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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On my alto, I can play all notes cleanly except when I play a C using the low C key along with holding in the octave key ( I believe this is the alternate C fingering). When I play this note, I get the note plus an octave higher at the same time. All other notes play fine. Anyone know what is causing this?
 

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Do NOT play a "middle C" using the low C fingering with the octave key. I don't care who tells you that it's a viable "alternate fingering". It's not. That fingering is used in overtone series, but in my 40+ yrs of playing I have never......not one single time.......used that fingering to produce what's known as your middle C, no matter how difficult the line of music is. Middle C is traditionally played left hand middle finger. The alternate for that note is to finger a B (first finger, left hand) and add the middle RH side key. This is also how you trill from B to C. Seriously......FORGET the idea that a low C with the octave key is a viable alternate fingering for middle C.
The way the horn is physically designed makes it impossible for that note to come out clearly and focused when fingered that way. THAT'S the problem, not you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I have no problem playing it on my tenor but not alto. It just seemed easier when playing a desending run from the upper notes down to C. That's when I am using it.
 

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+1 to what jgreiner stated above. Why would anyone play a LOW C using the octave key?!

If you want to play C2, still in the first register and not using the octave key, the standard fingering is with the left hand middle finger only. It's true you can also play that same note by fingering low C (xxx/xxx + low C pinky key) and playing the overtone; you can do that to get a 'special effect' because the timbre is different, but you still are not using the octave key. Alternating between the standard fingering and the low C overtone is a cool effect, but you wouldn't normally finger C2 using the low C fingering.

Hopefully that all makes sense to you. Let us know if you're still confused about it.
 

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It just seemed easier when playing a desending run from the upper notes down to C. That's when I am using it.
?? I can't make sense out of that. Maybe you can describe the fingering you are using for that 'middle' C.
 

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Thanks for the feedback. I have no problem playing it on my tenor but not alto. It just seemed easier when playing a desending run from the upper notes down to C. That's when I am using it.
"Easier"? Well.....maybe, but not really. Just like anything else you do, the easier thing is often/usually not the BEST way. Trust me......do it the RIGHT way for a week and you'll slap yourself for ever doing it the other way. Plus, as you know it truly sounds like crap!

*Edit*....... To clarify (I think what JL is confused about as well), for a LOW C (below the staff), the fingering is ONE way: 123,123, RH pinky. For a middle C (in the staff): LH middle finger and as an alternate/trill, finger B and open the middle side key with your RH. That's IT....PERIOD.
How long have you been playing and have you ever taken a lesson with an actual saxophone player? If not, DO IT NOW. Trust me, you'll save yourself a lot of correcting wrong things later by learning the correct/proper way now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
?? I can't make sense out of that. Maybe you can describe the fingering you are using for that 'middle' C.
If I'm playing a G with three fingers plus the octave key, then F, E, D, C holding down the octave key, I'm just adding a finger on my right hand with playing C with all fingers plus the thumb octave key. I was using this fingering if I was going down to C then back up. It seemed easier than removing all fingers except one for C. Obviously, your way is something I need to practice more especially when moving fast between C and D. Hope this makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
BTW, I have taken lessons. One of the problems of taking lessons is your taking advice from someone who may not play the way you do. When you're a beginner, you can't always access the teachers qualifications and abilities. In my area, you end up having a choice between 2-3 teachers, not the ability to see these people on stage before signing up. Having said that, my original issue still exists. Why can I play that on tenor and other altos but not on my alto?

