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Discussion Starter #1
I recently got a curved soprano and now have all of the four common saxes. I was dreading the intonation and tone because that's what people say, and because the 30 minutes I had spent prior to soprano very much backed up that experience. But it really wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. In fact, it seemed to be not much different than adding any other sax to my repertoire.

I went from bari to tenor to alto to soprano, so each time I was going the next smallest one. It was kinda the same process. Took a few minutes to figure out the airstream of the low notes. And then it took an extended time to get the intonation on the high end of the horn. Tenor took me a while to adjust to the high notes, alto took me less time, and soprano just took me a couple days. Each time I had figured out how to play the high range of the bigger horn pretty well before moving on to the smaller. And each new horn felt like a progression from the last.

Soprano had a few differences... when first playing, every single note was roughly within a semitone of where I intended it to be. It took some effort to make middle D not sound the same in pitch as middle C#. But something clicked on the 3rd day I was playing it and it became much easier to play the horn in tune with itself, and give it a tone that would make people want to simply beat me rather than kill me.

In fact, there is something about the focused airstream that seems almost easier to grasp for me. Moreso than the bigger saxes I felt really in tune with the air I was pushing across the reed. Once I was feeling it, the intonation on the higher notes came much easier, and altissimo G and A just popped right out. The embouchure that's working for me is a lot looser than I expected.

Its still going to take time to get this thing sounding good, but I already feel like I made a mental breakthrough on it, and its just going to be a matter of time to solidify it.
 

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Yes agreed! - a focused airstream is the key to soprano. The smaller horn requires that the focus be more precise. And then, there's the secondary challenge of being relaxed, free, and expressive, while still retaining that focus.
 

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I remember thinking exactly the same thing when I first acquired a soprano.

And then I recorded myself. . . . Uh, oh.
 

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I've recently started working on the hate crime that is altissimo on soprano, and I find it more difficult than when I learned it on alto and tenor. But for the "normal" range of the horn, I agree, it comes along pretty quickly. Enjoy your new toy!
 

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"I've recently started working on the hate crime that is altissimo on soprano, and I find it more difficult than when I learned it on alto and tenor. But for the "normal" range of the horn, I agree, it comes along pretty quickly. Enjoy your new toy!"

Aren't you worried about summoning every dog in your zip code?
 

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"I've recently started working on the hate crime that is altissimo on soprano, and I find it more difficult than when I learned it on alto and tenor. But for the "normal" range of the horn, I agree, it comes along pretty quickly. Enjoy your new toy!"

Aren't you worried about summoning every dog in your zip code?
My dog hates it when I play any saxophone in his presence. I'm sure he'd love company to come and howl angrily with him.
 

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I remember thinking exactly the same thing when I first acquired a soprano.

And then I recorded myself. . . . Uh, oh.
Exactly. My thought when I read the title was... "record yourself". Not saying that in a negative way. It lets you be objective when evaluating your playing. That's why I don't record my playing anymore :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Exactly. My thought when I read the title was... "record yourself". Not saying that in a negative way. It lets you be objective when evaluating your playing. That's why I don't record my playing anymore :)
No need for that, I wasn't thinking I sounded good. I figure I have a year or so before I could make that claim. Its more that I can clearly see the path to getting there. I was thinking intonation was going to be much more of a struggle than its proving to be. Comparatively, when I started on alto the higher notes were a lot more out of control, and I didn't have any ability to deal with it. Whereas after a couple days on the soprano my higher range is a lot more controllable relative to the alto when it started, and I can consciously fix the intonation issues easily. And while the tone isn't great, its also not the ultra thin unpleasant sound that I tended to have on all the other horns early on. Basically, I am a lot further along already than I expected to be, and have a high degree of confidence that I can get it to where my other horns are.

Having said that, I am playing on it at a show next Friday ;) But don't worry, just for one song, and I am covering a synth part that is doing pitch bending that isn't meant to be in tune, or even particularly pleasant sounding.
 
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