Sam Newsome

Sam Newsome
"The potential for the saxophone is unlimited." - Steve Lacy

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pre-Multiphonic Training

I sometimes get asked questions about fingerings I use to play multi-phonics on the soprano. Using the correct fingerings is only a part of the process. It’s a combination of breath support, cross fingerings, and oral cavity manipulation.

The exercise below is from an excellent book by Ronald L. Caravan, Extended Techniques & Etudes in Contemporary Saxophone; it sets the stage for playing multi-phonics as well as microtonal fingerings. The exercise itself doesn’t sound very good, but it’s a great way to gain the control you'll need to play multi-phonics and other extended techniques.


  1. Hi Sam

    I saw this book in PDF form but one thing I didn't understand from his fingering charts is the little 'T' which you clearly see here. As Caravan (strange name) mentions these exercises are to be done with the octave key pressed, so why the 'T'? When you get to the second line - F, F# - it says normal fingering and then a 'T' again, yet the first fingering (if with an octave key) would also have the 'T' .... if you follow me?

    I have a version with a different text preceding the exercises also.

    Best - Joe

  2. Hi Joe,
    Sorry for getting back to you so late. Life got in the way.

    But when he says fundamental register tones with octave pressed, he's referring to, for example, playing the fingering for the F# second octave, but through oral cavity adjustments making it sound an octave below as F# first octave. So even though the notes are moving chromatically, what's happening with your embouchure and oral cavity is very different between the adjacent half steps. Let me know if this helps. Thanks - S

  3. Hi Sam

    Thanks. Actually I suddenly realized a few minutes after leaving the message. I'm already well on my way with these studies.

    Big thanks - Joe


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