Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Music

First Advisor

Clifford Leaman


Wind instrument pedagogy has historically been limited by the inability to collect quantitative data on the relationships and impact of different elements of tone production. This study collected and analyzed data on three of the fundamental components of saxophone tone production: embouchure pressure, air velocity, and air direction. The results help build a better understanding of the inner workings of producing a characteristic saxophone sound.

Six classical alto saxophone players completed a variety of exercises to isolate and measure each of these components. The data was collected using a force-sensitive resistor and a pitot tube, each connected to an Arduino microcontroller.

The collected data reinforced some of the most commonly discussed fundamental beliefs about the way a player’s embouchure and air use affect the production of tone, while providing some surprising insights into the varying approaches possible on the instrument.