Sax on the Web Forum banner
41 - 60 of 65 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member and Sax Historian
Joined
·
540 Posts
Paul, that's good of you to save your symphony orchestras from having to hire another player, but Bolero really ought to be done with two saxophonists. As you note, the sopranino color is very effective in the wind section; so is the tenor, soaring along in the upper register on the minor-key melody at #11 and the major-key melody at #13. Between rehearsal 12 and 13 the only change Ravel makes to the orchestration is adding the tenor (he also adds parallel thirds and fifths). It's like turning on the lights, the tenor is very evident.

I too have had to play both parts alone and just did it all on tenor and soprano, but I went back onto the tenor at 13 to provide this color to the melody (rather than playing doot-doot on the soprano). Although Paul has probably played Bolero 100 times as opposed to my 5 or 6, I urge other saxophonists who are in the unenviable position of having to cover both parts to do the same. Tenor at 6, soprano at 7, tenor at 11, soprano at 14 and out.

Not that there ever will be any more live music anyway.

Cheers
Robert Howe
I have no input into the symphony orchestra's budgets or hiring practices. They hire me for the saxophone part, I don't advise them . They do get an unpaid bonus (if that's what they call it) when I add the sopranino color. As I play the part I do go back and forth from tenor to sopranino, (avoiding the toot-toot section) and in every instance the sopranino is noticed, if not appreciated. And since I have 23 or so sopraninos, from 19th century to ones made recently, it is fascinating to hear how they work in a symphonic setting. As for the actual solo, I find splitting the solo between two instruments, even for one note, musically unsatisfactory regardless of the proficiency of the players. Also the range being so low unfavorably compares to the range of the solo in all the other instruments, making it less than elegant in the lower register, and especially compared to the absolutely perfect range for the Bb soprano, where it's singing timbre so effectively complements the solos of the other instruments. I have played Bolero perhaps 100 times over the years, about equally split between one and two players.
Paul Cohen
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member and Sax Historian
Joined
·
540 Posts
This is deeply puzzling. Ravel was in Paris, where Adolphe Sax fils was active, where there was a conservatory and where Couesnon was making sopranino saxophones in Eb. I have one dated 1927. Bolero was written in 1928. So Ravel should have known. Indeed, no F sopranino has ever been documented.
I have played Bolero on the sopranino in concert. It's a hoot, much easier than on soprano. The solo has only one note below the 'nino's range, the very last note; my tenor player filled that in for me (his fourth line D).
I have 5 'ninos. Three of them play (Selmer, Couesnon and Buescher), a Triebert which is a Couesnon stencil and a Paul Buescher (French not Elkhart) which is curved!
I'm the author of the 2004 study of Adolphe Sax saxes which is quoted in another post in this thread, this is for sale on EBay if you want it, it's listed with saxophones, not books.Saxophones in F and C
View attachment 101402 View attachment 101403
Selmer Sopranino, keyed to F#. Couesnon sopranino, keyed to D#
Note that the Couesnon, like the Buescher and almost every 'nino I have ever seen, is keyed only to Eb.
Another cool 'nino solo is in the jazz-band version of Rhapsody in Blue.
Cheers
Robert Howe
It is indeed perplexing that Ravel apparently did not know the F sopranino did not exist. I've asked many Ravel scholars about this, and no one has an answer. We can speculate, (just as can for Schoenberg's use of a C bass in his opera) but there is nothing definitive to report. It is a mystery still to be solved. The closest I came to an F sopranino was an early Evette Schaeffer sopranino hanging from a thread in an antique store in North Dakota. It was at least an inch shorter than my other period sopraninos. I was so excited to have found the elusive F sopranino; the right maker from the right time. Until I got home and found it was an Eb sopranino keyed from low B to high D. No "F" for me, but at least the horn plays well, and came with the original mouthpiece!
Paul Cohen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,860 Posts
I guess what ultimately matters is if it works enough for the individual that's really going to put the work into it. So far so good after a year and my inner ear has it closer to alto in feel more so than soprano. It's not as extreme as the piccolo which I also play. The Magenta Winds nino is a fantastic SA80 II copy.
101438
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,420 Posts
The F mezzo is a specialized F alto made by Conn. It is unrelated in bore and sound to the actual f alto, a few of which were made in the 19th century.
Paul Cohen
I don't want to derail the thread but do you have a recording of a recording of the sound of a a 19th century F alto?
Also, I'd be very interested to know the relationship between Adolphe Sax's C tenor and the C-melody -some people claim that the C-melody is a re-designed instrument, but they do not substantiate this claim.
Marteen Postma
(chose>history on the left panel and >1866 patent)
claims that the alto and the tenor have been redesigned around 1866 and that the taper of the tenor was increased (also, the parabolic bore was more or less abandoned; from detailed measurements he explains what a parabolic bore is).

I think the bore taper of the C-melody is indeed the taper of the pre-1866 tenor -the only difference would be that its bore has been straightened and is not anymore parabolic. I may be wrong, but I'm not sure Adolphe Sax has made a C-tenor after 1866 (his son made one, but it's probably irrelevant). So I'm tempted to think that the proportions of the C-melody have been copied from an Adolphe Sax C-tenor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
I feel like there will be a re-emergence of the Soprano with young players with the weeknds collaborations with Kenny G.

