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Up Tempo Playing: Common Problems and Fixes (Everything Saxophone)

1858 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  BenBrittonJazz
I just wrote a post dealing with playing fast tempos, tongue positions, and articulation. It should be helpful beyond just up tempo stuff.
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Hi Ben,
i really appreciate if someone is trying do give young players tips and tricks how to get better. But i disagree slightly with what you say about the tongue position and articulation regarding speed in your last article. But maybe this is all depending on the view on it.

1. tongue position:
I've learned in university, when i studied the saxophone, that the postition of the tongue (using the vowels a, e, i) is influencing: intonation, timbre and response of a note.
By using it we can change intonation, change slightly the tone colour and optimize sometimes the response of a note.
A lot of young players for example have problems with the low notes because the tongue position is too high for the low notes (i instead of an a).
Having your tongue postion always down (a) is as bad and causes as many problems as having it always up high (i). Being flexible in the use of it is helpful.
Also it depends a lot on the player how much he has to change the position to get the wanted results.
Especially young players don't hear any difference in the beginning. Also using a more down position of the tongue doesn't mean that you have to use more pressure of the lips (depends again on the player). In my experience this only happens if the player is unflexible in changing tongue positions. This can result in overcompensating by lippressure.

There are two kind of ways articulations and accents can be produced i've learned: The one with your tongue (and all it possiblities) and the one controlled with your airstream. With the airstream it is not really articulation but accents you can produce. Many uptime players don't articulate that much with their tongue in a lot of 16th phrases but using the air to do some accents and by doing this are fast enough. Trying to do the same with your tongue can not work for most players (tonguearticulation in tempo 240 with 16th notes???).
But that is only what i learned at university some years ago, so maybe i'm wrong and i'm always willing to learn something new.
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