Blog » 128-Tone Scale on Saxophone

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128-TONE SCALE ON SAXOPHONE (by Philipp Gerschlauer)

Philipp Gerschlauer demonstrates the 128 tone scale in the video below. When I saw it, I was blown away! 

Philipp Gerschlauer writes: “My quest was to explore microtonal possibilities on the alto saxophone. Johnny Reinhard introduced me to the eighth octave of the overtone series which divides it into 128 – unequally spaced – notes. The distance between each note at the bottom is around 13 Cents and at the top around 7 Cents. Read a more detailed essay I wrote for the “Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain” here: https://www.cassgb.org/features/post/128-note-octave/

Johnny Reinhard wrote an essay about this concept. Find „Eighth octave overtone tuning“ here: http://www.afmm.org/books.html.

Almost every of the 128 notes per octave has it’s own fingering. Nevertheless there is a „dead spot“ on the saxophone between the notes G and A. In this interval there is only a few possibilities for fingerings. It needs to be controlled by the embouchure. Indications of tones are transposed to Eb. 

This video is the result of a technical exercise. Practicing the 128 notes per octave resulted in finding out a greater number of fingerings and listing them. I have made a workbook about it. You can order your copy of my „Microtonal Fingering Chart for Alto Saxophone“ including around 650 fingerings here: [email protected].”

Philipp Gerschlauer plays a regular Selmer Super Balanced Action alto saxophone from 1951 (no high F# key).

ABOUT PHILIPP GERSCHLAUER

Philipp saw “Zoot” (the saxophone guy in the muppet show) when he was seven. And so he wanted to play saxophone and has been playing ever since. 

He studied saxophone first in Mainz (Steffen Weber, Thomas Bachmann), then in Berlin (Prof. Peter Weniger) and in New York City (Tony Moreno, Chris Potter). In his music he is dealing with microtonal possibilities in Jazz. (Watch “What I do” for further information). His main project is a band called “Besaxung” (www.besaxung.com). As a Sideman and leader he is playing with different bands in Germany and abroad.

For more info, visit Philipp‘s official Website: www.gerschlauermusic.com

Below a youtube of “Besaxung” where Philipp implements his 128-tone scale: 


FOOTNOTE FOR THE 432Hz FANS VISITING ROEL’S WORLD: The „Microtonal Fingering Chart for Alto Saxophone“ by Philipp Gerschlauer might be a solution for those saxophone players who would like to play in “432Hz”. Some of the tones generated with those alternate fingering are pretty close to the tone-pitches of the 432Hz tuning concept.


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