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The physics of a saxophone



As an avid saxophonist myself, i have never really thought about how and why a saxophone worked as it does. However, after great thought and research, i have found that the sound produced is due to three main parts of the saxophone: the mouthpiece, the holes along the body of the saxophone and the bell. The most important part of creating a great sound is the mouthpiece. When the musician blows air into the mouthpiece, it causes the reed to oscillate between the mouthpiece being open and closed. This oscillation of the reed creates sound waves when i vibrates. The note created is based on the amount of holed closed by the musician, when more holes are closed it lengthens the sound wave and created a lower tone. When playing a alto saxophone with all the holes closed, it plays a Bb3 which has a wavelength of 25 inches (.635m) and speed of 344.5 m/s. By using the equation v=fλ we can find that the frequency of this note is 271 Hz. Finally, the part of the instrument that amplifies the sound is the bell. The bell disperses the sound waves into all directions to fill the room the saxophone is being played in. This gives it a bright sound and overall improves the music played.


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