Musical Duo Creates Harmony Through Contrast


Manan Mendiratta

The soulful tones of senior Yash Menon’s guitar and lyrical style of senior Shivank Gupta’s saxophone fill the air as their unique sounds come together in their rendition of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” The exciting combination of smooth jazz and striking rock forms melodious versatility that could not be accomplished with just one instrument.

Manan Mendiratta and Akshay Raj

On a peaceful Saturday morning, the sharp strumming of an electric guitar and the rich tones of a saxophone can be heard flowing in unison out of senior Yash Menon’s garage as he and senior Shivank Gupta bring together their musical talents to build unique riffs and rhythms. Playing together since roughly June 2019, Menon and Gupta have combined their musical passions as a guitarist and saxophonist to explore new avenues and grow as musicians.

Having a fresh mind to consult during practice allows the pair to bolster their creative abilities and produce harmonious and balanced melodies. Both musicians also find the dynamic between their instruments to open new doors for musical variance that stem from each other’s style.

Playing music with others introduces you to new perspectives on how you could add to your craft as a musician.”

— Yash Menon

“My favorite part about playing with Shivank is the musical growth that I gain from practicing with him,” Menon said. “His musical knowledge helps to give me insight into different perspectives that I can use to write my own riffs and licks that I may have not come across without brainstorming with Shivank.”

Despite the growth achieved when playing together, the two experienced difficulties due to the irregularity of the pairing and their conflicting individual musical tastes.

“We disagree on different songs to play because it’s hard to pick songs that both instruments can be equally represented, rather than a song that’s more heavily based on guitar or saxophone,” Menon said. “We don’t see many guitar and saxophone duos out there, so we kind of have to adjust by ourselves,” Gupta added.

The bond Gupta and Menon establish through music goes beyond individual growth; this year, the pair aims to share their talents with others in their community to make a difference through music.

“We performed at a homeless shelter in Anaheim,” Gupta said. “That was very special because it felt great to use our talents to bring joy to the lives of people who need it the most.”

Although the pair find practice to be more focused when done individually, they make more progress when exposed to the styles of different instruments. To the duo, music is better played and enjoyed collaboratively, allowing each to expand their musical horizons.

“Playing music on your own allows you to be focused on personal goals,” Menon said. “However, playing music with others introduces you to new perspectives on how you could add to your craft as a musician.”