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Discussion Starter #1
I often will jump up to D2 by touching the upper stack palm key, as opposed to going to the D1 lower stack fingering with the octave key. I will also sometimes play C#2 sans fingering rather than the C#1 fingering with the lower stack, pinky table and octave key. Works for me, it’s fluid and sounds fine. However, I was recently told by a good seasoned player/teacher that this is considered bad form. Is this a common view?
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There are many great players, I'm thinking Lenny Pickett and Maceo, who probably have many, many, many things that people would consider bad form. But it works and SOUNDS great. I'd like to have form like those guys.
 

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Especially with vintage horns, you may need to "invent" some fingering to hit the note that you want. If you are a "classical sax" player, sticking to the form may be the right thing to do.
 

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I often will jump up to D2 by touching the upper stack palm key, as opposed to going to the D1 lower stack fingering with the octave key. I will also sometimes play C#2 sans fingering rather than the C#1 fingering with the lower stack, pinky table and octave key. Works for me, it’s fluid and sounds fine. However, I was recently told by a good seasoned player/teacher that this is considered bad form. Is this a common view?
Thanks
Yes, the common view is open C# (vs "long" fingering) and xxx xxx for D (vs palm key).

That aside, it is good to know the alternate fingerings and use them appropriately. If you are ascending chromatically, you will still need to transition across the break.

Does your palm D allow you to move fluidly across the break? Would you similarly use palm Eb?

How does its tone compare to adjacent pitches when held for a longer span?

If you are just doing a turn from C-C#-D-C#-C, then palm D might have its benefits.
 

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The tonehole for the D palm key is located to be in tune in the 2nd mode, not the first. In that part of the body tube the 2nd mode notes have a natural tendency to be quite sharp. That is why the tonehole is set lower to compensate resulting in the 1st mode D using that fingering is often quite flat. I use the C key plus palm Eb a lot for trills between C and D in both octaves. As with all "alternate fingerings" the faster the notes, the less any pitch discrepancies become noticeable.
 

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The tonehole for the D palm key is located to be in tune in the 2nd mode, not the first. In that part of the body tube the 2nd mode notes have a natural tendency to be quite sharp. That is why the tonehole is set lower to compensate resulting in the 1st mode D using that fingering is often quite flat. I use the C key plus palm Eb a lot for trills between C and D in both octaves. As with all "alternate fingerings" the faster the notes, the less any pitch discrepancies become noticeable.
Yes, the Eb palm key usually gives a more in tune D2. I depends on the horn wether the more in tune fingerin is palm Eb with or without C. On my Buffet, this "side D" is more in tune with C, but for a D-C# trill, of course I would use palm Eb alone.
 

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On most of my instruments the palm key D alone (to play middle D) is pretty much dead on in tune; the D and Eb together to play Eb a bit flat, and to play E with the left hand only I use the D, Eb, and F keys.

Obviously the main application for these fingerings is for rapid turns and the like where you don't want to be clapping 8 keys up and down. But I sometimes use the short middle D for tonal matching when I want a very light gentle sound.

I am not aware of any judging for style points so "bad form" doesn't really come into play as far as I'm concerned, but I don't play juried recitals for an audience of classical saxophone professors.
 

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On most of my instruments the palm key D alone (to play middle D) is pretty much dead on in tune; the D and Eb together to play Eb a bit flat, and to play E with the left hand only I use the D, Eb, and F keys.

Obviously the main application for these fingerings is for rapid turns and the like where you don't want to be clapping 8 keys up and down. But I sometimes use the short middle D for tonal matching when I want a very light gentle sound.

I am not aware of any judging for style points so "bad form" doesn't really come into play as far as I'm concerned, but I don't play juried recitals for an audience of classical saxophone professors.
I'm classically trained and in some cases my teacher advised me to use "side D". At pp or for a rapidly tongued note, the reponse of side D is better.
 

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Bad form?


Using the palm key leaves your other hand free to give the universal, "Here's what you can do with your Bad Form" signal....


If you're limber enough you can hit that palm D with your wrist and signal your opinion with both hands!





or....you can just use the fingering that works best given the surrounding notes and tone that best compliments the music
 

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The 'long-form' C#2 using the C#1 fingering plus the octave key may have some utility but open C#2,3 is the norm. The palms have been well-explained above but reading turf3's post made me think of how I use the palm F for E all the time in passages. and I use the palms all the time for altissimo. Just wondering, how do these crazy ideas like this C# thing even get started? Who's teaching this crap?
 

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The 'long-form' C#2 using the C#1 fingering plus the octave key may have some utility but open C#2,3 is the norm. The palms have been well-explained above but reading turf3's post made me think of how I use the palm F for E all the time in passages. and I use the palms all the time for altissimo. Just wondering, how do these crazy ideas like this C# thing even get started? Who's teaching this crap?
I don't think anyone is suggesting that the "long C#2" would be anything other than an occasional "color fingering". That's how I use it, very occasionally. As far as I'm concerned the all-open C# is the standard.

Another reason to work out some left-hand-only fingerings is that it makes it easier to give cutoffs or ritards, especially from the lead alto chair in a big band, where the guys behind you can't see your body movements very easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think what I was told may have to do with avoiding intonation problems, which makes sense. I also think the person had a bit of an attitude about it, like, “that may be the easy way, but it’s not the cowboy way”, kind of thing. He was firm that the break happens after C. Kind of hard to do the C#/D trill “the cowboy way”, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Glad to hear that all-open C# is considered standard by you guys. I was feeling a little shmucky after what this guy said. Perhaps he was having a joke on me.
 

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I don't think anyone is suggesting that the "long C#2" would be anything other than an occasional "color fingering". That's how I use it, very occasionally. As far as I'm concerned the all-open C# is the standard.

Another reason to work out some left-hand-only fingerings is that it makes it easier to give cutoffs or ritards, especially from the lead alto chair in a big band, where the guys behind you can't see your body movements very easily.
Playing Mussorgsky's "The Old Castle" on alto sax is a good example of where the timbre of the "long C#" is useful to match the "color" of adjacent notes in a phrase. On my SBA the long C# fingering with the first finger raised gives the tone and pitch I prefer. Unfortunately that fingering doesn't work well on all makes and models.
 

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I think what I was told may have to do with avoiding intonation problems, which makes sense. I also think the person had a bit of an attitude about it, like, “that may be the easy way, but it’s not the cowboy way”, kind of thing. He was firm that the break happens after C. Kind of hard to do the C#/D trill “the cowboy way”, though.
Work smarter, not harder. Not all cowboys make their own lives difficult on purpose.
 

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The tonehole for the D palm key is located to be in tune in the 2nd mode, not the first. In that part of the body tube the 2nd mode notes have a natural tendency to be quite sharp. That is why the tonehole is set lower to compensate resulting in the 1st mode D using that fingering is often quite flat.
Yes, the Eb palm key usually gives a more in tune D2. I depends on the horn wether the more in tune fingerin is palm Eb with or without C. On my Buffet, this "side D" is more in tune with C, but for a D-C# trill, of course I would use palm Eb alone.
This can be true, and might be true more often than not, actually..
It also depends on the horn.
I have played some models where you just cannot get away with doing this.
Others, the palm D2 intones pretty darn OK.
 

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"Bad form" ? That's just old-fashioned snobbery, and has no place in the practicalities of sax playing. There are many fingerings for almost all the notes on a saxophone. The one you choose in each particular circumstance depends on a range of factors, as outlined by several posters above.

If you want to find out alternative fingerings for saxophone, go to www.wfg.woodwind.org/sax/.
 
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