Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello.

I've only been playing for 7 months and trying to learn by myself until I can find time and a good teacher. I only intend to play for fun but pretty ambitious with the kind of playing style I want. I am very partial to Jazz and would like to play like the great known players... Getz, Parker and Woods (I wish). Anyway, I have been learning Stella By Starlight so I thought of recording myself and ask for opinions. I have also been looking for an opportunity to test my Samson CO3U microphone with my Garageband so I thought, this is it. :)

The playing is definitely far from perfect, so please comment on it and do give tips and suggestions on how to improve both on the playing and recording.

I am immensely enjoying my Yamaha YAS23 so far and hope I would at least get into a level where I can play with a band, again, only for fun. :)

Here is the short sampler.

[URL=http://www.zshare.net/audio/89292157b83a0067/]Stella By Starlight.mp3 - 3.20MB[/URL]

Thanks.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
787 Posts
Hey JDennis,

You're off to a great start! Nice tone, time, phrasing and melodic ideas. I enjoyed listening! Keep up the good work.

Randy
www.randyhunterjazz.com
Online Jazz Lessons and Books
New Lesson:
Making Sense of Jazz Improvisation
Lesson Series:
Introduction to the Blues
The Arpeggio Circle
Through the Keys
and more...
Lessons page: www.beginningsax.com/Jazz Improv Lessons.htm
Rhythm Changes Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrT0Xw_y9d0
Rhythm Changes Lesson:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMOW7QAfpwo
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,812 Posts
+1 to Randy's comments. Plus make sure you practice your long tones. They will improve the quality of your sound. Good job!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,497 Posts
Sounds pretty good. Nice full tone you are getting.

My one comment would be, prioritize starting your phrasing cleanly...sometimes you seemed to miss the note, other times you jumped the beat and began early or late. Imagine conversing with someone. It's hard to listen to someone talk when they slur the beginning of each sentence. If it had only happened a couple a' times...we'd all just call it "Jazz"...but it seemed recurring.

Again, all in all, great job. Keep it up ! And thanks for reminding me that this tune can be played at a slower tempo. It was kinda nice to hear it like that, again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your comments. I will take all your suggestions and practice it. I still have a lot to learn. Reading notes is one. Would it be possible to learn improv without knowing how to read notes? :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Players better than you or I will ever be learned that way.
I may not be that, but I learnt to improvise before learning to read.
What can you say is your best guide in learning how to improvise? Of course having a good ear is one but tonality wise, how can you be more sensitive in picking up the right tune to sync in to the melody without going too monotonous or even boring in tone? Am I making sense at all? :)

I have to tell you guys that I don't have any formal musical background whatsoever. No formal music lessons although I play drums once in a while but again, no formal studies. I am just a big music fan (jazz).
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
6,862 Posts
Nice job!

FWIW: Lester Young's father made him learn to read. I gather Mr. Young was pretty good at improvising. My advice would be learn everything you can and listen to Lester Young. That's pretty much how everybody else did it! :)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,812 Posts
If you are doing original music, reading doesn't matter that much. You should find a better site to host your music and just use standard mp3 format. It wanted me to install some plugins and I am trying to keep my Chrome browser clean from all that, also I do not know that site and don't trust it to be installing stuff.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,287 Posts
What can you say is your best guide in learning how to improvise? Of course having a good ear is one but tonality wise, how can you be more sensitive in picking up the right tune to sync in to the melody without going too monotonous or even boring in tone? Am I making sense at all?

I have to tell you guys that I don't have any formal musical background whatsoever. No formal music lessons although I play drums once in a while but again, no formal studies. I am just a big music fan (jazz).
Just grab a tune and play it and then play around with the tune using chord tones mainly on the beat and passing notes between chord tones including chromatic passing notes and scale steps ie scale notes that slot between chord tones.

One common chromatic passing note sequence used for dominant chords is the root->major 7th->dominant 7th note sequence.

Like C,B,Bb over a C7 chord.

Loads of others as well.

Improvising comes out according to the players ability and taste so it's not really the same for everyone and the results are not really the same and so players have different improvising styles.
Copying other players improvisations note for note can be useful for ideas but eventually players have to go their own way which is what improvising is all about really.

Reading music has little to do with improvising IMO.

A lot of great Rock solos and songs are from people who could not read anything ie Beatles, Jazz/Blues guitarists Clapton etc.

Improvising is about feel and playing something at that particular time that feels appropriate to the player and not reading pre written notes.

I could improvise way before I could read and I'm still not a great reader and reading music is very robotic to me and I don't really like it but it is useful for playing pre written music and other things and there is a tradition of reading in Jazz but some Jazz players can/could not read music.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
You should find a better site to host your music and just use standard mp3 format. It wanted me to install some plugins and I am trying to keep my Chrome browser clean from all that, also I do not know that site and don't trust it to be installing stuff.
Can you suggest a free site where I can upload and share my recordings? My friend also told me that he was no able to listen to it because of the same problem as yours. I use a Mac and it automatically opens Quicktime whenever I click on the link and plays it. Didn't realize it will be different with others.



Just grab a tune and play it and then play around with the tune using chord tones mainly on the beat and passing notes between chord tones including chromatic passing notes and scale steps ie scale notes that slot between chord tones.

One common chromatic passing note sequence used for dominant chords is the root->major 7th->dominant 7th note sequence.

