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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.

[article] Sax as a transposing instrument and writing music for saxophone

Saxophone (no matter what type we are talking about: alto,tenor, soprano, bari or some less used ones) is so-called “transposing instrument”. It means that you are “in a different key” than “concert pitch” instruments, such as piano, guitar, (double) bass, etc. If you are not familiar with the “transposing instruments” thing, I suggest that you read the first section of the wiki article before continuing with this review, it is pretty well explained there:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transposing_instrument

So, to get the pitch you need when writing some sax part, you need to transpose it up (from concert pitch):

  • For soprano sax: a major 2nd
  • For alto sax: a major 6th
  • For tenor sax: a major 9th (1 octave + major 2nd)
  • For bari sax: a major 13th (1 octave + major 6th)

As you can see the difference between soprano and tenor is one octave (as well as the difference between alto and bari).

Soprano and tenor saxes are called "Bb instruments", it means that for the “C” note in these instruments’ part the actual sounding pitch will be “Bb”.

Alto and bari saxes are called “Eb instruments”; so if you write the “C” note in some part for this instruments, you will actually get the sound of “Eb” concert pitch once it is played.

All this stuff seems to be quite complicated for someone that has never dealt with transposing instruments before, but using MuseScore notation software you can quickly make parts for saxophones even if you do not know all this transposing instruments theory (though this knowledge is vital for composers). There is a quick video tutorial on the topic, I'll post a link in the end of this post.

One more thing to remember: once you have written some sheet music for saxophone, check the range - the saxophone part (make sure that it is not shown in concert pitch, so unpress the “concert pitch” button in MuseScore editor while viewing the part) should have pitches only inside this range (from small octave “Bb” to 3rd octave “F”) :



The only exception is bari sax - it has the additional low “A” note, which, by the way, sounds pretty cool. Good arrangers, like Gordon Goodwin, often use this feature of bari saxophones. Of course, there are also altissimo pitches, but that is a separate topic for conversation.

If you wish, you can check the whole sax family at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxophone#Saxophone_family

This table from wikipedia is really “true to the fact”. Sopranino and sopranissimo saxes sound “higher” than concert pitch instruments: I mean that the first-octave “C” notated in sheet music for these instruments will actually sound as 1st-octave Eb and Bb respectively. All other saxes sound “lower than written”, just remember this rule. However, the most used saxes have been already mentioned before, so other ones are pretty rare,I should say.

And one more thing to be aware of when writing a piece for sax ensemble: saxophones and saxophonists are not perfect, and an arranger, especially writing for an amateur/student sax ensemble, or even for big band, should try not to overuse (I write the pitches that occur in sax part, not in concert pitch, of course) notes higher than 3rd octave C# (high notes tend to sound out-of-tune-high) and lower than 1st octave D (on some medium quality saxophones it’s hard to play those pitches, especially if saxophone is not in a perfect condition).

Don’t hesitate to add some thoughts and more tips on the topic in comments.

Transposing standards

You can easily transpose any standard found here using MuseScore notation software:
1) Download the score
2) Check out the links on "how to transpose":
a) If you need to actually transpose:
https://musescore.org/en/handbook/transposition#by-key - our handook
https://musescore.org/en/node/11708 - short howto video
b) If you need not to transpose, but just to make a part for transposing instrument (i.e. saxophone, clarinet, etc.):
https://help.musescore.com/hc/en-us/articles/360000367469-Making-sheet-music-for-transposing-instrument
3) That's it!)

Thematic sets of scores

Here are some links to arrangements grouped by topics in alphabetical order (thanks to Mr.Sax-O-Beat).

Arctic Monkeys https://musescore.com/user/1488461/sets/3961316
Blink-182 https://musescore.com/user/1488461/sets/3954021
Christmas Scores https://musescore.com/user/1488461/sets/3961291
Coldplay https://musescore.com/user/1488461/sets/3961256
Fall Out Boy https://musescore.com/user/1488461/sets/3954016
Gorillaz(https://musescore.com/user/1488461/sets/4808640
Marching Band Arrangements https://musescore.com/user/1488461/sets/4802554
Panic! At The Disco https://musescore.com/user/1488461/sets/3961221
My Chemical Romance https://musescore.com/user/1488461/sets/3953461
Rock (classic rock) Scores https://musescore.com/user/1488461/sets/3961331

Composed Works by Mr. Sax-O-Beat (https://musescore.com/user/1488461/sets/3961351)

Post your arrangements in the group, paste the link and description in comments here, and we will add your score and/or topic to this post, so it would be easy for all interested users to find it

Bach's works

Hi all !

My name is Wandrille, I'm 15, and I'm organist. Found of J.S. Bach and baroque music, I have got a challenge: upload all the arrangement of Bach's organ works, and maybe more, like cantatas, pieces of the Well Tempered Clavier, etc. If you are interested in all those works, you can have a look at my dashboard and I would be pleased if you decide to follow me.

Thank you very much for your attention, and god bless you all !

Sheet music for hymn needed

This is the song which i need sheet music, can you please provide me the original sheet music:

I was laden down with sin,
Full of wickedness within,
In the darkness of despair, regret and loss;
When I heard a gentle voice
And it made my heart rejoice:
“Come find rest, thy heavy laden, at the cross.”

At the cross, at the cross,
There my sins were all forgiven at the cross
There my burdens rolled away
There my night was turned to day
There I met my blessed Saviour at
the cross