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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, I practice at least 1 hour a day, and always start off with long tones, with a tuner. I was just wondering what the actual purpose of long tones is (what should I be looking out for, etc.) Any help appreciated:)
 

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for me, long tone helps with the following:
1. check for leaks, especially the low Bb :)
2. help you get acquainted with your horn with all the keys working (going down to Bb)
3. builds tone
4. builds stamina
5. helps us to remember the embouchure (I call them muscle memory)
6. look for evenness of tone quality, the attack, the ending (tapering) of the note, tuning, evenness of volume (can also practice at various volumes).
7. look out for the attack needed to get the various notes
8. improves coordination between the mind and various muscles, fingering work, embouchure, breath control
9. improves support (from diaphragm)

if there is only time for one practice, it will be long tone for me. but it may just be only me :)

enjoy getting intimate with your horn through your long tones.
 

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If you'd like a better understanding of what exactly you're hoping to accomplish with long tones and how to do them, I've addressed this in my blog: Getting Started With Long Tones. Check it out and tell me what you think...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So if I get it correctly, the purpose of long tones is to build stamina and breath control and help create a repeatable embouchure and for evennes of sound. Thank you for the help, just what do you mean by "builds tone"? I definately will check that blog post out of yours Kelly, thanks to all the replies:bluewink:
 

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You can also gradually build in some tone bending exercises with your long tones - like play a palm D and slowly lip it down to a Db. Also go back up. Do this all over the horn. I promise you this will point out any weakness in your embouchure and build chops of iron. Another variation to throw into the mix is vibrato practice. On an long tone, practice varying the intensity and speed of vibrato in a slow, methodical way. Of course you first have to understand how vibrato is accomplished.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for the responses, I promise to make long tones a more prominant part of my practise routine! Kelly, after reeading your post on hardbop, am I correct to assume that you do not have to do long tones over a chromatic scale? Just the middle C, F, Bb, etc? This post on hardbop is a post that everyone that has doubts and questions about long tones, should read! Once again, thank you all for your posts and suggestions!;)
 

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So if I get it correctly, the purpose of long tones is to build stamina and breath control and help create a repeatable embouchure and for evennes of sound.
Yes, and all of that will help achieve the ultimate goal: A nice full steady tone that you can control. You want to fill the horn with air and get a BIG sound (even when playing softly), and long tones will help you accomplish that.

Somewhere I read this in answer to the question: "Should I work on long tones?" Answer: "Only if you want a good sound!"
 

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Make yourself a wall poster: draw a horizontal line enclosed by a crescendo mark starting on the left end of said line to the middle/decrescendo mark to the right end. Be meticulous; use a ruler, take your time. Inculcate the gravity of precision needed for tonal development. Then, hang the poster on a wall of your practice space at eye level. Behold the simple beauty of perfectly straight lines. Now blow a note. ppp with a perfect attack! Gradually crescendo to FFF (at this point you should be looking at the center of your chart), then back down to ppp. Be absolutely aware at ALL times of two things: 1. Pitch (should be dead straight like the line on your chart, no matter the volume) 2. Volume (no peaks or valleys or "tremolo"). If needed use a metronome so that you cres/decres the same amount on both sides of FFF. Do this for 30 minutes daily for a minimum of 14 days. You'll get tone and chops...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So do I practice the long tones on a chromatic scale (Bb, B, C, C#, etc.), or just on the notes: C, F, Bb, as Kelly says on Hard Bop?:treble:
 

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So do I practice the long tones on a chromatic scale (Bb, B, C, C#, etc.), or just on the notes: C, F, Bb, as Kelly says on Hard Bop?:treble:
I would generally say do whatever Kelly says. But that's just me!

Actually, what I'm proposing is A method to do long tones, not THE method to do them. The reason I propose moving up by fourths is to make sure you cover the full range of the horn during your long tone session.

If you plan on really digging in and spending some quality time with them, moving up chromatically would be great -- as long as you don't peter out before you get to the upper register of the horn, which also deserves some long tone love! Have fun!
 

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I couldn't find the post, but someone on here used the analogy of the telephone game here. Where someone whispers in someones ear and they go down the line?

Sometimes that happens when your doing long-tones chromatically if you get the idea. It could slows get away from what you want the further away you get from the starting note.

Personally, I use a variety of different patterns (to break up the monotony sometimes). 4th, m3rds, 5ths, Whole steps, etc etc.

-Bubba-
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks you guys for the help, one last question: am i also meant to do long notes into the altissimo range? thanks you all for the replies and suggestions, when I started this thread i realy didnt think i would get this much useful information!
 

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Two short additions:
Tim Price has suggested everyone do long tones chromatically from G down to deep G, but in such a way that you continue until you are completely and utterly out of air.
This wil teach you to use your diaphragm.
A female sax player called "Sweet Sue" (forgot her name) recommends that you listen for the core tone when you do long tones.
And last: Only do long tones on altissimo if you want them to sound good. ;-) But wait until later. Do the Tim Price group first.
 

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good tone is developed via long tones :)
 

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Since I started playing long tones, I can play the head to "My Funny Valentine" much better. I actually sound sort of like a pro. And that's just one thing I can do better - there are more. BTW, Yamaha Junkie, I play a YAS 62.
 

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Hello all, I practice at least 1 hour a day, and always start off with long tones, with a tuner. I was just wondering what the actual purpose of long tones is (what should I be looking out for, etc.) Any help appreciated:)
The fact that you had to ask that means you really havn't done any extensive long tone work. Most students can't make it through 2 octaves of a major scale up and down in thirds as long tones with out falling out of their chairs and their lips falling off onto the ground...
Do it and you will know ...
 

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Of course there are those who question the value of long tone practice. I don't know whether this attitude is specific to clarinetists but in the interest of debate let me provide this link:

Long tones by themselves are an inefficient use of your practice time.


I'm not necessarily endorsing this viewpoint but I think some of the objections are worth considering. If anything, you can read this as a call to do more with your long tone exercises instead of just mindlessly holding notes and drifting into inattentiveness.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Tim Price has suggested everyone do long tones chromatically from G down to deep G, but in such a way that you continue until you are completely and utterly out of air.
Peterogping, what is the normal "G" that you are reffering to and what is the "deep G"?
 

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I have been lazy lately and dropped long tones from my practice. I recently started again and the way I would do them was to work on intervals. That way not only is the focus on the core of the sound, the tuning, and airstream but also some interval work. The last few days I've been doing long tones in the palm keys. A different approach but I'm finding that it is a great way to focus on relaxing the jaw and letting the reed vibrate. That forces one to play with a more open and fully supported sound in the palms.
 

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for me, long tone helps with the following:
1. check for leaks, especially the low Bb :)
2. help you get acquainted with your horn with all the keys working (going down to Bb)
3. builds tone
4. builds stamina
5. helps us to remember the embouchure (I call them muscle memory)
6. look for evenness of tone quality, the attack, the ending (tapering) of the note, tuning, evenness of volume (can also practice at various volumes).
7. look out for the attack needed to get the various notes
8. improves coordination between the mind and various muscles, fingering work, embouchure, breath control
9. improves support (from diaphragm)

if there is only time for one practice, it will be long tone for me. but it may just be only me :)

enjoy getting intimate with your horn through your long tones.
Thanks for the advice!
 
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