written in transposed form for the alto saxophone. For example, Bb3 refers to the lowest Bb of the alto saxophone; Bb6 refers to the Bb in the altissimo register.
 

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Oral cavity affects the sound very very little.

I know it seems like common sense that the oral cavity would have an effect, but I'm now absolutely sure it has no effect whatsoever. Dr. Edward Pillinger has done research into this, albeit using a clarinet, however i can't see it would be any different to a saxophone.
The idea that oral cavity has no impact on the sound is, well......
Let's put it this way : I have ears. I can f'ing hear!
I know that research and I had the same reaction.
It seems that what we are actually doing when we alter the oral cavity, we influence the three, very delicate, parameters:
Lip position
Lip pressure
Airflow (speed and pressure)

Thinking in terms of oral cavity is still useful to visualize what we are doing (and a teaching tool), but the three parameters can probably be adjusted regardless of the personal mouth anatomy.
 

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I know that research and I had the same reaction.
It seems that what we are actually doing when we alter the oral cavity, we influence the three, very delicate, parameters:
Lip position
Lip pressure
Airflow (speed and pressure)

Thinking in terms of oral cavity is still useful to visualize what we are doing (and a teaching tool), but the three parameters can probably be adjusted regardless of the personal mouth anatomy.
Shape.

That's the variable I relate to.
 
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