Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,
I have been searching how to growl and keep getting people saying hum and play. Well how do you do that??
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,144 Posts
There's not really another way to explain it than that. Just don't try to hum through your nose like you probably would if you weren't playing. The humming from your throat has to be channeled into the mouthpiece while you're playing. It takes a little practice because most people suggest playing with an "open throat", and it's hard to get that humming effect with a fully open throat. Until you get used to it, it's easy for the sound to get choked off or for your throat to try to close up.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
13,131 Posts

·
Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
Joined
·
3,214 Posts
try to whistle and hum at the same time - growling is not much different
 

·
Vendor
Joined
·
15,770 Posts
Here are 4 different ways to think of it that have nothing to do with humming:

1. When youre sick and you have phlegm in the back of your throat, and you need to cough it up and spit it out----the feeling of what you do to get it to come up and out----THATS WHAT I FEEL LIKE WHEN I TRY TO GROWL. Just get that sound in your throat, and blow the note youre playing at the same time. Sorry to be so graphic, but thats what I feel like when I growl, and it works perfectly.

2. Another thought, is getting that feeling in your throat, like a baseball player getting up something to spit. (Like a "gargling" noise). Just get that sound in your throat, and blow the note youre playing at the same time.

3. Imitate a dog growling, and blow the note at the same time. (Keep your throat slightly more open though).

4. Say the Jewish phrase "L'Chaim". The way the "CH" is pronounced in that word is the sound you want to get in the throat while playing the note.



I GUARANTEE IF YOU TRY TO GROWL AND READ WHAT I JUST WROTE WHILE YOURE TRYING---YOU WILL DEFINITELY UNDERSTAND THE GROWL.

Hope this helps.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
13,131 Posts
What 10mfan just described is actual growling. So the secret to how to growl on the sax is to ... growl?
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010-2016
Joined
·
1,708 Posts
Any kind of vocalising while you're playing - anything at all - will be out of phase with the reed vibration and will cause an effect that has become known as "growling".

If you do things your throat that actually sound like growling when you're not playing, it'll work because ANY vocalising will cause the effect, but it'll give you a sore throat pretty quickly.

I think the word "humming" is misleading because it's an activity usually done with a closed mouth and with the breath coming out of the nose - also not advisable while playing.

When I think about and analyse my own "growling" technique I find that I'm saying (fairly softly) the non-word "aaahh". But that's just me.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010-2016
Joined
·
1,708 Posts
I was going to say the same thing...but with the non-word "uuuuhhhh"...as in Duh!

I think once you figure it out, it WILL be one of those "Duh" moments. (I could'a had a V-8!)
Actually I was going to use the non-word "er" but the pronunciation difference between Australian English and American English was a worry. We pronounce "er" much as Americans pronounce "uh" (no "rrr" sound at all). It's a kind of a neutral vowel sound like when you're searching for a word. So I think we've actually stumbled on the same basic sound.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member
Joined
·
4,673 Posts
..... You have to generate more air than I get when I think of a dog revving up to bark. t's got to be a steady solid flow of air to make the saxophone sound.

I'm talking about just before you let out the bark, don't know if that makes sens, when you feel the vibrations in the back of your throat.
You're right, you do need to keep a steady air flow at that point. Some may have a more vocal approach to growling.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
29,550 Posts
I think the word "humming" is misleading because it's an activity usually done with a closed mouth and with the breath coming out of the nose - also not advisable while playing.

You are correct of course, however you could argue that the mouth is "closed" by the saxophone mouthpiece.

However what matters is that you use either the throat action you use for humming (except with the saxophone in your mouth) or singing a vowel. It doesn't matter which vowel, as no singing actually comes out of your mouthy because there is a mouthpiece in there.

It's important with growling to not think you need to actually growl. The humming or singing will do.

But one difficulty id that when people say humming they think of a very gentle kind of hum, but growling on the saxophone is usually quite aggressive, so think of a loud hum, but without it actually turning into a Marge Simpson growl in the throat.

That along with the saxophone playing should do the trick of setting up the acoustic interference between the two note which cause the effect.

In my exercise I specifically don't specify a specific pitch (note how specific I am about that), because I believe it's best to do it by trial and error as each note reacts differently and each person is different.

Of course it's also important not to try and sing the same note as the one you are playing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
565 Posts
A good exercise I came up with (or at least it helped me) was closing off the nose and try humming. You are forced to breathe through your mouth.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,334 Posts
Of course it's also important not to try and sing the same note as the one you are playing.
I think this is a problem I have with it. I always want to hum the same note I'm playing. It's in my head and I can't seem to get rid of it.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
13,131 Posts
I think this is a problem I have with it. I always want to hum the same note I'm playing. It's in my head and I can't seem to get rid of it.
LOL. I've said this same thing in a few threads. I wasn't going to say it again in this one, but there it is. I automatically sing the note I'm playing. It's like humming into a kazoo. I have a hard time making myself hum/growl a different pitch than the one I'm playing. It's like singing. So instead I flutter tongue. :)
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top