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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was recently on a week long camping trip deep in the mountains. We were staying in a gorgeous valley with a crystal lake and snow capped mountains all around. Pine trees.... aspen trees... old growth and thick forest. I decided to take my saxophone with me.

Playing in the valley was a hoot. There was about a 7-8 second delay if I played towards a certain mountain before it would echo back to me. I have found this to be a wonderful and beautiful practice method. I was able to play a lick, wait, and hear it come back to me in a distant reverberated quality. Not to mention hearing it as it came out of the horn itself and reflected off of nearby trees.

What I learned from this excercise: I came back with a much greater handle of my new mouthpiece. I feel that my embouchure has strengthened and adjusted to the larger tip opening I am now using. I don't run out of air as quickly anymore, and can sustain a long tone that is at correct pitch. I have a much better handle of the correct method of vibrato, and I even learned how to work in the growling technique in my playing. I discovered one altissimo note... although it is in the regular range of my horn so it's not incredibly useful. The note I discovered is a high E, by fingering a saxophone G with the octave key depressed and tighening my embouchure I can produce an altissimo E. That note is not above the normal range of the horn though, as it goes to high F.

Overall, I reccomend that any players going on a trip into the mountains take their saxophone with them. It is an excellent practice opportunity, and also a safety measure. I say safety measure because on the fourth day in we sighted a bear down the valley moving towards our camp. I took out my sax... and began walking towards the bear. I got within 200 feet and the bear was still headed towards us... until I started playing. I began playing the horn as loudly and energetically as I could while walking towards the bear and it was scared off by the power of the sax!
 

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Overall, I reccomend that any players going on a trip into the mountains take their saxophone with them. It is an excellent practice opportunity, and also a safety measure. I say safety measure because on the fourth day in we sighted a bear down the valley moving towards our camp. I took out my sax... and began walking towards the bear. I got within 200 feet and the bear was still headed towards us... until I started playing. I began playing the horn as loudly and energetically as I could while walking towards the bear and it was scared off by the power of the sax!
It was probably just annoyed... I would be too if I were out for a walk in the woods and heard that kind o' garbage.

Why not try to sooth the savage beast? Something like Wayne Shorter's "Infant Eyes" could sound nice and prove an excellent substitute for long tones as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I wasn't trying to make it feel welcome. In fact, I let loose a few terrible squeals by biting the reed with my lower teeth for good measure because those pitches hurt animal ears. If I played soothing music, It may well have come into our camp and then we would have had to shoot it. Next bear I run into in the mountains I will try to soothe though and see what happens...
 

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An illegal act.
It should be remembered that the saxophone is a crepuscular instrument....not intended to be played in daylight.
It works best late at night in smoky clubs. My Martin has a time lock on it's case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
An illegal act.
It should be remembered that the saxophone is a crepuscular instrument....not intended to be played in daylight.
It works best late at night in smoky clubs. My Martin has a time lock on it's case.
Its ok my friends were smoking and my sax and I were wearing blindfolds. Just kidding.... I did play it in the night a lot. Do you realize how big of an issue light pollution is? In the mountains I could see the glory of the milky way and all of the stars reflecting in my gold wash bell... it was incredible. Not many people get to play saxophone to a night sky like that!
 

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Clearly you were stoned. I tend to feel similarly enthusiastic of the bass line in Rush numbers when in that condition....but I prefer not to tell everyone.
 

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I think if I spent the time, energy, and money to go into the north woods on vacation and heard someone playing harmonics on a saxophone I would stalk them, shoot them, and mount their horn over my mantle. Just sayin'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Clearly you were stoned. I tend to feel similarly enthusiastic of the bass line in Rush numbers when in that condition....but I prefer not to tell everyone.
I'm not quite sure what to say.... but I believe you may have just told everyone that dark secret.:faceinpalm: I won't admit anything about what we were smoking online... It was most certainly tobacco like good responsible people destroy their lungs with....:whistle:

And for clarification... are you criticizing me for playing being excited about playing saxophone in the mountains day and night?

I think if I spent the time, energy, and money to go into the north woods on vacation and heard someone playing harmonics on a saxophone I would stalk them, shoot them, and mount their horn over my mantle. Just sayin'.
Sad to hear... Good luck. We were also armed. And it was pretty good playing accompanied by banjo, guitar, harmonica, bongos, a djembe, a tambourine, and a few recorders.... I'm sure you would loose heart and motivation once you were a little closer. That or you would have to shoot a lot of people... and destroy the future of camp music...
 

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Don't listen to those who say the sax belongs in smoke filled clubs. For one thing, smoke has been banished from most such places, which means the sax belongs almost nowhere. For another, consider that the great classical tenorist, James Houlik, is very fond of holding retreats in mountainous places during the summer months.
 

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I love playing in the mountains of New Mexico. I live close by to them and go many times during the year. The natural ambiance is just awesome. My wife loves to lay in the hammock and groove with the horn. Everything is pretty remote here in the mountains so I don't bother anyone.

All said, one of my favorite places to play other than the studio. :)
 

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i've tried playing jazz in a forest in hawaii once... i just felt silly and obnoxious, like i didn't belong there.
Some years ago I was foolish enough to play out to sea while sitting on a cliff edge; within minutes I was surrounded by adders....serves me right, the last thing the wildlife needs is their rural idyll disturbed by noise pollution from hippies &, especially, folkies.
 

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i've tried playing jazz in a forest in hawaii once... i just felt silly and obnoxious, like i didn't belong there.
You have to know the tunes that the endemic birds sing. Then you'll belong:)
 

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I just want to add that the problem about playing outdoors is you have a good chance of annoying someone unless you go somewhere that you know that you're the only person there.

I can appreciate both sides of the issue . The musician communing with nature and people that want only " natural " sounds in the mountains or wherever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hmmmm... I didn't really know there was an issue here. The saxophone is an instrument that I play whenever and wherever I want to... and thats how I view it. As far as disturbing people... we were the only ones around for probably 10 miles or so... And practicing outdoors is a great way to work on tone, especially when the echo flies back at you and you can analyze it... we all know about Sonny Rollins and the bridge.... This is Danny and the Mountain...
 

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Hmmmm... I didn't really know there was an issue here. The saxophone is an instrument that I play whenever and wherever I want to... and thats how I view it. As far as disturbing people... we were the only ones around for probably 10 miles or so... And practicing outdoors is a great way to work on tone, especially when the echo flies back at you and you can analyze it... we all know about Sonny Rollins and the bridge.... This is Danny and the Mountain...
Yeah like I said if you know you're the only one there then there's no problem.

Not trying to step on your special experience.
 

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we all know about Sonny Rollins and the bridge.... This is Danny and the Mountain...
Most of us can also spot the obvious difference....perhaps my attempts to establish a motorcycle circuit on Dartmoor will fail. :tsk:
In my view it's better to leave nature as it is & play saxophones where they are appropriate....steamy clubs late at night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Most of us can also spot the obvious difference....perhaps my attempts to establish a motorcycle circuit on Dartmoor will fail. :tsk:
In my view it's better to leave nature as it is & play saxophones where they are appropriate....steamy clubs late at night.
Have you ever been deep in the Rocky Mountains? It seems, respectfully, that my view in this matter will always differ from yours Captain Beeflat. At least we both have in common the love of an ill-begotten timeless saxophone called the C-Melody, and for that.... Cheers!:salute:
 

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Have you ever been deep in the Rocky Mountains? It seems, respectfully, that my view in this matter will always differ from yours Captain Beeflat. At least we both have in common the love of an ill-begotten timeless saxophone called the C-Melody, and for that.... Cheers!:salute:
:bluewink:
 
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