The answer given here is a little like me saying my arm hurts when I raise it and then someone telling me not to raise it. LOL
 

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Because that C fingering is not clear and contains more lower harmonics, it becomes important for jazz, rock, etc., particularly playing the C correctly and alternating with the 'false' C for the 'ooh-baa' effect. The low C might also be held at other times to add depth to certain notes for the purpose of doing a lip trill. There are a lot of tricks to the sax that you really aren't ready for but you got to start rockin' at some point. :)
 

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If I'm playing a G with three fingers plus the octave key, then F, E, D, C holding down the octave key, I'm just adding a finger on my right hand with playing C with all fingers plus the thumb octave key. I was using this fingering if I was going down to C then back up. It seemed easier than removing all fingers except one for C. Obviously, your way is something I need to practice more especially when moving fast between C and D. Hope this makes sense.
In this case, it's not "his way", it's "the way".
 

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BTW, I have taken lessons. One of the problems of taking lessons is your taking advice from someone who may not play the way you do. When you're a beginner, you can't always access the teachers qualifications and abilities. In my area, you end up having a choice between 2-3 teachers, not the ability to see these people on stage before signing up. Having said that, my original issue still exists. Why can I play that on tenor and other altos but not on my alto?

The answer given here is a little like me saying my arm hurts when I raise it and then someone telling me not to raise it. LOL
Hey, we're not talking about stylistic differences here ("someone who plays like you do"). We're talking about the fingering chart you get handed the first week.

The reason you can make a note sound more clearly with a non-standard fingering (not "alternate" - the alternate is the side key) on one instrument than the next is that they are made slightly differently. But the correct analogy to your question is "when I pick up a running lawnmower and try to use it as a hedge trimmer, my Craftsman mower does a better job than my Toro. Why is that?"
 

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If I'm playing a G with three fingers plus the octave key, then F, E, D, C holding down the octave key, I'm just adding a finger on my right hand with playing C with all fingers plus the thumb octave key. I was using this fingering if I was going down to C then back up. It seemed easier than removing all fingers except one for C. Obviously, your way is something I need to practice more especially when moving fast between C and D. Hope this makes sense.
Ok, I think I know what you're saying now. Except I don't know why you mention the fingering for G, which has nothing to do with this. If I understand correctly, you are talking about going from D2 to C2, across the octave break. Yes, that does take some practice because you need to lift all fingers except the middle left hand finger and lift the octave key. The answer is the same as it is for all fingering issues. PRACTICE.

Why not play C2 when moving down from D2 by simply adding the low C finger (keeping the octave key open)? --you ask? Because as jgreiner implied, doing it that way can lead to other problems. First of all, the C played that way doesn't sound as good, in addition to fighting the multiphonic that you are having a problem with--the octave break is there for a reason--and might create an intonation problem (I'll have to check that when I get out the horn later). Also when playing certain phrases, that fingering could cause all sorts of problems; what notes are you moving to next? For example, if the next note is B2 (first finger left hand down, no octave key), you'll still have to lift all those fingers in addition to the pinky finger to get there. And playing various scales or phrases could be very awkward with that fingering. There is a reason certain fingerings are standard. And sure there are alternate fingerings that can be useful, but that fingering is not one of them.
 

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might create an intonation problem.
LOL, my experience is that the whole D5 /C#5/ C5 area is a world of intonation issues at the best of times, although some bell key stopper adjustment helped reign in my worst tendencies.

I get where the OP is coming from, and sometimes you can get away with this, but tonally its just muddy. So as everyone else has said. the best bet is just to practice going from xxx xxx to oxo ooo until you can play it slickly enough.
To be fair too, its listed on this comprehensive chart, so its not a total abomination to try it! https://www.wfg.woodwind.org/sax/sax_alt_1.html

So, although it may be an alternative fingering, its probably the last choice alternative, based on sound quality if nothing else. At the risk of focusing too much on just one word of the original post, its definitely not considered "the" alternative fingering.

Going back to the second point made that it worked on tenor but not Alto thats not really a surprise to me, often times there are noticeable differences between what works on Tenor vs Alto, and in all likelihood this is just another of those quirks. Kind of like how some altissimo fingerings dont transfer from one horn to the other either.
 

