Sam Newsome

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

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Four Ways I Discovered to Prepare the Soprano in 2016

In reflecting on things I've discovered on the horn--mainly while working on my new CD recording--here are four that I believe are worth mentioning. Mind you, these things aren't for everybody, but they certainly will no doubt take you into a new sonic realm.

1. Hanging chimes from the neck strap holder and responding to the randomness of the ringing of the chimes is a nice little self-contained sonic space that's fun to venture into. Oh yeah, the soprano starts to feel extremely heavily if you do it for a while. All I can say is keep your solos short.

2. Attaching aluminum foil to the bell of my instrument creates a nice buzzing texture when you play in the lower register. You might have to experiment with some different size foil, but it almost always works.

3, Creating a reed straw and using it as the vibrating source instead of the mouthpiece gives the soprano a nice double-reed sound. Again, it's not an exact science, so you'll need to experiment with some different size straws.

4.  Placing a piece of Scotch tape over the neck opening, puncturing small holes in the tape and placing the mouthpiece over it, creates a very unique resistance the only allows small bursts of air through the horn.  Again, creating an interesting folk instrument texture.

All of these are prominently demonstrated on my new CD Soprano-Ville. More news about this soon. All I can say is to look for an early February 2017 release.

Here's an excerpt from a performance I did at Spectrum on October 18, 2016, where I demonstrate the soprano and hanging chimes idea.



  1. Interesting ideas, Sam. Thanks! I'm looking forward to your new album.

  2. Thanks! We'll have to get together and try some things out!


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