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Accessories Anyone play overtones on their Sax Neck?

jbtsax

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I have seen that video before, but it didn't occur to me what pitches the harmonics played on the neck consist of. The typical harmonic series is: octave, fifth, fourth, third, etc. The graph below shows the notes that are the closest to those played in the video. All are slightly out of tune including the "fundamental"---a slightly sharp Ab concert. This raises the question as to why the harmonics on the mouthpiece and neck are too wide.

1592145037269.jpeg
 
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CliveMA

CliveMA

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I have seen that video before, but it didn't occur to me what pitches the harmonics played on the neck consist of. The typical harmonic series is: octave, fifth, fourth, third, etc. The graph below shows the notes that are the closest to those played in the video. All are slightly out of tune including the "fundamental"---a slightly sharp Ab concert. This raises the question as to why the harmonics on the mouthpiece and neck are too wide.

View attachment 14783
Have you tried to replicate on your own Sax?
 

just saxes

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Has anyone tried playing overtones on their sax neck? It is claimed that easier overtones on the neck makes it easier to get altissimo on the sax. Do you agree?

View: https://youtu.be/YzED4y58_9g
I hadn't seen this clip before and dug it. The difference in harmonics was definitely interesting. There is another factor in how harmonics voice in different altissimo voicings: the toneholes of the critical venting sites for each fingering. Differences in the chimneys, toneholes and placement will alter how the harmonics voiced by opening, closing, or muffling those toneholes speak and sound.


I have seen that video before, but it didn't occur to me what pitches the harmonics played on the neck consist of. The typical harmonic series is: octave, fifth, fourth, third, etc. The graph below shows the notes that are the closest to those played in the video. All are slightly out of tune including the "fundamental"---a slightly sharp Ab concert. This raises the question as to why the harmonics on the mouthpiece and neck are too wide.

View attachment 14783
Could the difference you're hearing be an issue of tempered scale vs just scale? The way overtones work (at least the way it was explained to me) is that the reed acts as a string, with each successive ascending note being a rational division rather than the ones in use for the tempered scale. I am really asking (to all), and don't know the answer to this question, but it seems like it would be high on the Occam's Razor solution list.
 

just saxes

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Not exactly the same subject, and you two have probably already seen this, too, but it seems like this ought to be on this thread somewhere, based on why people will land on it in the future (months or years from now):
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1d3ACFPGzU


I love John Tench's content, by the way.

John Tench, if you see this, your content is awesomeness.
 
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CliveMA

CliveMA

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Not exactly the same subject, and you two have probably already seen this, too, but it seems like this ought to be on this thread somewhere, based on why people will land on it in the future (months or years from now):
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1d3ACFPGzU


I love John Tench's content, by the way.

John Tench, if you see this, your content is awesomeness.
Only famous people could do that with a neck in a store. ;)
 

just saxes

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Only famous people could do that with a neck in a store. ;)
Well...then, in my op, in every store one, especially yourself, ought to be regarded as famous. lol

Very embarrassed right now! For years I've misremembered John Tendy's name as John Tench, which until now I never realized is an extremely unforunate brainfart!

John TENDY.

In my defense, I put "john tench choosing a saxophone neck" in the Youtube searchbar and it came right up.
 

Zugzwang

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… I’m sure if you ask (or even if I ask) nicely, the kind Moderators can fix the accidental Tendy to Tench in your first post…
 

jbtsax

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I hadn't seen this clip before and dug it. The difference in harmonics was definitely interesting. There is another factor in how harmonics voice in different altissimo voicings: the toneholes of the critical venting sites for each fingering. Differences in the chimneys, toneholes and placement will alter how the harmonics voiced by opening, closing, or muffling those toneholes speak and sound.
That is my understanding as well. The "interior geometry" of a saxophone determines the "harmonicity" of each individual note as well as the instrument as a whole. This study: Some Aspects of Tuning and Clean Intonation in Reed Instruments provides a lot of information on this topic.
Could the difference you're hearing be an issue of tempered scale vs just scale? The way overtones work (at least the way it was explained to me) is that the reed acts as a string, with each successive ascending note being a rational division rather than the ones in use for the tempered scale. I am really asking (to all), and don't know the answer to this question, but it seems like it would be high on the Occam's Razor solution list.
The difference in pitches between the "just" and "tempered" scales and harmony is very slight by comparison and measured in cents. The difference in the played harmonics on the neck in the demonstration and the natural harmonic series is much greater equaling a whole step and a half step.

The vibrations in a standing wave inside a saxophone can be compared to a vibrating string that vibrates its entire length, half its length, one third its length, one fourth its length etc. at the same time. The length of the tube including the "missing cone" has a "natural resonant frequency". This natural resonant frequency of the tube causes the reed to vibrate at the same frequency. This changes from one note to the next.