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Because that C fingering is not clear and contains more lower harmonics, it becomes important for jazz, rock, etc., particularly playing the C correctly and alternating with the 'false' C for the 'ooh-baa' effect. The low C might also be held at other times to add depth to certain notes for the purpose of doing a lip trill.
Yeah, that's what I though Orion was referring to initially, but playing the C overtone on low C doesn't include the octave key. So a different issue.
 

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BTW, I have taken lessons. One of the problems of taking lessons is your taking advice from someone who may not play the way you do.
Okay, I'm going to be a bit harsh and to the point here, but I'm not intending to offend you.......so take that however you want.

No. The "problem" with taking lessons is that YOU don't know what you're doing and the teacher (hopefully!) does. Turf had some great (and funny) analogies, which are all true! Again, no offense, but you're a beginner and to most of us, that means we truly don't know what we're doing. We've all been there. I know I certainly have. I'd wager that any legitimate saxophone teacher (not someone who was self taught but you think is "good") could and would set you straight about this whole fingering fiasco within 3 minutes of your first lesson. I assure you I would. That's not being mean or "not the way you do". It's the CORRECT way.
I'll close with this. Feel free to do whatever the heck you want, but if you're wanting to progress beyond beginner status, the first thing you need to do is how to finger notes correctly. Yeah, some are a pain at first, but just like anything else, doing it that way for as little as 10 minutes straight will fix the issue. The big problem with bad habits is once you do them for a length of time, it becomes incredibly difficult to change them. Again, ask me how I know!
Oh, and the reason alto and tenor react/sound differently is because they're two different sized and pitched instruments. MANY notes on alto don't sound or feel the same on tenor (literally and figuratively). One last analogy. Comparing the sound of alto to tenor is like comparing the sound of a lawnmower engine to a V-8. But they're both engines....... ;-)

The end.
 

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Do NOT play a "middle C" using the low C fingering with the octave key. I don't care who tells you that it's a viable "alternate fingering". It's not. That fingering is used in overtone series, but in my 40+ yrs of playing I have never......not one single time.......used that fingering to produce what's known as your middle C, no matter how difficult the line of music is. Middle C is traditionally played left hand middle finger. The alternate for that note is to finger a B (first finger, left hand) and add the middle RH side key. This is also how you trill from B to C. Seriously......FORGET the idea that a low C with the octave key is a viable alternate fingering for middle C.
The way the horn is physically designed makes it impossible for that note to come out clearly and focused when fingered that way. THAT'S the problem, not you!
But c'mon JG...tell us how you really feel.....



:bluewink:

H But the correct analogy to your question is "when I pick up a running lawnmower and try to use it as a hedge trimmer, my Craftsman mower does a better job than my Toro. Why is that?"
Damn...what a great idea !
 

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Sigurd Rascher lists an alternate fingering for middle #C as standard low C# with octave, and specifies that fingering in some exercises. I don’t use it, and i know it isn’t middle C.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ask one question and people get crazy. This forum would be more welcoming if people didn’t assume the person asking a simple question doesn’t know sh#t about sax. A simple question should lead to a simple answer. Instead people want to make it complicated to show how much they know. I posted in the beginner because I couldn’t find a better place for my question. I know the difference between a tenor and alto. As I said, this fingering works on other altos so I was curious why it doesn’t work on this particular alto.

I’ve been a member of this forum for 12 years. A lot of reading but not much posting. Why? Because people want to jump on anyone asking a simple question. I should have known better than to ask this time.
 

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Ask one question and people get crazy.

I’ve been a member of this forum for 12 years. A lot of reading but not much posting. Why? Because people want to jump on anyone asking a simple question. I should have known better than to ask this time.
I hope you didn't take the fact I simply answered your question, once you clarified what it was you were asking, as "jumping on you." We are all trying to help out, not put anyone down or "show how much we know." I get the impression you aren't happy with the answers to your question; if that's the case then why even ask? None of us have anything to gain by putting you down or going "crazy." We're trying to help...
 
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