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Hello.

This is a strange request. But, I am interested in doing a real time MRI video recording of myself playing a saxophone. Of course the problem is that there can be no metal in the machine. This has been done with brass players by using a long tube to connect the plastic mouthpiece to the horn which is outside the machine.

I'm aware of the Vibrato sax. It still has metal screws and springs.

Does anyone know of a fully plastic sax? I could also use a keyless, plastic body tube with no holes. At least I would be able to play overtones.

The goal would be to show what happens with the tongue and throat while playing overtones, bending pitches, and articulating. Worst case, I could just use a mouthpiece. But, if I'm able to arrange this, it would be great to play a horn, or at least a body tube.

Thanks very much!

Sam
 

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*engineer hat on* just put a sax mouthpiece on a plastic trombone..... You won't get one made with plastic screws and springs, the cost to design and 3d print it would be astronomical and likely wouldn't function properly to begin with.
 

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*engineer hat on* just put a sax mouthpiece on a plastic trombone..... You won't get one made with plastic screws and springs, the cost to design and 3d print it would be astronomical and likely wouldn't function properly to begin with.
Good points. I'll have to try a sax MP on a brass instrument. On tenor and alto, I can control the overtones pretty well up to about the ninth partial. I don't know if I could do that on a cylindrical brass instrument. But, it may be the only way.

Thanks!
 

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Hello.

This is a strange request. But, I am interested in doing a real time MRI video recording of myself playing a saxophone. Of course the problem is that there can be no metal in the machine. This has been done with brass players by using a long tube to connect the plastic mouthpiece to the horn which is outside the machine.

I'm aware of the Vibrato sax. It still has metal screws and springs.

Does anyone know of a fully plastic sax? I could also use a keyless, plastic body tube with no holes. At least I would be able to play overtones.

The goal would be to show what happens with the tongue and throat while playing overtones, bending pitches, and articulating. Worst case, I could just use a mouthpiece. But, if I'm able to arrange this, it would be great to play a horn, or at least a body tube.

Thanks very much!

Sam

Isn't Vibrato Sax fully plastic?
 

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Good points. I'll have to try a sax MP on a brass instrument. On tenor and alto, I can control the overtones pretty well up to about the ninth partial. I don't know if I could do that on a cylindrical brass instrument. But, it may be the only way.

Thanks!
you can probably find a cheap plastic bugle and use that, but the cylindrical instruments like a trombone have more back pressure so it's usually a lot easier. It at least is for me with range on trombone vs on euphonium
 

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“Scientist hat on” - unless you develop proficiency on the surrogate instrument, the brain will not respond in the manner as when you play the saxophone (assuming proficiency on the saxophone). That’s an expensive experiment to not do well.
 

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Vibratosax has ferrous screws and springs and ( even inside the rods there are metal parts)made of metal and couldn’t be any different). Especially springs they have a mix of coil and tension springs.

By the way replacing these lever “ needle” springs would be one of the most complicated hurdles because they are melted in the plastic. Even Guo flutes ( made of a plastic composite) have metal springs



View attachment 239630

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“Scientist hat on” - unless you develop proficiency on the surrogate instrument, the brain will not respond in the manner as when you play the saxophone (assuming proficiency on the saxophone). That’s an expensive experiment to not do well.
Yes, exactly. I feel proficiant with overtones and pitch bending on the saxophone. I have an old trumpet in the basement. I'll get some tubing, hook it up to an alto mouthpiece and see what happens. There would still be some value in seeing what happens when tonguing and pitch bending just on the mouthpiece.
 

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Yes, exactly. I feel proficiant with overtones and pitch bending on the saxophone. I have an old trumpet in the basement. I'll get some tubing, hook it up to an alto mouthpiece and see what happens. There would still be some value in seeing what happens when tonguing and pitch bending just on the mouthpiece.
Are you aware of a study and several endoscopic films about sound emission? I have quoted this before several times

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10442758

you find the films here

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

this is about altissimo

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

“.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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Discussion Starter #12
Are you aware of a study and several endoscopic films about sound emission? I have quoted this before several times

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10442758

you find the films here

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

this is about altissimo

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

Hello. Yes I recall finding this a few years ago. IMHO, it still does not show what really happens with the tongue as well as the real time MRIs I have seen with singers and brass players. In fact, some of the conclusions reached contradict my own intuitions about what really happens. Statements such as, "The tongue arches farther forward in the mouth as the pitch descends..." and "The tongue drops back and flattens for the pitches in the altissimo register..." seem to be backwards from the way it feels for me and from what seems to haved woked for many students. Those statements seem to be refering to the back of the tongue. Wheras, my approach is to focus attention on the middle and front of the tongue where we have more conscious control (as in whistling). The resulting changes in the back of the tongue and throat should be unconscious. Again, IMHO, trying to exert much conscious control of those areas just introduces tension. Something any Joe Allard disciple would preach against.
 

