Individual Throat Shape and our Saxophone Sound


My son used to always have a hard time breathing. We could always hear him struggling to breathe when he slept. This manifested as both snoring and a general sound of struggling to get air. After a couple doctor visits it was determined that his adenoids and tonsils were blocking his windpipes, so with a simple surgery we had them removed. The doctors stated that his tonsils and adenoids were the largest they had ever seen in a child, and definitely were impeding his ability to breath.

I am happy to say my son’s breathing has improved dramatically. This was welcome by him greatly, however, another interesting thing happened. The pitch of his normal speaking voice changed. He literally sounds different now. Previously he had quite a deep and throaty voice. Now he has a higher pitched voice that sounds more like the normal voice of a six year old child.

Obviously, the change in the shape of my son’s throat affected the way air travels through his throat and ultimately forms airwaves that present themselves as sound.

In a similar way each individuals individual throat shape affects the way they sound on their saxophone. In fact, a musician’s individual sound seems to be a combination of their uniquely shape d throat along with their embouchure shape and the chamber/throat/baffle of a mouthpiece. This is why different people sound different on the same mouthpiece and saxophone. This is also why I believe some players sound very bright on an otherwise dark mouthpiece, and others sound very dark on an otherwise dark mouthpiece.

Maybe the next step to saxophone mouthpiece design is for me to become an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) surgeon?!?!?! Ha ha

Blessings, Theo Wanne



2 Responses to “Individual Throat Shape and our Saxophone Sound”

  1. deniss pashkevich Says:

    Wow !
    Yes Sir . Thank You for good Theory.

  2. Vic Says:

    “Maybe the next step to saxophone mouthpiece design is for me to become an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) surgeon?!?!?! Ha ha”

    Don’t laugh man, some people are crazy enough to want surgery to get a better sound instead of practicing! 😉

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