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Tapping a part of the instrument makes it reveal its natural resonance frequencies.

Saxophone body exited by a sound at its resonant frequency WILL make the saxophone resonate. This is AUDIBLE....

<snipped out a bunch of similar unsupported statements>
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Saying something with CAPITAL LETTERS doesn't make it true. Provide data, please.

In God we trust; all others bring data.

[whereupon data will not be forthcoming, because the data don't exist...]
 

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Luckily the sound and content of different frequencies in it can be analysed by measuring instruments, not ears. Also, the resonance of objects is measurable by laser scanners. These things are measurable, it is not a matter of personal belief or any sort of black magic.

Provide data? For what? Everything I wrote are obvious claims or generaly known facts. If you do not know something does not constitute a duty for me to supoort what I said. On the other hand, if you do not agree with something I wrote, your must refute it yourself.
 

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I wish I could say my Super 20 Silversonics sound different than my other Super 20's - I have both alto and tenor Silversonics, and non-Silversonics - all less than 1000 serial #'s apart (33 in the case of my tenors).
I can't tell the difference (and I'm a sound engineer) either playing them or in a blind listening test. A spectrograph on the recorded tracks shows no difference either. For those who don't know - the Silversonics have a SOLID Sterling bell. IF there was a difference to be heard, I'd have heard it. If there were a difference from behind the instrument (ie - as the player) I would have heard that too.

I am of the belief that if you hear a difference in materials, it's almost assuredly another factor - not the material causing your difference.

PS. student horns are not all lighter weight than pro models'.
 

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Luckily the sound and content of different frequencies in it can be analysed by measuring instruments, not ears. Also, the resonance of objects is measurable by laser scanners. These things are measurable, it is not a matter of personal belief or any sort of black magic.

Provide data? For what? Everything I wrote are obvious claims or generaly known facts. If you do not know something does not constitute a duty for me to supoort what I said. On the other hand, if you do not agree with something I wrote, your must refute it yourself.
No, everything you wrote is generally considered to be incorrect by anyone who works in the field of woodwind acoustics. The mechanism of sound production in woodwinds is well understood, and it does not include vibrations of the walls of the tube. If, therefore, you have new evidence that the last 100 years or so of acoustic science are wrong, it's incumbent on you to present said evidence.

You mention measurements that can be made. Great! Please provide the results to support what you're saying.

I could say "well, it's obvious and generally known that future events can be predicted by reading the patterns in tea leaves at the bottom of your cup" - but saying it is "obvious and generally known" doesn't make it obvious, or generally known, or true.
 

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If (and it's a big "if") student horns are lighter than professional models, it'll be because there's less/simplified keywork.

And how about the fact that the Bundy saxophone, the standard student instrument for at least two generations of American saxophone students, is exactly the same thing as the Buescher Aristocrat, generally regarded as a high quality professional instrument and beloved of the Rascher school of taking things very seriously?
 

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Luckily the sound and content of different frequencies in it can be analysed by measuring instruments, not ears. Also, the resonance of objects is measurable by laser scanners. These things are measurable, it is not a matter of personal belief or any sort of black magic.

Provide data? For what? Everything I wrote are obvious claims or generaly known facts. If you do not know something does not constitute a duty for me to supoort what I said. On the other hand, if you do not agree with something I wrote, your must refute it yourself.
For idiophones (like the sort of percussion instrument you make by striking a saxophone with a pencil), the resonances of the metal tube matters.

However, for nearly all aerophones (i.e., with the exception of things like the kazoo or dizi), only the resonances of the air column itself matters. Other respondents have posted many links to this information in the thread (including in direct response to some of your posts), but here again is an easy-to-read overview of the relevant acoustics.
 

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However, for nearly all aerophones (i.e., with the exception of things like the kazoo or dizi), only the resonances of the air column itself matters.
So in your mind the sound cannot make a solid object to move?

Explain microphone then. Explain shattering glasses with sound. Have you ever played a saxophone near a piano??? Have you noticed that you can make the strings sound by the sound you make on YOUR saxophone? You can make even different instruments to play with sound of your instrument. Examples from real life are many.

You can try shouting into two boxes made from two different materials. The volume of air will be the same. So if what you wrote is correct, it should sound the same, right? TRY IT !
 

