An ultrasonographic observation of saxophonists' tongue positions while producing front F pitch bends

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Description

Voicing, as it pertains to saxophone pedagogy, presents certain obstacles to both teachers and students simply because we cannot visually assess the internal mechanics of the vocal tract. The teacher

Voicing, as it pertains to saxophone pedagogy, presents certain obstacles to both teachers and students simply because we cannot visually assess the internal mechanics of the vocal tract. The teacher is then left to instruct based on subjective “feel” which can lead to conflicting instruction, and in some cases, misinformation. In an effort to expand the understanding and pedagogical resources available, ten subjects—comprised of graduate-level and professional-level saxophonists—performed varied pitch bend tasks while their tongue motion was imaged ultrasonographically and recorded. Tongue range of motion was measured from midsagittal tongue contours extracted from the ultrasound data using a superimposed polar grid. The results indicate variations in how saxophonists shape their tongues in order to produce pitch bends from F6.