What is a saxophone?

What is a saxophone? A question as old as time, yet no one has truly discovered the answer. It is remarked that Socrates was the first to raise The Great Question of saxophoneity.

400 BC: Socrates ponders The Great Question– what is a saxophone?

However, it was Plato who made the first outstanding breakthrough on The Great Question: both everything and nothing is a saxophone! In fact, the essence of saxophoneity is so intangible that it is essentially tangible. Plato was unsure what to make of this breakthrough. Overcome with grief, he died soon after his discovery, discontent never knowing the truth.

350 BC: Plato discovers his famous breakthrough on The Great Question

With Plato’s death, The Great Question was put to rest… until the 21st century, when the DUMB Saxophones dared ponder its vast mystery once more. After years of blood, sweat, and tears, the DUMB Saxes discovered the answer…


2016: this is a saxophone!

2017: these are saxophones, too!!

2016: amazing– this is also a saxophone!

Who knew saxophones could grow so tall?

The truth comes out: Duke Men’s Basketball team is actually made up of saxophones

2017: The Saxes take on the Quick Lane Bowl!


The Answer Discovered

With the answer to The Great Question in hand, the DUMB Saxophones have reached heights previously thought unattainable by saxophone. Before every halftime show, the saxes shout The Answer, like it is a battle cry of strength:

“This is a saxophone!”

It is rumored that this cry can be heard across North America. No word from South America yet, though. The strength of their knowledge has allowed them to absolutely slay at football games, jam like no one’s watching at basketball games, and win the Gross Cup for two consecutive years.

2016: saxes win the Gross Cup!

2017: saxes win the Gross Cup for the second year in a row!

Join Us! 

We are always looking for new members! As Aristotle once said, “Quantity is better than quality.”  If you are curious about how to join these glorious ranks, you may contact our section leaders via email or on Facebook.

Connor Vasu ’19 (

Matt Sanders ’19 (

Legend of the Saxophones

Long, long ago, there was but one saxophone in DUMB. One, single, lonely saxophone. No one knows why he was left alone by his saxmates. But he was. His name is Kevin. But Kevin was never destined to be alone. Kevin was destined to have a pack. He began with a small group, only 5 or 6 others of his kind – the legendary saxophones.

From this small pack, the saxophones have only grown, both in number and in talent. Their ranks now stand among the largest of any group in DUMB. Tenors, altos, and an occasional sighting of the baris. There are many legends surrounding the saxophones; however, in keeping with their aura of perpetual mystery, none of the saxes have confirmed or denied said rumors. It is said that they all take their linear algebra exams in black pen. Other say that the producers of the movie ‘300’ asked the saxophones to play the part of the Spartans; however, director Michael Mann said they were inhumanly intimidating for the roles. Several incidences of people beginning to speak in tongues the first time they come in contact with a DUMB sax have also been reported.

Though the legends of the saxophones are many and marvelous, perhaps the most famous legend is the one that takes place during halftime at Duke football games. Though all in attendance at the football games know that they are witnessing greatness, only the few who are able to keep their wits in the presences of the saxophones’ radiance can tell you that all the members of the section unleashed their inner Epic Sax Guy at the same time. Nothing of the kind can be found anywhere else in the world.


The myth of Saxsquatch, although especially well known in modern pop culture, traces its roots far back into traditional musical folklore and is often subject to lively debate. Many believe that the Saxsquatch is actually derived from the northwest Amerindian oral tradition of legendary wildmen/beasts that lived in the forest. Although local variations existed long before a common name, most were suspected to commit nefarious acts ranging from cacophonous rasping wails in the depth of night all the way to carrying off young children and teaching them to play saxophone.

Other theories point to the origin of the saxophone instrument itself. The Saxsquatch as a single entity was not coined or widespread until the 1900′s, suggesting that the Saxsquatch proper may coincide with the relatively recent development of the hybrid woodwind/brass contraption designed by Adolphe Sax in 1846. After many years of toil working to improve instrument design, Sax passed away in 1894, hardly recognized partially due to the constant conflict of rival instrument makers attacking the legitimacy of his patent designs. Adherents to the Sax theory purpose that the Saxsquatch is indeed the ghost of Aldolphe Sax himself, a tormented soul constantly at unrest due to his miserable failure to fulfill his original desire of creating an instrument that was both powerful and elegant. If this explanation is truly the case, it is unlikely that the tragic fate of Sax shall ever be resolved due to the lack of living saxophone players for Sax’s soul to occupy.

One of the most famous alleged sightings of the Saxsquatch.

One of the most famous alleged sightings of the Saxsquatch.

Taking a more global perspective, the final theory of the Saxsquatch draws from the rich Himalayan legends of the Clarinyeti, which span several centuries in the local indigenous cultures. Many suppose that the Saxsquatch may actually be a North American descendent of the Clarinyeti, although every bit as elusive and possibly even fewer in number.

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