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Discussion Starter #1
A couple years ago I figured out something that I'm sure lots of people know but I've never heard anyone mention....

If you have a sax that doesn't have a front F key you aren't limited to just the palm key fingering for high F and E....you can still use the front F fingerings with one slight change.

Basically, instead of using the front F key to open the palm F you're using the part of your Left Hand #2 finger that passes over the F palm key

Since there's no front F your Left hand #1 and #2 fingers are on their usual keys....Left Hand #3 is down for high E, up for high F

All the front F key does is open the high F key....SO... Since the Left Hand #2 finger that's on the A/C key passes right over the high F palm key anyway all you do is lower the middle of that finger onto the high F palm key and you get the same result as if you used a front F key

Even with a front F sometimes it's very convenient since you don't have to move a finger onto the front F and can go straight from A or G to high F or E
 

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Thanks for the reminder. You know the saying 'He's forgotten more than you'll ever know'? Well, I've forgotten most of what I knew about 'taken for granted' things. Its always good to go back to the fundamentals for a little review. No telling what you may discover. :)
 

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OK this is funny...by now I expected maybe a dozen comments from people saying "oh cool, never noticed that"

instead there's over 150 views from people thinking "pffft I already knew that" and not bothering to comment
 

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I’ve not found it as effective as it may sound.
Palming the f as opposed to the front F requires more accuracy as in how far you open the key.
If you can consistently just crack it open a tad it could be quite effective, but for me at least this is not an easy task.
Not a problem anymore as I no longer have my early 12M sans front F.
The Front F has the distinct advantage of its own adjustability as to how open it is set.
So while this is certainly a work around, it’s not something one would necessarily use if a front F is present.
Just my thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I’ve not found it as effective as it may sound.
Palming the f as opposed to the front F requires more accuracy as in how far you open the key.
If you can consistently just crack it open a tad it could be quite effective, but for me at least this is not an easy task.
Not a problem anymore as I no longer have my early 12M sans front F.
The Front F has the distinct advantage of its own adjustability as to how open it is set.
So while this is certainly a work around, it’s not something one would necessarily use if a front F is present.
Just my thoughts.
I was wondering about that....on my Mk vi alto the F seems to open the same amount whether I use the front or palm key...haven't checked my other horns

thanks
 

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You can adjust the front F key to open the pad any amount from barely cracked open to the same opening as the normal palm key operation.

Some horns like it just barely cracked open, some prefer it fully open, and some it just doesn't matter. I believe I own examples of all three. So that variation would play into whether the alternate fingering would work well or not for a particular player on a particular horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You can adjust the front F key to open the pad any amount from barely cracked open to the same opening as the normal palm key operation.

Some horns like it just barely cracked open, some prefer it fully open, and some it just doesn't matter. I believe I own examples of all three. So that variation would play into whether the alternate fingering would work well or not for a particular player on a particular horn.
Interesting....my selmer alto & buescher tenor open all the way, on Schagerl soprano it opens 80% or so
 

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I have used the high E key in place of front F on soprano to good effect in a few passages, but have not tried other voices. Obviously this is more likely to be a niche situation, but I thought it worth mentioning, as it interferes much less with overall hand position.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have used the high E key in place of front F on soprano to good effect in a few passages, but have not tried other voices. Obviously this is more likely to be a niche situation, but I thought it worth mentioning, as it interferes much less with overall hand position.
Interesting...I have to try that
 

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On my Conn 12M the high E instead of high F for the front high F pops right out, but about a quarter tone flat. I could see it working better, maybe, on an older soprano with their characteristically more flexible tuning.

The front F fingering is a weird one, anyway, because theoretically that note should be achieved as an overtone of Bb, not A. The very large tone hole (compared to an octave vent) acting as the vent clearly has a significant sharpening effect on the overtone, which implies that there's more to overblowing notes than a simple first-order understanding, like mine, comprises.

The front E is even more sharper than expected, as it is produced as an overtone of G, whereas in theory it would be an overtone of A. As a side note (pun?) I get a very clear high E by overblowing G# using the side E key as a vent.
 

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I've been using those fingerings on soprano for years, but with the side/top E key rather than the F which is technically much easier. They are very popular with Mk6 soprano players in the UK, but I use them even on a modern horn.
For the E which can tend to be a little flat on modern sops, I sometimes open the G# key which will bring it into line with top F (which tends to be a sharp note with front fingerings) and lets me relax my throat and make a bigger sound.
Or, sometimes I open the F# trill key with 3rd finger RH which will bring the E up just a little.
Which fingerings I use depends very much on context i.e. which notes I'm coming from and going to.
 

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I've been using those fingerings on soprano for years, but with the side/top E key rather than the F which is technically much easier. They are very popular with Mk6 soprano players in the UK, but I use them even on a modern horn.
For the E which can tend to be a little flat on modern sops, I sometimes open the G# key which will bring it into line with top F (which tends to be a sharp note with front fingerings) and lets me relax my throat and make a bigger sound.
Or, sometimes I open the F# trill key with 3rd finger RH which will bring the E up just a little.
Which fingerings I use depends very much on context i.e. which notes I'm coming from and going to.
Agreed. It may take some experimentation to find the fingerings which speak the best and have the best intonation.

I continue to have a hard time above C# on soprano for a couple of reasons:
First of all, I'm concentrating on classical music where there isn't much choice of how to use the notes up there. Whether a passage calls for a long held note at pianissimo or a fast 16th note run, you've got to find a way to play it. Those notes have to be clear, in tune, and above all, musical. I'm aiming for a "flute-like" quality. Practicing playing up there will drive every living being within 2 miles insane, including myself.

Second, I'm playing three different vintage little-horns (Bb soprano, C soprano, and sopranino) and the best fingerings for those notes are all different. I've got to be able to mentally adjust when I pick a different horn for a given piece.

I've lined a storage closet with thick blankets for practicing overtones and "altissimo". My wife seems to grocery shopping when I practice. I don't blame her.
 

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Agreed. It may take some experimentation to find the fingerings which speak the best and have the best intonation.

I continue to have a hard time above C# on soprano for a couple of reasons:
First of all, I'm concentrating on classical music where there isn't much choice of how to use the notes up there. Whether a passage calls for a long held note at pianissimo or a fast 16th note run, you've got to find a way to play it. Those notes have to be clear, in tune, and above all, musical. I'm aiming for a "flute-like" quality. Practicing playing up there will drive every living being within 2 miles insane, including myself.

Second, I'm playing three different vintage little-horns (Bb soprano, C soprano, and sopranino) and the best fingerings for those notes are all different. I've got to be able to mentally adjust when I pick a different horn for a given piece.

I've lined a storage closet with thick blankets for practicing overtones and "altissimo". My wife seems to grocery shopping when I practice. I don't blame her.
That's a lot to take on at one time. I personally concentrated solely on soprano for a protracted period. The other horns will just confuse you and hold you back.
 
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