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Andrew Allen

The True History of Saxophone Vibrato

Today, vibrato is an integral component of the saxophone sound. However, this has not always been the case, universally. Common knowledge suggests that Marcel Mule applied vibrato to his own playing sometime in 1927, leading many other classical performers to adopt the practice. However, evidence now offers a clearer picture of earlier saxophone soloists and their approach to the instrument, leading to a much fuller and richer understanding of the use of vibrato in the early history of concert saxophone performance.


Andrew J. Allen is assistant professor of music at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. He has performed throughout the United States and Europe. In addition, his writings have appeared in The Instrumentalist, The Saxophone Symposium and many other publications. Allen currently serves as editor of The NACWPI Journal. He holds degrees from Tennessee Tech University, Central Michigan University and the University of South Carolina where he studied with Phil Barham, John Nichol and Clifford Leaman. He has undertaken additional study with Joseph Lulloff, Claude Delangle, Arno Bornkamp and Vincent David, among others. Allen is a Conn-Selmer artist-clinician and performs exclusively on Selmer Paris saxophones.