Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Music


Music - Woodwinds Performance

Research Sponsor

Dr. Todd A. Gaffke

First Reader

Dr. Kristina B. Jones

Second Reader

Ms. Cynthia Cioffari


Contemporary classical music often pushes the boundaries of how instruments should be played and what kinds of sounds they should produce. A great deal of contemporary music requires the player to utilize playing techniques that may seem very strange and difficult to those who are unfamiliar with them. These unusual practices, known as extended techniques, can include playing in extreme ranges, manipulating pitches in particular ways, and applying abnormal articulations. While once seen as a sort of novelty, these extended techniques are becoming increasingly essential to the contemporary musician. This is especially true of the saxophonist.

While nearly every other major instrument was developed gradually over extremely long periods of time, the saxophone was explicitly invented in 1841. As such, a relatively high percentage of saxophone literature was written in the twentieth century and beyond. It is this contemporary literature that frequently demands the use of the aforementioned extended techniques. It is crucial for the modern saxophonist to have at least a basic understanding of these techniques in order to approach much of this literature. This project discusses the implication of several extended techniques that commonly occur throughout the saxophone repertoire. The extended techniques covered include playing in the altissimo register, pitch bending, double tonguing, flutter tonguing, slap tonguing, growling, playing multiphonic pitches, and circular breathing.