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well if the scope of your research (is it a research or simple curiosity?) is overtone you (and you obiously have access to a MRI? In my part of the world this would be nearly impossible because they are continuously almost fully booked and we don’t have many in private hospitals like in other countries such as Italy) you could have a 3D printed ( keyless ? for overtones) saxophone.
This guy does something like that, maybe you can join forces.

( he talks in the video of few years ago of a couple of months for the next version but that never came about)


This is a brass keyless sax (you can have rather easily one 3D printed)

 

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well if the scope of your research (is it a research or simple curiosity?) is overtone you (and you obiously have access to a MRI? In my part of the world this would be nearly impossible because they are continuously almost fully booked and we don’t have many in private hospitals like in other countries such as Italy) you could have a 3D printed ( keyless ? for overtones) saxophone.
This guy does something like that, maybe you can join forces.

( he talks in the video of few years ago of a couple of months for the next version but that never came about)


This is a brass keyless sax (you can have rather easily one 3D printed)

Not many materials suitable for replacing the screws and springs without extreme cost for re-engineering. Keyless is a great idea! Maybe go slide saxophone to get some additional flexibility.

If you have access to a very large 3D printer through some engineering dept, it might be possible to print that, but not many printers that large outside of a fabrication shop.
 

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...

If you have access to a very large 3D printer through some engineering dept, it might be possible to print that, but not many printers that large outside of a fabrication shop.
Might be possible to find accessible large scale 3D printers in shared maker spaces. I’m not directly acquainted with their tooling but I know of such spaces in Boston or SF Bay areas that you might check out if you are in those areas.

Another thought is to print sections at whatever scale you can get and then glue them together to assemble the final instrument. That should suffice for the desired purpose I’d expect.

Good luck! Will be interesting to hear your results.
 

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Not sure if you are still looking, but what about a 3D printed mini-sax?

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3290629

It’s open holed and the fingerings are a bit more recorder than sax, but the mouthpiece is pretty similar to an actual sax and it works with regular reeds. No metal needed.

There’s also pocket saxophones that are very similar for sale (again, all plastic). Found some on eBay new for about $12 while looking for a white elephant gift.
 

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Also coming late to this party with my science hat on...

MRIs react to magnetic materials. Brass is not a magnetic material, so a steel spring/rod free brass tonehole free overtone sax might be considered safe in an MRI. You would want to get a professional opinion on that before getting near an MRI with one, but Brass, Titanium, Ceramics and some Stainless materials are all used as MRI safe tool materials.

On the other hand would a brass tube act as a conductive coil and potentially heat up in the magnetic field? Not sure about that one, but Im guessing that if you can wear a gold wedding ring and that doesnt heat up then the same physics would apply to a brass tube...
 

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I've been an MRI Technologist for over 20 years. I can probably help with answering some of your questions.

My first question for you is, what type of MR scanner will you be using? Is it a high field closed bore magnet (1.5T or 3.0T field strength), or a low field open bore magnet (typically around 0.25T). These exhibit quite a difference in magnetic pull and the image quality for relatively smaller parts of anatomy isn't greatly affected. Even in a higher field magnet small screws and springs aren't going to rip out of the horn or pull the horn from your hands or anything like that. I scan people all the time with rings on their fingers, stud earings in their ears, gallbladder clips, rivets in their blue jeans etc. The bigger issue that I would have is that any screws or metal of any kind around your mouth and neck area, which is the area that would be imaged, would have significant artifact. Any metal at all, even if it is a non-ferrous (not magnetic) metal, like brass or aluminum will still throw a pretty significant artifact in your images, rendering them virtually unreadable. The mouthpiece, reed and lig would be easy to work with, but the neck of the horn and the upper portion of the body tube is going to be directly in the area of your mouth and throat.
 

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Why not use flouroscopy with esophotrast or gastrograffin? That should give you pretty good imaging of the tongue surface and its relation to the roof of the mouth. You could use your own instrument. I do not think the above agents would do much harm to the horn. You could immediately wash them out.
 

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The Yamaha Venova might be a candidate. They make an alto version that uses an alto sax mouthpiece. While it is a not exactly a traditional sax, the way you play it is the same.
 
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