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Discussion Starter #1
Alto solo in new piece for community band has thrown up a challenge...
:space4: :line2: :space4:
Am I the only one who has difficulty doing this quickly without the lower G getting hung up? Or do I/ my horn / my mouthpiece / my reed / the horse I rode in on/ all of the above suck?

Is there something I'm missing to make this particular transition fast and smooth, or do I have to cheat and put a little re articulation on the G to get it to speak. Its hard to get the low G to speak quickly while sluring down and then quickly back up to the E. Practice is probably the answer isnt it, but any hints or tips of what to practice (other than the obvious) would be appreciated:)
 

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It might help if you release the octave key just a split second before you finger G. But the key is throat control and breath support. When slurring down, you have to have a good breath support and open your throat.

Exercises that might help :
- play E4, go to E5 without using the octave key and back to E4. This gives you the control over your throat. Repeat the same on every note from Bb3 to G4.

- play G5, and try to hit G4 without releasing the octave key. Repeat the same on every note down to C4
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks Jolle, I'll give that a go.

What I have found helps is starting the phrase without the octave key, using it only to jump back up to the E5. (I cant get it to jump fast enough without...its a fastish 16th note thing, if it was slightly slower there is no problem with response and its easier to get it to play the high E5 with a bit of attack...so hard for me to slur up that way so far without the octave key)

Its getting better with practice. Taking a tiny bit more mouthpiece into my mouth also seems to help.
 

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Canadiain said:
Alto solo in new piece for community band has thrown up a challenge...
:space4: :line2: :space4:
Am I the only one who has difficulty doing this quickly without the lower G getting hung up? Or do I/ my horn / my mouthpiece / my reed / the horse I rode in on/ all of the above suck?

Is there something I'm missing to make this particular transition fast and smooth, or do I have to cheat and put a little re articulation on the G to get it to speak. Its hard to get the low G to speak quickly while sluring down and then quickly back up to the E. Practice is probably the answer isnt it, but any hints or tips of what to practice (other than the obvious) would be appreciated:)
It would be interesting to know just how fast you need to go.

If, after trying some of the techniques I'm sure you'll see in the preceding and following replies, you are not able to do it at concert time, then rearticulation is reasonable, and the better you hide/soften it, the less it will matter.

The "correct" answer, though will be more a matter of voicing -shaping your oral cavity, tongue and embouchure to facilitate the changes. A well-adjusted sax will "play itself" a lot better than most people realize. I first became aware of just how much so in a lesson in college. I was having trouble with a wide leap and complaining about not being able to change my voicing quickly enough to make the notes speak. The sax professor asked for my sax and held it in such a manner that he could finger it, turning the neck so I could blow into it. He told me to make a basic sound out of it and began fingering all sorts of wild leaps and passages -95% of which sounded pretty good. Since I couldn't predict what he was going to play, it was all the sax making the changes.


My suggestion is to stop thinking of slurring down to G from E, but rather to try thinking of and voicing for low G while you are playing the E. The octave key will make the E come out anyway.

The initial exercise to facilitate this would be to practice slurring UP (and back down) from low G to E while leaving the G embouchure/voicing intact.

Good luck, and let us know what, if anything, works for you.
 

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awholley said:
The "correct" answer, though will be more a matter of voicing -shaping your oral cavity, tongue and embouchure to facilitate the changes...
My suggestion is to stop thinking of slurring down to G from E, but rather to try thinking of and voicing for low G while you are playing the E. The octave key will make the E come out anyway.

The initial exercise to facilitate this would be to practice slurring UP (and back down) from low G to E while leaving the G embouchure/voicing intact.
Excellent advice!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Its based on the french carol Patapan I think... the phrase in question is an eighth and a couple of 16th notes at about a 120 tempo, repeated. At about 100 its not a problem.

The horn is in great shape...but its still fairly new to me and I'm still learning its ins and outs. I wouldnt even be trying to do this right on the old one;) Sluring up is not a problem, its getting the break going down, which seems to be a lot easier if I just leave the octave key out of the equation.

The tip to release the octave key before heading down to the G makes a lot of sense in that context...I just need to get the brain to do it now:)


I take it its not just me that has problems with this then? I will try focusing on voicing the G.
 

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Awholley's suggestion is right on.

You might also check that the pitch of the mouthpiece and neck is no higher than an Ab concert. Playing too high on the pitch can also make fast register changes difficult to play.

John
 
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