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Lower lip position moving?

It is not discussed too often, but in fact each note fingered on the horn has an “optimal” spot (for lower lip) on the reed. It’s worth covering the edge of the reed with your lower lip for lower notes, whilst uncovering the read is done for higher notes - this allows more of the higher overtones to come out. That is accomplished by lower lip forward and backward movement (not up and down, which results in “biting”): less of the lip’s fleshier area and lip rolling away from the edge of the reed for higher tones (let’s say beginning with higher B - above the staff) and more of the fleshier area and rolling in the direction of the edge of the reed in case of lower tones. You can read more about the lip movement and embouchure in Chapter 6 of David Liebman’s “Developing a personal saxophone sound”

What do you think about this suggestions and what is your experience? I am eager to know how the stuff with lower lip works for you.

[article] The Embouchure

Embouchure is one of the main things affecting the quality and timbre of our sax sound. It includes lips,teeth,jaw tongue as well as almost all the muscles contained in our mouth and face. Embouchure affects both the air stream (finally) coming to your mouth and the characteristics of reed’s vibration. If one has some embouchure faults, it immediately results in unsteady, week and muffled sound and lack of control. Who wants to listen to and to produce that kind of sound ? I bet no one does. So here are a few words about embouchure appropriate for sax playing,

In other words, saxophonists’ embouchure is basically just “how do we hold the mouthpiece in our mouth”. Here is a simple algorithm:

  1. Place the top front teeth on the mouthpiece making sure they are centralized. You can figure the distance between the tip of the mouthpiece and your teeth only by trial and error, as it varies from player to player. Perhaps a good point to start with is about 10 millimeters and then to “find your own place” on the mouthpiece you are comfortable with.

  2. Slightly turn in the lower lip as if you are saying the syllable “v”.

  3. I prefer to obtain the right position of my tongue and lips by imagining that I am pronouncing ö (german o umlaut), as it combines approved and advised by saxophone pedagogues “o” position of lips with “ee” (like in english word “eat”) position of tongue, which makes the air stream (and, consequently, the sound) more focused.

  4. Finger the middle C or B note and blow your horn pronouncing “four” (according to Sonny Rollins) or “vo” (according to Eugene Rousseau) or “vö” (according to me)

But the main thing to keep in mind is that the embouchure should be “natural”. That means firm but relaxed, feeling maybe like putting a popsicle in your mouth; and let’s remember to avoid putting pressure on the reed with your bottom lip.

Playing long tones every day in the beginning of your sax practise session is an indispensable exercise for both our embouchure and breathing.

[article] Tonguing

Most of the sounds played by saxophonists start and end with tonguing, so I want to share with you some exercises which helped me (and, I hope, will help you) to achieve good tonguing technique. Feel free to add your exercises and suggestions as well.

  • Ex.1 Sing the “doo” syllable (pitch is not of importance for the exercise, but don’t change it during the process) repeating it but not interrupting, think of it as singing one long note. But don’t move your lips or jaw. Imagining that you are a ventriloquist really helps to get the right feeling. Notice that your tongue moves straight up and down. That is exactly the way notes are to be tongued on sax

  • Ex.2 Blow some note from the middle range of your horn for 3-5 seconds and then move your tongue up and touch the edge of the read still maintaining air pressure. Then pull the mouthpiece quickly out of your mouth. You should get a rush of air that quickly “escapes” your mouth cavity. If the air stream is weak, then you didn’t manage to keep the pressure behind your tongue. Practise this exercise till you succeed in it, as keeping the pressure even when you don’t play a sound is of much importance for right tonguing

  • Ex.3 Blow again some note from the middle range for 3-5 seconds and then move the tongue up to the read touching it (remember touching somewhere near the edge but not the middle part or the end of the reed) and then immediately down. Keep the speed of tonguing (it’s worth starting from “note tonguing” every 4 seconds). Strive for continuous sound, tonguing should not affect the quality of it.

That exercises I found in John O’Neil’s book long time ago and I felt I benefited from practising them even though I had been already playing saxophone for many years.

When actually playing some music, remember thinking of tonguing like separating long tone into parts (but not making separate sounds, so not splitting in any case) rather than ending every note and beginning another one. The air pressure should be constant and the sound stops immediately when you put your tongue on the read but it continues again immediately when you put it off.

As a warm-up I practise finishing notes both with tongue or without it (maybe adding a small vibrato on the end of the tone for jazz music).

I’ve described the basics of tonguing, but, of course, “in real life” sometimes you need to tongue something stronger and not only “touching the very tip of the read”. In fact different areas of tongue when touching different areas of reed (not only the tip) provide wide range of articulations. See Chapter 5 of “Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound” by David Liebman.

Garage band

I have been using your sheet music quite a lot to put into an iOS application as a piece of sheet music called garage band (check it out sometime.) it isn't able to show other people online what you do though. I think all of the trombone music is great because you use the melody, and not the background tones. Try it and see how it is!

P.S. try adding a live loop, select the new/blank, hit the plus sign, go to other and select brass ensemble. The space above Octave 2 (white) is an F on the trombone

Feedback wanted for a Brass Quartet score

in Brass

Hey,

I was requested a brass quartet arrangement for a Stardew Valley song (the arrangement is here : https://musescore.com/user/5174461/scores/3443856). However, I know close to nothing about theses instruments. I asked the "requester" (is that a word ?) for some feedback but it's been something like a month so I'm not sure I'm gonna get any... I'd still like to finish this arrangement properly so here I am seeking feedback :)

I've already been searching the web for advices but I'm not sure theses replace real experience with the instrument.

Some of my worries / concerns :
Some things may be weird, unplayable, and so on. The song is very rhythmic focused, so I think it's important every player can play his/her part very accurately, or the whole thing will
feel unstable - which is why it's not a good thing if some part are weird to play (some percussions would remove this concern, but it wouldn't be a brass quartet arrangement then)

More precisely :
- if there's not enough time to breath
- if a part isn't in the good range for the instrument (too high / too low / makes thing too difficult)
- if a part is just too quick to be played accurately
- if a part is too tiring for the player
- if a part is assigned to the wrong instrument (another instrument would play the part more easily)

In particular :
- measure 5-9 : not sure whether tuba or trombone has the easiest time for this part. It seems to be more in tuba's range but can definitely be played a bit higher if needed.
- measure 10-17 : same as above for tuba/trombone (for both parts). Also I removed a lot of stuff from the bass line (played by trombone) in order to make it more playable, but maybe that's not enough or is not necessary
- measure 18+ for trumpet : is that even remotely playable for trumpets ? Is it too tiring on the long run ? (i.e. I should switch the trumpets often, or even shorten the whole thing because it repeats a lot in the original song)
- measures 26-33 for tuba : is that too quick ?

Thanks a lot !