Like C,B,Bb over a C7 chord.
Thanks for this. I just wish I can easily understand what it all means. Like I said, I can't read notes still. :) I can look it up on the fingering chart and perhaps I can interpret it. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
You can use a site called www.box.net its free, you can upload mp3's and pdf files to your own acc.Then the site gives you a link to the file you can share with whoever you want..

Cheers

Tom
Thanks Tom. I will also try this but meanwhile, a friend also suggested a site called kiwi6 and it seems good. Please let me now if you guys would get the same problem of being asked to download something to play it.

Here is the link: Stella By Starlight
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,287 Posts
Thanks for this. I just wish I can easily understand what it all means. Like I said, I can't read notes still. I can look it up on the fingering chart and perhaps I can interpret it.
Well, someone doesn't have to be able to read music to improvise but it helps to know at least the notes of chords and their associated scales and things like passing notes and the difference between the on and off beats.

Just say there is a C7 chord in a song and you are trying to improvise over it, then the chord notes of C7 are C, E, G Bb so assuming the song is in common 4/4 time just play 8 notes based around the C, E, G and Bb notes which are placed on the on beats.

ie these notes for example or make something up, which is what improvising is

C, B , Bb, F, G, A, Bb, E

The first note is on the on beat and the second note is on the off beat and the third note is on the on beat and the fourth note is on the off beat etc etc

ie The C, Bb, G, Bb notes are all on the on beat and are all chord tones of the C7 chord.

ie The B,F,A notes are on the off beats and are not C7 chord notes, they are a mixture of passing notes and C7 scale notes.
The E note at the end is a C7 chord note that is on the off beat and that is ok too, as long as the C7 chord notes are mainly on the on beats, then that is the most important thing.

The B note in the C, B , Bb bit is on the off beat and is a passing note going from the C chord note that is on the on beat to the Bb chord note that is on the on beat.

The same goes for the Bb, F, G bit where F is a scale note on the off beat in between the Bb and G chord notes which are on the on beats.

The chord tones C, E, G Bb fall on the on beats and the other notes fall on the off beats.

What all this does, is that the listener has the impression that it is a C7 chord and the off beat notes are filling in things.

The chord tones being played on the on beats fixes it to a C7 sounding thing even if a whole lot of different notes that are not chord tones get played on the off beats.

Every chord has associated strong notes that fix it to the harmony ie for the C7 chord it is the root which is the C note and the third which is the E note and the fifth which is the G note and the Bb note which is the dominant seventh note and if these chord notes are on the on beats then the listener gets the message that it is a C7 chord.

If passing notes like the B note in between the C and Bb chord notes are included on the off beat then it adds to the flow and variety but seeing that the main chord tones are on the on beats it still sounds as a C7 to the listener and the same goes for using scale notes on the off beats in between the chord notes.

The B note above is called a passing note because it is not a scale note of the C7 scale (mixolydian scale).

There are also other things like blues scales that don't necessarily stick to chord notes being played on the on beats.

There are also other things to consider like group note patterns and contour (ie how it all flows) and rhythm etc etc
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,812 Posts
On the keyboard I can see what notes I am playing but not on the sax. A chart would not really help me either. I'm going to try learning the notes with a tuner but I will have to make a conscious effort.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,287 Posts
Beginners can get bogged down or overwhelmed with too much info that ends up to be not that important, like learning 40 different scales or too much music theory etc etc.

Best thing is to keep it simple and add other things later on.

Look for simple patterns in the notes of songs and chord notes and scale notes and sax fingerings and then remember them.

Learning to start to improvise is very simple as long as someone learns the basic chord notes of a simple song.
It can be a 3 chord song to start off with.
Then learn what scales go with those 3 chords.
Then learn the melody of the 3 chord song.
Then play the melody and start throwing in chord notes on the on beats and scale notes on the off beat and after a while something might come out that sounds ok.

Learning the fingerings on a sax is pretty easy.

D = all 3 fingers of each hand closing a key.

Now as we go higher, more fingers get lifted off the keys.

Eb = all 3 fingers of each hand closing a key plus the Eb right hand key.

E = 3 fingers of the left hand and 2 fingers of the right hand holding down keys.

F = 3 fingers of the left hand and 1 finger of the right holding down keys.

F# = 3 fingers of the left hand and 1 finger of the right hand holding down keys.

G = just the left hand fingers holding down keys.

Ab = G but with the Ab left hand key.

A = two fingers of the left hand holding down keys.

Bb = the same as A but with the Bb right hand key added or one finger holding down the Bis key.

B = one finger holding down a key.

C = one finger holding down a key.

C# = no fingers holding down keys.

As the notes go up from D to C#, more fingers are lifted off the keys.

The Ab and Eb and Bb use additional keys and they are all flat notes (some can be sharp notes according to the key they are being played in but get to that later on)

and this is the same for the 2 octaves with and without the octave key.

and then there are the additional higher palm key notes and the very low notes.

Learning to read music has a lot to do with counting and recognizing written note patterns and is another thing someone can practice if they want to read music but improvising and knowing the notes does not require that someone can read music as countless well known musicians that can't read a note of music show.

If someones main goal is to play pre written music then they should focus on learning to read music.

If someone just wants to improvise in a Blues/Jazz setting then they do not have to read music, what they need to do is to improvise a solo themselves and this is not reading pre written music, but the ability to read pre written music is a handy thing to have and that is why it's taught.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top