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I have a long history with clarinet and tenor sax and now i've now played soprano (Keilwerth ST90) for few months. The intonation (and fingering of course) turned out to be relatively easy to catch up from the clarinet, but i'am having major dificulties in staying in tune.

For example: If i produce a low C and then switch into middle C i have to use special fingering in ordr to produce pure octave. Oterwise the middele C is far to low in pitch.

My concern is that i a´m adapting totally wrong technique (i am working without a tutor). Any advise on how to overcome the problem would be warmly wellcomed. Or could this be related to ST90 ?
 

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sopranos are the hardest to play in tune. (master of the obvious)
That being said, small adjustments in/out have a greater effect on the soprano than other saxes. You have to make sure you have a good tuning position on the neck to start with. From there, your embouchure control is really critical on soprano. Far more than tenor or alto. It takes lots of practice. Also, you may want to try different strength reeds.
soft reeds make intervals narrower and hard reeds make them wider.
 

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Good responses. However, I'm also struck by your example. The open C on a sax is the trickiest to get adjusted properly, although more so on alto in my experience. If the open C is your main culprit -- and side C plays more in tune, I would have a tech check the key heights on the upper stack. They may need to be raised a bit.

You do not say what mouthpiece you are using. I have no experience with the Keilwerths, but would expect a reasonably wide range of mouthpieces to work with them. If the instrument is in good adjustment, I'd try some different mouthpieces.

BTW one way I check the mouthpiece placement on the neck is by playing open C, side C and middle C using the low plus octave pip. I know, I know, that last fingering is not really legit. However, one should be able to slur through all three fingerings and have them in tune with each other. If they are not, readjust your mouthpiece placement. If nothing will get them to play in tune with each other, try mouthpieces with different chamber sizes.

While your clarinet and tenor experience suggests you have good embouchure control, the two exercises most likely to eliminate you as a suspect in this problem are 1) the mouthpiece only exercise and 2) regular long tone work on soprano. If you check the Paul Coats articles on the main SOTW site he indicates the note you should be producing with mouthpiece only. And I love the Sue Terry's book where she says that only students and pros do long tones. The former because they must. The latter because it improves their tone.

Oops, on that last note, I think it's time for me to go take my own advice!

Sign me, red-faced and admittedly,
Still an Amateur
 

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"BTW one way I check the mouthpiece placement on the neck is by playing open C, side C and middle C using the low plus octave pip. I know, I know, that last fingering is not really legit. "

No, the notes above open C#, that is, the palm keys, were not designed to over blow the octave correctly. The notes below low D were not designed to overblow the octave. The bore in those regions are optimized to play those notes with the normal fingerings.

The octave pips are not positioned correctly, will pull the low C plus octave key very sharp.

Concentrate on tuning the normal C2 fingering, that is, middle finger of left hand, to tune correctly, and the rest should take care of itself.

If C2 to C3 is not good, that is, C3 is playing sharp in relation toC2, then the mouthpiece has too large a chamber for your instrument.

If C3 is flat in relation to C2, then the mouthpiece has too small a chamber for your instrument.
 
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I would add that if your middle C is flat compared to low C, then push your mouthpiece on further until it is close to being in tune with low C. Then notice if the transition from middle C to middle D seems to be in tune. If this all feels pretty good, then see how close to concert pitch you are -- if the whole horn is sharp, try opening up your throat as though you were yawning and drop your tongue like yawning or saying Ahhh -- you need strong muscles in the embouchure but that does NOT mean tight. I find that it is actually a lot looser than you think it should be but it needs a LOT of support from strong embouchure muscles to hold it there without quivering on long tones up high.

Basically try getting the mouthpiece on far enough that middle C is in tune with low C and then try to get the whole horn down to pitch with your embouchure.

It is also very possible that it is your horn - so have an experienced sop player try it and confirm that the horn plays in tune. I know, you said it is a Keilworth so it probably isn't the horn -- but I've seen name brand horns that just play sharp over the whole range for various reasons.
 

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From what you say about your background, I'd also stress it will take some time to get to play the sop in tune throughout the range. The right mouthpiece, correctly placed and correct adjustment of the horn are important, but it does take time to learn to control the embouchure, and it makes more difference on sop than the larger horns - and it is not like the clarinet. Two things that helped me are: ensure your embouchure is 'bunched' - so that the sides of the mouth bear on to the mouthpiece as well, and secondly, ensure the airway is nicely open in your mouth - think an 'ahhhh' sound, definitely not an 'eeeee'. As you go up the range of the sop, there is a tendency to bite the reed and make an 'eee' sort of shape in the throat. Hope the ideas help, at least they cost nothing to try!
 

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rollen said:
sopranos are the hardest to play in tune. (master of the obvious)
That being said, small adjustments in/out have a greater effect on the soprano than other saxes. You have to make sure you have a good tuning position on the neck to start with. From there, your embouchure control is really critical on soprano. Far more than tenor or alto. It takes lots of practice. Also, you may want to try different strength reeds.
soft reeds make intervals narrower and hard reeds make them wider.
sopranos are the hardest to play in tune?!!?!?!?! it didnt make any difference, well at least for me... in playing alto or soprano...huha maybe your mouthpiece is just not fit for you.. i dunno.. hehee the original post was way back in february... hehehe i am toooo late...
 
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