Yell in your throat as you play forcefully. I found 60 years ago when I learned to do it that my vocalization was on 'auto-pilot' and roughly paralleled what I was playing but always in a dissonance. Its much easier to do this than it is to sing the same pitch as you're playing, which can be an interesting effect but not very useful. The only time I do that is to demonstrate to someone how 'growling' works as a dissonance, by playing a note like G1, matching the pitch with my voice, and sliding my voice up an octave while holding the g on the sax. You hear all the dissonances and harmonies coming in and out - its a pretty cool exercise.
But growling is much more instinctive - you'll never do it by thinking about it. I seem to have been blessed with respect to special effects and took to everything I heard, even combining them like growling and flutter-tonguing at the same time.
Here's some epic growling - I don't know who he was but he had the R&R sound!
I have the same problem. My singing is usually off by a minor second.
I usually go up an octave, even on unstable notes like G, if I try to sing them an octave above. Probably has something to do with the fact that I play the upper register without the octave key more often than I should.
My favourite combination is growling+multiphonics. Scary stuff!
Great example. I'm personally aiming more for something like what Mike Wilbur does on Moon Hooch's "Number 8"
Flutter-tonguing with the throat ? Isn't that a contradiction in terms ?
's description above is pretty accurate, but if if you still need to learn growling, as well as every other novelty effect ever used on saxophone, go no further that SotW's own Pete Thomas. His "Taming the Saxophone" website is a great resource, and includes detailed but very clear instructions on how to achieve whatever effect you're looking for. Here's the link to the "Saxophone growl":
I can see how it would sound like a contradiction, but there's actually 2 ways to do flutter-tonguing on flute and saxophone. One involves doing a "rolling R" sound, and the other - producing a "gurgling" motion with the back of the throat. Both sound the same, more or less, but the latter can be easier for people who can't do a "rolling R".
Thank you, Mike. Yes, that website is one of my first references every time, but the article on growling didn't help me much (I don't even remember how many times I had read it). One of the reasons why is that it contradicts what I've learnt from other saxophonists. I was told many times that actual growling is the way to go, because, for one, it doesn't require one to even care about a second note that they hum, because it produces enough of an interference by itself. The article also confuses me in that it basically recommends bending notes, which is something I can easily do, but it doesn't produce a growling effect (and requires no humming to begin with).
Pyromonk, I was going to send some info to you but your private message is blocked. Send an email if you would like info on many of the effects, including sites and books that are available. Too much info to post here. [email protected]
I apologise for the inconvenience, John. I have changed my settings and will also send you an email. Thank you very much for your kindness.
You can either start singing and put the mouthpiece into your mouth as you sing. Or start playing and then try and sing at the same time.
Whichever, have you tried starting on the low notes (B or Bb)? I found those a lot easier - so much so that I have to remember not to growl on them.
That's what I'm trying to do right now... So far only squeaks come out. I've tried starting across the entire range of the horn. Most people have recommended upper register, so it's kind of surprising you would suggest B and B♭... That's why I think growling is kind of individual and possibly instrument-dependent as well.
You've probably already tried this if you watched a lot of videos, but here goes anyway.
Watch "Young Frankenstein" or some other monster movie. Now try to groan along with it. Put the horn in your mouth, and continue groaning. Now the tricky part, continue groaning, but blow hard enough to make a sound. Voila, you've got a growl. The key is the groan needs to be a random pitch, NOT the same pitch you're playing. That's why the Frankenstein groan works so well.
Don't make an actual growling sound with your voice. You'll hurt yourself. And don't to any flutter tonguing of the throat, whatever that means. That sounds not only impossible, but also painful. There's also no need to change your embouchure. All you need to do is blow and play like normal, but adding in the vocal groan. Flutter tonguing is an ok substitute, but is a different effect that has a different sound, as you already know.
Blowing hard enough is the hardest part! That's why I mentioned in my initial post that I play tenor. I do not seem to have enough lung capacity despite doing cardio exercises regularly.
Why would I hurt myself with growling? I've been doing extreme metal vocals since when I was a teenager, and my vocal chords are doing fine. The only thing that screwed them over was smoking and alcoholism. Screaming/growling can indeed be damaging if they are done incorrectly though. Back-throat flutter-tongue is not impossible or painful at all
. It's basically the same motion you would do with your throat if you were gargling your throat with water or mouthwash.
Harsh as you can.....Huuummm Huuuuummm Huuuummm! Like the revving (rev-ving) a car engine sound, and like deeply clearing your throat. Also Do long growls like a dog.
The reason "humming" doesn't work is because when humming the lips are closed and no air is going out the mouth like when you play the saxophone. All you need to do is hum and blow at the same time. It sounds like "vvvvvvvvvvvvv". (Say the word "very" and keep the "v" sound going.)
Huh... That's an advice I've never encountered before! I'll give it a try. Thank you so much!
Wouldn't that just create a flutter-tongue effect though? It sounds very similar to how I usually do flutter-tongue. Or did you mean a guttural R as opposed to a rolling R?