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I take it, then, that you did NOT read the clear and easy to understand summary of how woodwinds work, linked above?

Until you understand how they work, you're just saying a bunch of irrelevant stuff.
 

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So in your mind the sound cannot make a solid object to move?
I didn't say that.

Of course sound can make solid objects vibrate (including the walls of a saxophone). In fact, I earlier linked a paper that discussed exactly that phenomenon. However, as reported in that linked paper, the problem is that in woodwind instruments, the energy imparted to and then radiated from these walls is so small (i.e., 37 to 48 dB below the sound produced by the vibrating air column) as to make an insignificant contribution to the total sound.

In any event, it doesn't matter what is true "in my mind". We're talking about acoustics here and what physics has to say about it. Just read the acoustics summary that I linked above.
 

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Why do you think that the manufacturers bother with changing metal alloys, with hand hammering the bells or necks, with heat treatments, with changing ribbing on the instrument (for example Atelier 82Z Yamaha is half ribbed, they dropped ribs from the right hand stack) when all these things are not visible and directly are not marketable? All these things can only affect the sound of the instrument.

Changing metals or its surrface already visible and usable in communication is, so I cannot argue with that.
 

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Why do you think that the manufacturers bother with changing metal alloys, with hand hammering the bells or necks, with heat treatments, with changing ribbing on the instrument (for example Atelier 82Z Yamaha is half ribbed, they dropped ribs from the right hand stack) when all these things are not visible and directly are not marketable?
Not marketable? Are you kidding? Everything you have mentioned is actively marketed by one saxophone company or another. There's nothing instrument makers enjoy more than touting the mysterious benefits of obscure product features. They'll even boast about the geographic source of their brass, for god's sake.
 

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Manufacturers change alloys, configuration of keys, ribbed vs. non-ribbed and all the other things mentioned to do two things - 1) make the saxophone easier or cheaper to manufacture, and/or 2) create a marketing opportunity to sell more instruments. EDIT: I am sure that manufacturers also study the acoustic properties of their instruments and do make changes that influence the sound from time to time, but material and ribs and bell construction are not among these changes.

The only thing that matters to the sound of the horn is the dimensions of the air column inside it. Different metals will make the instrument more or less robust, easier or harder to manufacture, less or more expensive to manufacture, etc. Hand hammering just means that the bell is formed on a mandrel, and is the "old-school" way of making the bell. But the influence of these changes on the sound is vanishingly small - the only thing that will change the sound of the instrument is changing the dimensions of the tube.

These material things certainly influence the player - a well constructed instrument is a joy to play, and will help the musician create a better sound. But there will be no direct influence on the sound itself, except by the shape of the air column.

This is counter-intuitive to many people, but this has been studied and measured for many years by many people, and the conclusion is unmistakeable.
 

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Adolph Sax himself was even aware of the fact that material makes no difference in the sound, only the shape does.

But I love the fact there are so many different materials and finishes to choose from for aesthetic reasons.
 

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I'm a physicist with prior experience in acoustics and speaker design, and I while I understand the arguments about dimensions and shape of the air column dominating, I do think flutes and saxophones are very different. In a saxophone, there is a thin wall with a large surface area and not much structural support. Selective absorption and wall resonances can certainly come into play. Similar to speaker boxes, where the walls are usually a well-damped, thick material that one would think has no influence, in fact the cabinet walls do often resonate and it can impart a certain character to the sound. I have played a saxophone that was relacquered, before and after -- totally different overall tone character. I do not believe it was a difference in setup or leaks.

To this point, here is a comparison of different materials and finishes in the same model of saxophone, back to back. There are clear differences in the tone. Many of you will point to hidden variables like setup or manufacturing variations. There will never be agreement on this...but to me the attempts at scientific studies are still naive. The tonal character of each material/finish persists throughout the range of the horn, and I would say is distinctly identifiable in this example.

 

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Many of you will point to hidden variables like setup or manufacturing variations.
Yes, exactly. This is the parsimonious explanation given what we know both about the science and variances in manufacturing. Anyone who has tried more than one horn of the same model (made with the same material and in the same finish) will tell you that there are individual differences among different examples, which is why players insist on playtesting the particular horn that they will buy.

