Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,870 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Ok, here's my latest trick. I sit at the piano with tuner in front of me. I play the note on the piano, close my eyes, sing the note,then look at the tuner to see if my vocalisation is in tune - this is actually the toughest part for me. Then I close my eyes and play the long tone, then look at the tuner to see how close I am. The more I do this, the more often the long tone is right on the money and steady (I quickly adjust it if it isn't). It really amazes me that one can learn to blow a note within zero cents of a heard pitch. I wonder if string players could benefit from and exercise like this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Are you saying that singing in perfect pitch can help you play your sax better? I always play out of tune on my tenor sax, and I'm trying to find was to stay in tune
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,328 Posts
I'm sure hearing the note first plus singing the note would be helpful. You hear it, you play it. Makes complete sense.

This is an exercise that's not unlike overtone matching where you finger low C and play middle or high C matching the feel of the real fingering to the overtone fingering. The overtone matching works on many pitches, generaly using fundamentals Bb, B, C, C#
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,919 Posts
Are you saying that singing in perfect pitch can help you play your sax better?
I think most people would agree that singing is a great way to improve your ear, and when your ear improves, then your pitching on the saxophone improves.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,336 Posts
Your trick is right on in my book. String players absolutely have to hear the pitches they are playing, as do trombone players in order to play in tune.

Teaching beginners to play band instruments, my approach has always been to have the students hear the pitch before playing. The steps are as follows:

- Hear the pitch on the tuner
- Hum the pitch
- Blow that pitch on the airstream (air whistle)
- Play that pitch on the instrument

If a large adjustment needs to be made with the embouchure, the "tuning device" (slide, mp, barrel, headjoint) is moved in or out to compensate and then the steps are gone through again. My pet peeve is how many players use the meter instead of the sound of their tuners. When playing music we tune with our EARS not with our EYES.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,369 Posts
This is all great advice for playing separate notes in tune. When you start playing lines though, it's a totally different story. Still trying to figure this one out.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
12,793 Posts
Playing to the tuner isn't like real life though. I like to have students put on different play along grooves or drones are best and play different notes to the background. Try to find the sweet spot where the note is locked in. In a weird way this is harder and easier than playing with a tuner. It's easier in that you have to use your ears and senses to feel where the note is in tune it harder..........because you have to use your ears and senses to tell if the note is in tune. Many times it sounds in tune if it is sharp or flat. Also it makes you more confident when your in the real world playing. You don't need your tuner to tell you if your in tune.......you can hear it.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,862 Posts
Rascher says the key to developing your ability to hear the notes is to hear notes that are a fixed interval away from the one you are playing (i.e. play a C but "hear" the G one fifth above, etc...). I would think playing longtones along with a piano or some other reference note was pretty standard practice?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,862 Posts
This is all great advice for playing separate notes in tune. When you start playing lines though, it's a totally different story. Still trying to figure this one out.
If I'm understanding you correctly: when I'm doing patterns (like Steve's for instance), I'll play the last note on the piano as a kind of target. So I'll play the pattern and try to be in tune at the end. What goes on in between is anybody's guess :)
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
12,793 Posts
If I'm understanding you correctly: when I'm doing patterns (like Steve's for instance), I'll play the last note on the piano as a kind of target. So I'll play the pattern and try to be in tune at the end. What goes on in between is anybody's guess :)
I would just play them with some kind of background track and listen to each note as you play them slow. Obviously when you are playing fast you can't adjust each note but it doesn't matter at that speed until you hold a note.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,870 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Neff, you are right, and don't just play the note and adjust it to the tuner. I listen to the note, sing it and then try to play it. I only use the tuner to check the results (not create the results). Drones are good too (I've got Otto's drones). It's like playing scales with a band.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
I have a cd called The Tuning CD which is composed of tracks of open 5th drones (in every key). Its a great tool especially if you can tune your intervals to pure, untempered intervals - it seems to have helped my improv as well as now its easier to hear the dissonant notes.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top