I work at the intersection of physics and music through my Bass Connections project, “The Art and Craft of the Saxophone Mouthpiece.” We’re using the micro-CT scanner in SMiF to construct 3D-printed copies of vintage saxophone mouthpieces. Our goal is to record musicians playing the originals and copies so we can link the physical qualities of these mouthpieces to musician perspectives and auditory features. My primary role is the audio analysis, so I use Python to produce spectrograms and Fourier transforms of recorded audio files to then assess differences in mouthpiece quality by writing various mathematical functions.
The design of these mouthpieces is fantastic. As a saxophone player myself, having the opportunity to test them only draws me more into the mystery of what makes them special. In this way, STEAM work is important to me as a tool for enhancing the beauty of naturally emerging phenomena.