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Hi all,

I made allstate this year again which is great but, I have a problem. One of the pieces calls for a clarinet double that I do not play and I would need to rent a soprano for this part which does not seem to be a problem. However, the problem comes in when actually playing the piece, because it is written for a clarinet player it often goes up to F3 and G3 and for a first time soprano player I don't know if this would be something realistic for me to accomplish in one month (The concert is March 18th). The tune would sound a lot better with a soprano but if it is too hard the director told me (and the rest of the saxophone section), that we can play the parts on our regular horns. What do you think I should do for this? Any response is greatly appreciated

-Birdman
 

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Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2012-2015
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The soprano is a very tricky horn. I would say a month is kind of short if you have never played it before. The intonation is really hard to control at first. It requires a totally different kind of embouchure. As to those very high notes, you could always play them one octave down. Just an idea ...
Good luck!
 

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if you wanna be a hero and embrace the challenge, the quicker you take the plunge the sooner you'll know if or when to abandon the mission. but you'll have a few things that might present themselves as problems. 1) the instrument you're going to rent (quality?how playable for you?), 2) mouthpiece (playability for you?) 3) what reed to use? you could conceivably struggle for a whole month unsuccessfully without realizing or knowing that just a different mouthpiece or even a different horn would have made a world of difference. This may not be the right time to start experimenting. father amos
 

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I say try it and if you find that you can't do it in this short amount of time, then talk with the director and maybe someone else can play the double? But do this early so there are not any last minute problems.
 

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Probably should learn to play clarinet! Depending on the range of the piece, you could take the whole thing down an octave in a pinch.
 

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You ought to get in touch with the person who selected the music. He or she may not dig the part being played on soprano. If this is the case, arrangements can be made to have a clarinetist cover the part. IMO, the folks doing the auditioning should have made it clear that doubling on clarinet was required for first chair placement.
 

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IMO - RUN from the sop!!!!!! Use your regular horn!!!!!

Most rental sopranos are student level - Yamaha YSS-475 at best, usually something more like LA Sax or a Vito. I play sop in an orchestra, and about half of my music is clarinet. Besides the range difference between a sop sax and a clarinet, the volume difference is extremely challenging. The sax is louder, played soft, than a clarinet, played at it loudest. In my experience, playing a sop sax softly, with good intonation, over the entire range, with decent tone, is frankly better left to a professional (don't attempt it at home!) on a pro horn, that is already setup well. Trying to do all that on a student-level rental sax is impossible. Add to that having only one month - heck, it can take a year to find a mouthpiece/reed combo that works well for a particular horn and player.
 
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