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Discussion Starter #1
A bit of explanation first. There's thread discussing why tenor "don't sound like this anymore" that saw a lot of action lately.

I have been practising my subtone (and making some progress!). Working on tone shaping as a whole I asked a few friends, that are not too much in sax nor in jazz, which tone they preferred while I was playing successively dark, bright & sub toning. None of them picked subtone so far; their age varies from mid-twenties to late thirties. Now I know my subtone is not yet great but it ain't that bad. So I was a bit surprised...

Yesterday, the in-laws were visiting and I took the opportunity to do the same test. They are in their early sixties. My mother in-law was quite appreciative of both the dark and bright tone but she totally melt at the first note I played while subtoning. All her face reacted! (Woot).

Hence the question: is subtone something that used to be very popular but now only appreciated by sax and/or jazz aficionados?
 

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I would say yes. It was never a legitimate technique, so this generation of schooled players hasn't been taught it.

Then again, slap tongue wasn't a legitimate technique either, until the classical crowd adopted it.
 

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It may have originated in the past, but I can still see its application in slower ballads or love songs. Young people can learn to like older styles. Oftentimes on You-tube there are teenagers who comment on how they love the 50's music more than the new stuff they're supposed to like. Subtone expresses tenderness and love really well.
 

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Young people can learn to like older styles, but if they get on the college/professional track, they usually learn not to respect those styles.

Jazz today is an educated music. What is most important is mastery of the tangibles and the testables. Expressiveness, of any kind, comes later.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It may have originated in the past, but I can still see its application in slower ballads or love songs. Young people can learn to like older styles. Oftentimes on You-tube there are teenagers who comment on how they love the 50's music more than the new stuff they're supposed to like. Subtone expresses tenderness and love really well.
I personally love subtone and to me it is evocative of the flesh, things that breath. I am not doubting its usefulness but rather that it is appreciated by the general public, those that are not into jazz or sax.
 

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I consider it a valuable technique and often use it for playing backing lines behind a vocalist - whether it be rock, pop, soul or jazz.
Not making use of it is like buying a box of crayons and throwing all the blues away...

Regards,
 

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Most people don't know how to play the bottom range of the horn without subtone, especially at low volume. I think it's alive and well.
I have definitely heard that. For most, it's a natural thing to do while playing the low notes softly.

I think if you like the type of music that uses saxophone subtones, you will like subtones. If you like faster, harder, rockish music, you will not understand the whole subtone thing and probably think it's just a weird, airy note thing. I think the subtone is still well loved. It just depends on what kind of music the person you ask about it is into.
 

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You should learn subtone, it's great for ballads and if you like players like stan getz, zoot sims, etc you will also use it in other songs. I try to use a little subtone in my "normal" tone to sound more like them.

Most people don't know how to play the bottom range of the horn without subtone, especially at low volume. I think it's alive and well.
I have more problems playing subtone down low then playing soft with a normal tone. :(
 

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You can like fast rock music AND music that uses subtones... I know that's what you meant. I'm just sayin. LOL
You are correct. I'm proof of that! But there are so many people that stick to one or the other. I can't imagine doing that but......
 

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It's a technique to have in the bag o' tricks-cliche' in my opinion and I'm not a big fan of subtone but do use it sparingly-very sparingly. I'd much rather hear the frank tone played pp

DanPerezSax said:"Most people don't know how to play the bottom range of the horn without subtone, especially at low volume."..........I agree
 

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This is true - I think it specifically afflicts tenor players. Too many use too hard a reed and/or too open a tip - either can make a full-on low register hard to get control of unless you have chops like a vise.

For me it got a lot easier to play big & rich on the low end when I adopted a slightly more closed setup. Not too closed of course, or subtone will be impossible. You want the capability when you can use it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Many of the replies mentioned it is useful and worth learning (I don't disagree) but it is beside the intent of the original question ;) The original question was concerning the audience, the general public, people listening to music, not saxophonists nor jazz musicians nor jazz/sax aficionados.

From my very limited and un-scientific sampling, the population in general (i.e. NOT sax/jazz players or aficionados), in particular the younger part of it does NOT seems to appreciate/respond to subtoning hence the question whether it is a flavour of the past, in the sense that the population has lost any appreciation of it. Am I fabulating?

Edit: Thanks for those participating! It seems like I have a hard time formulating these questions :p
 

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From my very limited and un-scientific sampling, the population in general (i.e. NOT sax/jazz players or aficionados), in particular the younger part of it does NOT seems to appreciate/respond to subtoning hence the question whether it is a flavour of the past, in the sense that the population has lost any appreciation of it. Am I fabulating?

Edit: Thanks for those participating! It seems like I have a hard time formulating these questions :p
JeffT did you see my response (post #17)? How can the current audience appreciate subtone when they couldn't possibly hear it behind the din of a loud drummer, guitarist cranked up to 10, and a heavy thumping bass?!

The younger population can't have lost any appreciation for something they've never heard (and no, youtube clips don't count).
 

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I think it's also important to point out that subtone may play a core part in many player's "full" sound. Just because you're subtoning doesn't mean you have to play soft...Eric Alexander puts out a nice big sound in the lower register - but often, it's a very powerful subtone. I went to a clinic he gave last year & he was talking about how his sound in ALL registers is essentially subtone. This concept really changed my sound when I started incorporating it into my long tones practice.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
JeffT did you see my response (post #17)? How can the current audience appreciate subtone when they couldn't possibly hear it behind the din of a loud drummer, guitarist cranked up to 10, and a heavy thumping bass?!

The younger population can't have lost any appreciation for something they've never heard (and no, youtube clips don't count).
Yes I did see your replied and totally agree with what you are saying. FFF indeed (alas) dominate modern music and it is a shame.
 
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