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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys need some help. I have recently purchased and use A Jupiter 767bl Int alto. playing along with my teacher we harmonize nicely when i come home and try to play to a CD or a Song on the internet the horn sounds slightly different. i bought sheet music books for alto sax and that is what i have been learning the songs from but like i said when i play along with a CD or Radio not the same sound, sounds off ke
y. any ideas or am i doing something wrong?
 

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When I play along with the Hal Leonard CDs, I find I have to push my mpc in slightly to come up to pitch. Its like the CD is just slighly sharper than what my digital tuner says, and what I tune to with bands.

most of the play along CDs have a tuning track. play that track with a digital tuner in front of the speaker and I'll be to you see the needle is indicating the pitch is slightly sharp.
 

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mpc is short for mouthpiece

just to rule it out has your teacher told you that saxophone is a transposing instrument?
 

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Porc32, when you play along with any kind of recorded medium whether on the radio, TV, or CD, there will often be some small difference in pitch. There are standards for pitch that are generally followed with the A above middle C being 440Hz (cycles per second) and referred to as A440 or standard concert pitch. This has been the agreed upon standard of pitch in the U.S. since some time in the 1920's and was made official in the 1930's. It is generally what is followed in music worldwide these days. But all kinds of things can affect the pitch, from the tuning of the original artists to distortions (accidental and deliberate) through the recording process. By moving your mouthpiece further in or out on the neck cork you can make your pitch higher (push in) or lower (pull out) and normally can easily adjust to whatever music you're playing along with.

You appear to be a new player and I hope this has not seemed condescending. And things like mpc for mouthpiece and a host of other abbreviations are just part of the jargon used here and other places where musicians chat. Just ask (as you did) if you don't know what something means. We're all on the learning curve, just at different places on the journey. Hope this helps. Keep playing and good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@Soul Patch Paul Thank you very much made perfect sense to me and yes i am very much a new player understand music and alot of the fingering just was'nt understanding the difference in the pitch i was hearing. but with that bit of explanation i understand clearly. thanks again.
 

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Glad to help out, just as so many here have helped me out since I came on here a couple of years ago. And just a note about the sax being a "transposing instrument"__ the short version; when you play a C on your alto the concert pitch of that note (that same pitch as found on a piano) would be an E-flat. The alto sax is an "E-flat instrument". If I play a C on my tenor sax, that same pitch on the piano would be a B-flat. The tenor sax is a "B-flat instrument". That's a quick stab at an explanation. If you have access to a piano (that's in tune) or a decent keyboard, you can experiment a little and come to understand more about how it all works. Music is a wonderful combination of science, math, and artistry. There are folks here at SOTW who have forgotten more than I have ever known (and I started when I was six). Welcome to SOTW and keep coming back for information and education and fellowship with some really terrific people.

And keep practicing and have FUN!
 

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porc32, Soul Patch Paul has explained the transposing and pitch issues very well. When I read your original post I wasn't sure if you were playing along with the radio/ Cd by ear or whether you were using sheet music. If you're playing by ear it may be the pitch issues as SPP explained. If you are using sheet music for piano which is written in concert pitch the alto will be playing in a different key because of the transposition. For a piano piece in C the alto will need to be playing in the key of A to correspond. Bear in mind too that if you have alto sheet music for a particular tune and you have that tune on a CD it may not correspond because the sheet music was written in a different key to make it sit better in range for the sax or perhaps in an easier key to make it more suitable for a beginning player. The best person to ask is definitely your teacher because he will know your level of playing and musical knowledge. As SPP said this is not intended to be condescending, and I hope is helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
so if i buy sheet music for a alto sax. I learn that music and when i try to play it in time with music say of a mp3 of that song it should be in tune? it is just very discouraging that when i start playing to the radio it doesnt sound the same, i hope the above issues take care of my problem.
 

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Music written for an alto sax will NOT necessarily be in tune with an MP3 or that same song on the radio. It will all depend on the arrangement and instrumentation of the recorded song. Songs are transposed into many different keys for different groups, vocalists, styles, etc. The best way to be sure you have music you can play along with is to buy alto sax music that comes with a CD. This is very common these days with lots of written music, both for beginners and for some more advanced studies. I keep a small CD player in my practice room for just this purpose. The written music will have corresponding numbers to tracks on the CD. Most will have the choice of listening to the piece played with a backup group and the melody, or played with just the backup group and YOU play the melody (sometimes they call this "minus one" recording since the "one" playing the melody is left out).

There are LOTS of music books with CDs and I think they are a great learning tool as well as a fun way to get a sense of what it's like to play along with a combo or a band. Hope this helps. Don't be afraid to ask. We've all been there.
 

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There's something else that could interfere.
Some computer just have weird sound systems that may play too fast or slow, raising or lowering what you hear coming from them.

Welcome to SOTW!
 
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