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Discussion Starter #1
I've heard it said a number of times that if you play a tenor mouthpiece without the neck, you're supposed to get a G. Do you guys get a G?

As you might guess, I'm asking because I tried it, and I don't get a G. I get a C#. This seems weird because in most other respects, my intonation is pretty good. Like, when I put the neck on and play mouthpiece-neck only, I get an E, which is what you're "supposed" to get, and I'm pretty well in tune generally. Why would I be so far off when I do mouthpiece only?

So ... anybody else have this "problem"? If so, what, if anything, did you do to fix it?
 

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Well, considering most people can get close to an octave on just the mouthpiece I don't see how you can say you're supposed to get a G.

I don't really ever have any issues tuning so I don't think I've ever consciously checked to see what the first note that pops out is. But often it's a little different (as much as a half step in either direction).

Mouthpiece exercises are fun (and super annoying sounding) though.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Don't the length of mouthpiece's vary?
How long is your mouthpiece?
Yes, you're right, of course: mouthpieces do vary in all sorts of ways, and maybe that accounts for the difference. However, I was under the impression that it should be expected that you get a G if you play with a "normal" embouchure regardless of mouthpiece style or make.

To answer your question, I am playing a Barone Super New York 7*, which is a Link-style mouthpiece with a large chamber and a rollover baffle. I have noticed that the "throat" of this particular is longer than most, but there is nothing particularly unusual about the SNY. (Other than its sound: it's really a great mouthpiece, IMO.)
 

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Yes, you're right, of course: mouthpieces do vary in all sorts of ways, and maybe that accounts for the difference. However, I was under the impression that it should be expected that you get a G if you play with a "normal" embouchure regardless of mouthpiece style or make.

To answer your question, I am playing a Barone Super New York 7*, which is a Link-style mouthpiece with a large chamber and a rollover baffle. I have noticed that the "throat" of this particular is longer than most, but there is nothing particularly unusual about the SNY. (Other than its sound: it's really a great mouthpiece, IMO.)
I'm no expert, but I guess the fundamental of a MP a frequency with wavelength roughly 4 x the length of the MP (roughly, because, seems to me a MP is a tube and a cone...)
My tenor MP is just over 10cm long - wave length of around 40cm - around A5-G5# according to https://pages.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html
And, I just checked, indeed, with a relaxed embouchure that's about what I get.
 

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The mouthpiece itself has no strong resonant frequency itself. The "tube" is too short. Therefore when playing the mouthpiece alone it is the embouchure and oral cavity of the player that determines the frequency of the reed's vibrations. Compare it to the saxophone playing altissimo. Using a fingering that weakens the natural resonant frequency of the "body tube" allows the player's oral cavity to take over and control the frequency of the reed's vibrations. This is why the "player" can vary the pitch as much as an octave on the mouthpiece alone. The mouthpiece has no say in the matter. :)

My understanding of the whole mouthpiece pitch concept attributed to Santy Runyon was to help correct the droves of clarinet players who were switching to saxophone during that era and trying to play the saxophone mouthpiece at the top of its pich the same way they played the clarinet. This, of course resulted in a pinched tone that was excessively sharp in the upper register. Santy's pitch target was to help them to play lower on the mouthpiece pitch to bring it closer to the center. I believe a good way to think of the A on alto and the G on tenor is that the mouthpiece pitch should be no higher than these pitches, but can be lower depending upon the style of playing and the sound the player is trying to achieve. Mellissa Hasbrook in her study comparing mouthpiece pitch of both classical and jazz players found that jazz players are often as much as a "tritone" lower than A on alto which puts the pitch at Eb.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm no expert, but I guess the fundamental of a MP a frequency with wavelength roughly 4 x the length of the MP (roughly, because, seems to me a MP is a tube and a cone...)
My tenor MP is just over 10cm long - wave length of around 40cm - around A5-G5# according to https://pages.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html
And, I just checked, indeed, with a relaxed embouchure that's about what I get.
Interesting, thanks. Given what you're saying, it would appear that maybe there is no single tone that all tenor mouthpieces should produce?