Of course this is an oversimplification since the player by means of the embouchure, oral cavity, and air stream can change the pitch to a certain degree. As the tube gets shorter and shorter, the "natural resonant frequency" becomes weaker giving the player even more control of the pitch. This is why an accomplished player can lower the pitch of palm D as much as a third just by making changes in the voicing. Each tone played on a saxophone contains all of the notes of the harmonic series built upon that fundamental. By means of changing the voicing the player can cause one or more harmonics to predominate over the others.

Another factor about which I admit I have very little understanding is how the interior geometry and design of the mouthpiece also has a large effect upon the number and strengths of the "overtones" present in the sound waves.
 
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just saxes

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The role of the player's body is really interesting. It's always interesting to see where different players, especially better players, tune. Usually the better the player is, the further in they tune (relative to others, on the same mouthpiece), but not always. Thanks for that thorough answer.

RE toneholes, I also ran some experiments re...what do I call him..."the Phantom of the Benade Opera?"

Anyway, I forget how I went about it, but there was a recommendation, widely distributed through internet forum posts about altering the volume of toneholes -- encouraging it, I think -- specificially about palm key toneholes. This was at least 10 years ago. I forget, now, exactly what the suggestion was, but I discarded it after running some experiments of it on my own. The idea was correct, I remember: whatever altering the volume of the tonehole was supposed to do, it at least somewhat did, but it also threw the intonation of several other notes behind it, and the whole experience of playing the horn out of whack (this was done in a reversible experiment -- nobody inherited a horn that suffered permanent damage from that dead end).
 

just saxes

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… I’m sure if you ask (or even if I ask) nicely, the kind Moderators can fix the accidental Tendy to Tench in your first post…
OMG. The decadence of it all.... :D

That would be great if it can be done! I'm also OK with it as is, with one last statement of regrets to John Tendy (whom I don't know and have never met, to my knowledge, though I dig the playing of his I've heard and his clip about tuning slightly sharp comes back to me every time I put the mouthpiece on my tenor).
 

jbtsax

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RE toneholes. This is what I have found in my research on woodwind acoustics.

Open toneholes that vent a given note
From "Acoustical Aspects of Woodwind Instruments" Nederveen: To effect a change in pitch of 10 cents requires a 1% change to the (acoustical) top of the instrument, a 10% hole diameter change, or a 20% hole length (height) change. For example to lower the pitch of a sharp palm key D one would need to add a cork "crescent" to the upper edge of the tonehole that adds 1% to the distance to the (acoustical) top of the instrument. If the "crescent" had a similar effect as reducing the hole diameter 10% at the same time, the pitch would be 20 cents lower. Curt Altarac at Music Medic has done considerable work using crescents in toneholes for pitch corrections.

Closed toneholes effect upon notes vented farther down the body
From "Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics" Benade: As can be seen in the illustration there is a mathematical formula to calculate the approximate effect upon the "body tube" of each closed tone hole or series of closed toneholes. The effect of the "crescent" mentioned above would be a reduction of the value of "b" in the equation. It is obvious that theoretically this effect would be quite small, perhaps even imperceptible.

1592769042287.jpeg
 

Nikki

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Yes I could play songs on my alto mouthpiece and neck piece . Easily. It’s something I did if I didn’t want to take my whole saxophone out; waiting for bus etc.
 

jbtsax

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I can only do that if I cup my hand near the opening and change pitches by opening and closing my fist---probably enough notes to play Mary Had a Little Lamb. Do you have a different way?
 

Morph

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That's interesting, I've never tried this before.

On tenor I got a concert E and F# (so a ninth alto), it took me a few minutes of practice to get it though... it's does feel similar to playing altissimo!
 

just saxes

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I can only do that if I cup my hand near the opening and change pitches by opening and closing my fist---probably enough notes to play Mary Had a Little Lamb. Do you have a different way?
When a beginner (I am still a beginner, IMO, but a real beginner, like can't play the whole range of a healthy horn, yet, beginner) I used to play the mouthpiece driving around NYC. There weren't a lot of options for places to practice without killing a neighbor.

It was a GREAT exercise for tone production. I played much harder set-ups (e.g. 7* Links with #3 and #3.5) after that process than now.

It's been a minute, but I believe the range without hands was at least an octave. With hands, especially low note range was expanded by another 4th or 5th at least? I really can't remember and am out of practice so I would probably do worse now.

The mouthpiece by itself is extremely loud. I had a Honda Accord back then and in NYC traffic cabbies used to flip out when I would play "Happy Birthday" and the "Lullabye and Goodnight" melodies to them.
 

jbtsax

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When playing the mouthpiece alone the shank of the mouthpiece is the "tube". It is much too short to have a strong natural resonant frequency of its own which allows the oral cavity to control the reed's vibrations. Once the mouthpiece is put on the neck, that changes and the range of pitches the player can produce is greatly limited.

On the complete saxophone, research by Gary Scavone has shown that the pitch of notes A2 and higher can be controlled to a degree by the player's use of the oral cavity. Below an A the oral cavity has some effect upon the timbre of the notes, but changes in pitch must be done by changing the pressure on the reed by the lower lip.
 
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