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Publication Date



UM campus only

Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Instrumental Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Thomas Sleeper

Second Committee Member

Gary Keller

Third Committee Member

Dale Underwood

Fourth Committee Member

Dennis Kam

Fifth Committee Member

Whitney Sidener


The purpose of this study is to present the biographical data and major accomplishments of craftsman François Louis (b. 1954, Belgium) and offer insight into Louis' creative process as evidenced by his technical theories and musical experiences, in hopes of providing exposure to academics, professionals, and laypersons alike. François Louis is a significant figure in the emerging history of woodwind musical instruments. Despite his late entry into a musical career, Louis quickly caught the attention of world-renown saxophonists with his immaculate and individualistic handmade saxophone mouthpieces. After nearly a decade of mouthpiece production, instrument repair, and saxophone performance, Louis developed a unique ligature and reed to compliment his mouthpieces' features. Louis' invention of the Aulochrome, a polyphonic chromatic double-bodied woodwind instrument, is an instrument of the new millennium. More recently, Louis further improved his ligature and designed a composite material for his hand-finished production mouthpiece, the Spectruoso. Extensive oral history was gathered in interviews with Louis and saxophonists Lovano, Ries, Cisi, and Théberge. Interview details are organized to highlight Louis' biography, inventions, and influence on other artists. Further, the unique capabilities of the Aulochrome are presented through an exploration of Lovano's approach for learning the Aulochrome, as well as a fingering diagram developed by the author.


Music History; Music; Woodwind; Saxophone; Evolution; Aulochrome; Spherical Chamber; Mouthpiece; Musical Instruments