I've never measured the length of my mouthpiece, I'll have to see what that gives me.
 

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The mouthpiece itself has no strong resonant frequency itself. The "tube" is too short. Therefore when playing the mouthpiece alone it is the embouchure and oral cavity of the player that determines the frequency of the reed's vibrations. Compare it to the saxophone playing altissimo. Using a fingering that weakens the natural resonant frequency of the "body tube" allows the player's oral cavity to take over and control the frequency of the reed's vibrations. This is why the "player" can vary the pitch as much as an octave on the mouthpiece alone. The mouthpiece has no say in the matter. :)

My understanding of the whole mouthpiece pitch concept attributed to Santy Runyon was to help correct the droves of clarinet players who were switching to saxophone during that era and trying to play the saxophone mouthpiece at the top of its pich the same way they played the clarinet. This, of course resulted in a pinched tone that was excessively sharp in the upper register. Santy's pitch target was to help them to play lower on the mouthpiece pitch to bring it closer to the center. I believe a good way to think of the A on alto and the G on tenor is that the mouthpiece pitch should be no higher than these pitches, but can be lower depending upon the style of playing and the sound the player is trying to achieve. Mellissa Hasbrook in her study comparing mouthpiece pitch of both classical and jazz players found that jazz players are often as much as a "tritone" lower than A on alto which puts the pitch at Eb.
Good, because I get Eb on tenor mouthpiece only.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The mouthpiece itself has no strong resonant frequency itself. The "tube" is too short. Therefore when playing the mouthpiece alone it is the embouchure and oral cavity of the player that determines the frequency of the reed's vibrations. Compare it to the saxophone playing altissimo. Using a fingering that weakens the natural resonant frequency of the "body tube" allows the player's oral cavity to take over and control the frequency of the reed's vibrations. This is why the "player" can vary the pitch as much as an octave on the mouthpiece alone. The mouthpiece has no say in the matter. :)

My understanding of the whole mouthpiece pitch concept attributed to Santy Runyon was to help correct the droves of clarinet players who were switching to saxophone during that era and trying to play the saxophone mouthpiece at the top of its pich the same way they played the clarinet. This, of course resulted in a pinched tone that was excessively sharp in the upper register. Santy's pitch target was to help them to play lower on the mouthpiece pitch to bring it closer to the center. I believe a good way to think of the A on alto and the G on tenor is that the mouthpiece pitch should be no higher than these pitches, but can be lower depending upon the style of playing and the sound the player is trying to achieve. Mellissa Hasbrook in her study comparing mouthpiece pitch of both classical and jazz players found that jazz players are often as much as a "tritone" lower than A on alto which puts the pitch at Eb.
Thanks so much for this! You've put my mind at ease.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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So ... anybody else have this "problem"? If so, what, if anything, did you do to fix it?
I get an A. It's not a problem, well if it is then nobody has told the people who have paid me to play the tenor.

Don't the length of mouthpiece's vary?
Exactly
 

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If you can play in tune when the horn is put together who really cares? I get it. Focused airstream, tongue position, embouchure pressure, but yeah, you better get you mouthpiece only pitch up to snuff for all those goose call concerts.
 

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Interesting, thanks. Given what you're saying, it would appear that maybe there is no single tone that all tenor mouthpieces should produce?
I'm sure there's no "single tone" that anything, other than a tuning fork, should have :D
But all tubes / cones etc. have a fundamental - the lowest note possible to produce. However, as you see from the table link, as the note gets higher the difference in length between successive notes gets very small - a cm or less.. and the difference in length of 'tube' required to produce the note is one quarter of that again! (equally the lower the note, bigger the difference in wavelength - which is why the holes on the bell are spaced so far apart compared to at the top. Also think of the adjustment to the MP on the neck required to get in tune, around middle C, you need +/-cm to change a whole tone.) .... so, as saxoclese points out, its very easy to move between high notes with small changes.
For the life of me, I can't see why it should make much difference - once the MP is on the neck, on the horn, it's going to loose it's identity in this respect.
 

