Hofmann, Alex; Goebl, Werner; Weilguni, Michael; Mayer, Alexander, and Smetana, Walter (2012) "Measuring tongue and finger coordination in saxophone performance," in 12th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC) and 8th Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM), edited by Emilios Cambouropoulos and Costas Tsougras and Panayotis Mavromatis and Costas Pastiadis (Aristotle University Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece) p. 442-445.
Abstract: When playing wind instruments the fingers of the two hands have to be coordinated together with the tongue. In this study, we aim to investigate the interaction between finger and tongue movements in portato playing. Saxophone students played on a sensor-equipped alto saxophone. Force sensors attached to 3 saxophone keys measured finger forces of the left hand; a strain gauge glued onto a synthetic saxophone reed measured the reed bending. Participants performed a 24-tone melody in three tempo conditions timed by a metronome in a synchronization-continuation paradigm. Distinct landmarks were identified in the sensor data: A tongue-reed contact (TRC) occurred when the reed vibration was stopped by the tongue, a tongue-reed release (TRR) at the beginning of next tone, and in the finger force data a key-bottom contact (KB) at the end of the key motion. The tongue-reed contact duration (from TRC to TRR) was 34.5 ms on average (SD = 5.84) independently of tempo condition. Timing accuracy and precision was determined from consecutive TRRs. We contrasted tones that required only tongue impulses for onset timing to those that required also finger movements. Timing accuracy was better for combined tongue-finger actions than for tongued timing only. This suggests that finger movements support timing accuracy in saxophone playing.
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Aristotle University Thessaloniki
Emilios Cambouropoulos and Costas Tsougras and Panayotis Mavromatis and Costas Pastiadis