There will never be agreement on this...but to me the attempts at scientific studies are still naive.
But there is agreement, at least among acousticians studying this stuff! If you think the scientific studies are missing something, then design better ones.

Absent that evidence, you can believe whatever you want, but the existing acoustic science simply does not support it.
 

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Absent that evidence, you can believe whatever you want, but the existing acoustic science simply does not support it.
Certainly I believe in science :)

But, among the studies you cited, I did not see a scientific study of a saxophone, only other instruments which can be expected to behave differently. The other articles that mentioned saxes were not written by scientists. Further to this, in the Backus article, even for a thick-walled clarinet made of wood, the contribution of wall vibrations was -37 dB in some cases. If this were audio distortion, it would be very clearly audible, especially for harmonics beyond the 2nd harmonic. These higher harmonics are certainly there in force in the case of an instrument. I suspect that intensities from wall vibrations on a saxophone, especially for low notes, would be much stronger relative to the air column sound level than in a flute, clarinet, oboe, etc. But selective absorption by walls at certain frequencies can also play a role and was not addressed in the studies, only re-radiation of sound by walls (I admit I have not read carefully yet, which means I will probably uncover problems with the experimental techniques on a closer read). If I missed a reference, please point me to it... some of the links you included didn't work...
 

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Here's one thing to try.
  • Take a saxophone with an unlacquered body, adjust the instrument so that it plays well, and then make a test recording of it using an experienced player.
  • Then, take the keys completely off the instrument, and reassemble. Make a second recording of the same material, same player, same mouthpiece and reed.
  • Finally take the keys completely off the instrument, and add a coat of lacquer to it (quick drying). Reassemble, and make a 3rd recording, same player, same mouthpiece and reed.
  • Now do a frequency analysis of the results. See if there is a larger difference between the 2nd and 3rd test, than between the 1st and 2nd.
  • Ideally repeat this procedure with different horns, or at least the same horn on different days with different players. Maybe do it multiple times with the same player.
This kind of test will at least point us in one direction or another with regards to the effect of lacquer on the sound of a horn.

I for one would like to see the results of such a test.
 

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Here's one thing to try.
  • Take a saxophone with an unlacquered body, adjust the instrument so that it plays well, and then make a test recording of it using an experienced player.
  • Then, take the keys completely off the instrument, and reassemble. Make a second recording of the same material, same player, same mouthpiece and reed.
  • Finally take the keys completely off the instrument, and add a coat of lacquer to it (quick drying). Reassemble, and make a 3rd recording, same player, same mouthpiece and reed.
  • Now do a frequency analysis of the results. See if there is a larger difference between the 2nd and 3rd test, than between the 1st and 2nd.
  • Ideally repeat this procedure with different horns, or at least the same horn on different days with different players. Maybe do it multiple times with the same player.
This kind of test will at least point us in one direction or another with regards to the effect of lacquer on the sound of a horn.

I for one would like to see the results of such a test.
Check out Dave Pollack’s recent video where he covers his entire horn with tape, stickers, etc., all much thicker than lacquer. Zero audible difference.

The real studies have already been done. It’s been a known fact for at least 175 years. We’re really and truly beating a dead horse here.
 

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Check out Dave Pollack’s recent video where he covers his entire horn with tape, stickers, etc., all much thicker than lacquer. Zero audible difference.

The real studies have already been done. It’s been a known fact for at least 175 years. We’re really and truly beating a dead horse here.
I saw Dave's video as well, and was thinking of it when I posted as a counter-example that would be mentioned. Regarding variations within the same model, it would have been interesting to have multiple samples with the same finish to compare as well as different finishes in the Trevor James video I posted. The differences in tone are dramatic in the video, and consistent with the general qualities of these finishes I have heard in other demos of other makes. But we can't rule out hidden variables, of course.

If so many studies have been done for saxophones, can you provide some of the references that are merely alluded to? I am looking for something in the past half-century with real measurements and "sound" methodology, specifically for a saxophone. I know about results for other instruments such as organ pipes (admittedly surprising).

For example, I would be very surprised if a wooden saxophone sounds exactly like a brass saxophone of exactly the same internal shape and dimensions. There are wooden saxophones, and they sound very much like other wood instruments -- a bit clarinet-like.
 
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