It also seems like every player I talk with who plays a Tenor also owns a Soprano. My opinion is that a Soprano does not look as cool and looks like a clarinet. Im not being disrespectful with that comment. Im someone who has a Bari and Alto but about to buy a Tenor and Id be shocked if my sax addiction didnt lead to also buying a Soprano in the future. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,779 Posts
Discussion Starter · #50 ·
I feel like there will be a re-emergence of the Soprano with young players with the weeknds collaborations with Kenny G.
The soprano sax doesn't need to "re-emerge"; it's doing quite well, as saxophones go. The soprano has never had a bigger role in classical music than it has today; it has become a standard jazz option; and it's still making appearances in various forms of pop music, as your post illustrates. The soprano is a standard saxophone whose horizons are limited mainly by the overall popularity of the saxophone family and the popularity of the genres of music in which saxophones are commonly used. There have been many threads here on that general subject.

But the sopranino is another story -- and that story is the point of this thread. There have been a lot of excellent comments addressing the nino's popularity and prospects.

My opinion is that a Soprano does not look as cool and looks like a clarinet.
One day years ago, I had four horns on instrument stands in my living room: Bb clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, and a straight soprano sax. My neighbor peeped in and commented, "Oh, you have an alto saxophone, a tenor saxophone, a clarinet, and [looking at the soprano sax] ... a bass clarinet!"

But that's why everyone should get a curved soprano. :)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member and Sax Historian
Joined
·
540 Posts
I don't want to derail the thread but do you have a recording of a recording of the sound of a a 19th century F alto?
Also, I'd be very interested to know the relationship between Adolphe Sax's C tenor and the C-melody -some people claim that the C-melody is a re-designed instrument, but they do not substantiate this claim.
Marteen Postma
(chose>history on the left panel and >1866 patent)
claims that the alto and the tenor have been redesigned around 1866 and that the taper of the tenor was increased (also, the parabolic bore was more or less abandoned; from detailed measurements he explains what a parabolic bore is).

I think the bore taper of the C-melody is indeed the taper of the pre-1866 tenor -the only difference would be that its bore has been straightened and is not anymore parabolic. I may be wrong, but I'm not sure Adolphe Sax has made a C-tenor after 1866 (his son made one, but it's probably irrelevant). So I'm tempted to think that the proportions of the C-melody have been copied from an Adolphe Sax C-tenor.
I don't want to derail the thread but do you have a recording of a recording of the sound of a a 19th century F alto?
Also, I'd be very interested to know the relationship between Adolphe Sax's C tenor and the C-melody -some people claim that the C-melody is a re-designed instrument, but they do not substantiate this claim.
Marteen Postma
(chose>history on the left panel and >1866 patent)
claims that the alto and the tenor have been redesigned around 1866 and that the taper of the tenor was increased (also, the parabolic bore was more or less abandoned; from detailed measurements he explains what a parabolic bore is).

I think the bore taper of the C-melody is indeed the taper of the pre-1866 tenor -the only difference would be that its bore has been straightened and is not anymore parabolic. I may be wrong, but I'm not sure Adolphe Sax has made a C-tenor after 1866 (his son made one, but it's probably irrelevant). So I'm tempted to think that the proportions of the C-melody have been copied from an Adolphe Sax C-tenor.
I don't want to derail the thread but do you have a recording of a recording of the sound of a a 19th century F alto?
Also, I'd be very interested to know the relationship between Adolphe Sax's C tenor and the C-melody -some people claim that the C-melody is a re-designed instrument, but they do not substantiate this claim.
Marteen Postma
(chose>history on the left panel and >1866 patent)
claims that the alto and the tenor have been redesigned around 1866 and that the taper of the tenor was increased (also, the parabolic bore was more or less abandoned; from detailed measurements he explains what a parabolic bore is).

I think the bore taper of the C-melody is indeed the taper of the pre-1866 tenor -the only difference would be that its bore has been straightened and is not anymore parabolic. I may be wrong, but I'm not sure Adolphe Sax has made a C-tenor after 1866 (his son made one, but it's probably irrelevant). So I'm tempted to think that the proportions of the C-melody have been copied from an Adolphe Sax C-tenor.
I don't have a recording, but here are some pictures of my 19th century F alto.
Paul Cohen
101461
101462
101463
Musical instrument Brass instrument Amber Wind instrument Gold
Sky Musical instrument Wind instrument Brass instrument Gold
Musical instrument Saxophone Reed instrument Wind instrument Music
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
"But the sopranino is another story -- and that story is the point of this thread. There have been a lot of excellent comments addressing the nino's popularity and prospects."

I apparently cant read. Sorry for going off topic.

To try to get back on topic..... do any of the 56 preset Saxophone sounds on the Yamaha Digital Saxophone include the Sopranino? Maybe this is a sign that at least the tone will be here to stay.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member and Sax Historian
Joined
·
540 Posts
I finally figured out how to get videos up and running in SOTW.

In an earlier thread, the sopranino part in Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" was mentioned. I thought to attach an excerpt from my CD "Vintage Saxophones Revisited" (still available!) where I discuss and play the sopranino in two excerpts, including the Gershwin.

This CD was recorded some years ago, before the Asian sopraninos were made and before Rampone introduced their very excellent professional line of sopraninos. (I have two of both and they are used regularly.) They need to be added to the list I mention in the video.
Paul Cohen


sopranino saxophone demo
 
41 - 60 of 65 Posts
Top