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Discussion Starter #1
I play several times in the same piece, where I'm the only soprano sax in a 7-member band, a four-bar trill from A to G, lower register. I do alright for about 3 bars, but then my finger quits cooperating and I get slower and lose the evenness. No strategy so far is successful. The part was originally written for clarinet (a Dixieland thing), and I'm sure clarinetists find it easier to trill this with their setup. I don't find trills that hard on flute, piano, or alto sax, but this soprano has me stymied, maybe because it's held in the air and you can't brace against anything? Not sure.

Any suggestions?
 

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I would say use the other hand to trill the notes if youre giving out, but I assume the fact that you have to hold the soprano in the air means that’s not an option.

Soprano’s small enough where you could probs cover both the A and B keys with a single finger (your index) and use your middle finger to trill the g. Thatd be the best bet if you asked me, but it might not be possible with the other stuff you play either before or after that trill.
 

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Put a strap on it so it helps supporting the soprano and I'm with mercurypluto, I would suggest using the other hand to trill it.
 

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1. I concur with the suggestion of a strap. Also, at least for this part of the music, you could try lowering the horn to a more vertical position. That should take a good amount of stress off your hand. The third finger of either hand (but especially the left hand, if you are a righty) is not so good at moving independently of the other fingers. You've got to make its life easier in a passage like this.

2. Try changing the way you play the piece. This is jazz, right? Who's going to complain if you modify the chart a bit? Here's what I would do: Play an untrilled G for the first two bars, but with a steady crescendo, so that you're at f or ff (whatever the desired dynamic) by the end of the second bar. Then add the trill from G to A for the final two bars. I think that would sound great, and be quite dramatic.
 

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In the pop song 'Soul Serenade' by King Curtis he does that same trill for about 6 measures at the end as it fades out. My only problem with it is taking a big enough breath to last the whole thing. Can't say I get the 'problem' with the fingers.
 

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My only problem with it is taking a big enough breath to last the whole thing. Can't say I get the 'problem' with the fingers.
Well I think in your case is not getting circular breathing! Straws and cups of water anybody?
 

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Just spitballing here, but are you married or otherwise wear a ring on your left ring finger? For the past few years, I've started to get a cramp in that finger after playing a while. I found that removing my wedding ring really helps. Not a joke post here, I think that rings can sometimes pinch a nerve.

I am not a doctor, just my personal experience. As is the headache I get for not wearing it while playing...
 

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Just spitballing here, but are you married or otherwise wear a ring on your left ring finger? For the past few years, I've started to get a cramp in that finger after playing a while. I found that removing my wedding ring really helps. Not a joke post here, I think that rings can sometimes pinch a nerve.

I am not a doctor, just my personal experience. As is the headache I get for not wearing it while playing...
My ache would be somewhere south of the head...
 

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.easy..don't start 'til the 2nd bar.
 

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.....the 4 bar trill solidly consistent trill is weird.....may I suggest easing into the trill and then easing out of it. Perhaps the problem is that your are attempting to do each trill at the exact same frequency. This probably makes the music a bit less interesting....so try speeding up and slowing down, increasing and decreasing loudness.....it will likely make the music more interesting and will be less taxing on your fingers. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I would say use the other hand to trill the notes if youre giving out, but I assume the fact that you have to hold the soprano in the air means that’s not an option.

Soprano’s small enough where you could probs cover both the A and B keys with a single finger (your index) and use your middle finger to trill the g. Thatd be the best bet if you asked me, but it might not be possible with the other stuff you play either before or after that trill.
Yes, this worked! Also trilling it with the other hand worked. Interestingly enough, after approaching it in these two ways, it must have removed my mental block, because now I have enough control to out-and-out trill it with the usual finger. Strange, huh?

Thanks, everyone for the advice!
 
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