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I'm sure there's no "single tone" that anything, other than a tuning fork, should have :D
But all tubes / cones etc. have a fundamental - the lowest note possible to produce. However, as you see from the table link, as the note gets higher the difference in length between successive notes gets very small - a cm or less.. and the difference in length of 'tube' required to produce the note is one quarter of that again! (equally the lower the note, bigger the difference in wavelength - which is why the holes on the bell are spaced so far apart compared to at the top. Also think of the adjustment to the MP on the neck required to get in tune, around middle C, you need +/-cm to change a whole tone.) .... so, as saxoclese points out, its very easy to move between high notes with small changes.
For the life of me, I can't see why it should make much difference - once the MP is on the neck, on the horn, it's going to loose it's identity in this respect.
The "input pitch" of a reed woodwind is critical to how well it plays in tune. An easy way to prove this is to play with an embouchure so tight that going any tighter closes off the reed similar to the clarinet. Then pull the mouthpiece out to bring the instrument down to A=440 and check the tuning---especially the tuning of the octaves. This of course is the extreme, but in varying degrees what happens when the mouthpiece pitch is too high. The tone suffers, but so does the intonation.
 

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There’s a large school of belief that G, A, and D are the proper mouthpiece only pitches for tenor, alto, and baritone respectively. There are several articles and lots of previous sotw threads on the topic.
Are you guys talking about concert pitch? I assume so.

On tenor with the mpc only, I get a G concert, but with very little effort the pitch is easily altered to vary widely.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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As mentioned I get an A. So what? I wonder does it make me a bad player? Am I going to change after all these years?

Yes , this whole mouthpiece pitch thing is taken way too seriously (Yes I know I'm also guilty of promoting this concept).

But please, don't get hung up on it everyone. Mouthpieces are different.

Mouthpiece exercises can be useful, but all that matters is what you sound like in real life, ie with the mouthpiece on the horn.

I'm worried that somebody might spend loads of time trying to get the mouthpiece on its own to be G as if that is some magic potion to achieve greatness, when all along their time would be better spent just playing and practising the saxophone.
 

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What about mouthpiece with neck?
Past year I was doing a brief teaching job substituting an injured sax player in a music school, and he had his students warming with mouthpiece and neck. Almost all of them sounded a concert Ab. When i try myself i go higher than that, i assume i am biting a bit.
Talking alto. Is that correct? Mouthpiece and neck have to produce an Ab?
 

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Almost all of them sounded a concert Ab. When i try myself i go higher than that, i assume i am biting a bit.
You cannot play the saxophone without biting somewhat.


Talking alto. Is that correct? Mouthpiece and neck have to produce an Ab?
No, it may vary depending on the instrument.

All that matters is that when you add the saxophone body to the neck, and play a note, what comes out is very similar to the note that is expected.
 

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As mentioned I get an A. So what? I wonder does it make me a bad player? Am I going to change after all these years?

Yes , this whole mouthpiece pitch thing is taken way too seriously (Yes I know I'm also guilty of promoting this concept).

But please, don't get hung up on it everyone. Mouthpieces are different.

Mouthpiece exercises can be useful, but all that matters is what you sound like in real life, ie with the mouthpiece on the horn.

I'm worried that somebody might spend loads of time trying to get the mouthpiece on its own to be G as if that is some magic potion to achieve greatness, when all along their time would be better spent just playing and practising the saxophone.
+1. It never occurred to me to check pitch on the mpc alone until I saw something about it on here. I kind of put this in the same category as 'where should my tongue be?' or 'swallow the mpc', etc.

But I'm still curious, Pete are you talking about getting a concert A, or the 'tenor A' (concert G). Not that it really matters :)

I generally assume people are talking in concert pitch, but have found that's not always a good assumption on a saxophone site.
 
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