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Plz help!

I just started playing alto sax last week for a summer program and I think all in all it’s an easy instrument to start off on (maybe because I have been playing clarinet for 3 years). But I am still struggling with holding it. It’s very heavy and sometimes my thumb is swollen from holding it. My friend who has been playing alto sax for 4 years says my sax is bigger than hers. I’m sure its alto because my music teacher gave it to me and I can’t switch it out for a different one. Does anyone have any tips on how to hold the sax? Thxxx and I appreciate it- Flutinetist ^~^

Who needs "rules"? What's this nonsense about "rules"? I'm a drifter born to walk the road!

This my take, and what I do when I write music, and how I judge others' music. Your mileage may vary.  Comments welcome.

“I don’t want to sound like Bach or Mozart — rules are for fools and drones with no imagination! I’m a rebel, like Joyce, Stravinsky, and Picasso!”

Who likes or needs “rules”? Who wants to be told where they can or can’t talk, use their cell phone, eat, or park for free? What is this nonsense about books full of “rules” for music, saying you “can’t” use two successive fifths, or sevenths not followed by the note below? Or that fugues “have to have” “expositions” and “episodes” and follow “rules’ preached by other books about what their notes are “allowed” to do?  Are music lovers so arrogant and condescending that they listen to music trying to play “gotcha” when notes don’t do what some damned music professor said they ought to, and laugh and reject that music? Or is this a scam to ensure salaries for “music teachers” who are paid for putting red “X”s on people’s scores? 

And didn’t tremendous artists like Schoenberg, Jackson Pollock and Allen Ginsberg become famous by “breaking rules” (as did Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart)? I never saw a music-police wagon pull up and arrest somebody for “breaking the rules”…. 
I see scores here every day, usually attempted complex contrapuntal forms such as fugues and canons, with “I know, I didn’t follow the rules! Sorry!” as a (lame) excuse for why they (almost invariably) sound amateurish, dissonant, and disjoint.

In the past, before the internet and easy-to-use, free score editors, musically sensitive people who went to concerts or church or listened to the vanished thing called “classical radio” would there hear great music of the past. The industrious among us might try to learn more about it by buying “phonograph records” (which, once invested in, had to be listened to many times to justify the acquisition), and scores, ditto, and perhaps trying to play the music they heard on a piano or simpler keyboard,. And maybe we might even buy some music paper, and pencils with erasers, and try to write some new music, and eventually arrive at the conclusion that this stuff was pretty complicated: as with stage magicians, the fact that serious music looks “simple" when done correctly is the very fruit of the art — if you do not learn how to be a magician-musician, the result on stage will be sad and transparent failure.

If you were lucky, you might have been near a good library (mine was almost an hour away) with a good section on music-theory books, or perhaps knew a professional musician, student, or teacher, who could explain how to write music that sounds, to whatever degree, like the music you heard and wanted to emulate. And you would learn that there are indeed methods, abstractions, technologies, and yes, “rules” (many of which differed from century to century and place to place) which causes the music of historical composers to sound the way it does, not like “old music”, but like well-written prose or a well-painted picture, where the parts contribute to the whole, each sentence expresses a logical idea, questions that are raised are answered, and there is no spattered paint or typos all over the piece.  That, not genius or matchless inspiration, is why their music sounds like classical music instead of the uninformed tinkering of beginners. But it is utterly possible to inform yourself, and, with care and diligence, move beyond being a beginner.

If you are a native English (for example, it’s true in any language) speaker, you don’t say “I write my sanata yesterday with C major”, because it’s not English. Any native English speaker knows that, and although we understand it, we use and prefer (reasonably) proper spelling and grammar. Grammar is not a scam to pay teachers; people who speak English (or French, Russian, Arabic, or Japanese) competently not only speak in credible grammar, but best understand and appreciate correct utterances in their respective languages. The same is true of classical music — if you want your creations to be understood with ears accustomed to the form, texture, gestural vocabulary, and overall idiom of that extremely broad genre, you must “do the same thing”, “speak in that language”, i.e., follow the same rules. Failure to do so will prevent your work from sounding like competent classical music.

These “rules” were devised by musician-composers skilled in teaching, in order to codify and transmit, to their pupils, and to us, what they knew about writing music, so that they and we could do it, too, and express our own creativity. The rules of tonal music are not a strait-jacket, but a power tool.

As with every other art, those who “broke the rules”, such as Picasso, Joyce, and Stravinsky, were fully competent in the traditions of their arts before creating iconoclastic work.

"Your mileage may vary."

Help needed

 Hi everyone :)So I need to choose my best rondo I composed for practicing it in my summer holiday (I know sometimes composers don^t know how to play their own pieces) so I need your help. All 3 rondos are in my profile but I will leave the links here for easy access. Thanks to all the people who read this and helped me:) Love you all <3

Help needed

 Hi everyone :)So I need to choose my best rondo I composed for practicing it in my summer holiday (I know sometimes composers don^t know how to play their own pieces) so I need your help. All 3 rondos are in my profile but I will leave the links here for easy access. Thanks to all the people who read this and helped me:) Love you all <3

Help needed

 Hi everyone :)So I need to choose my best rondo I composed for practicing it in my summer holiday (I know sometimes composers don^t know how to play their own pieces) so I need your help. All 3 rondos are in my profile but I will leave the links here for easy access. Thanks to all the people who read this and helped me:) Love you all <3

Are Fugues really easier to write than canons?

I have written full canons before and I have attempted writing fugues. But every attempt at writing fugues, at least 4 voice fugues leads to parallel octaves because I'm like:

Okay, I have reached an octave, now what? Going down to a 7th won't work  because that will lead me back to the same octave. Going to a 9th also won't work unless it is between the tenor and the alto because I can't play a 10th interval with a single hand so if the 9th is between the tenor and the bass or between the alto and the soprano, my only choices are either to go back down to an octave or to leap. Going back to an octave seems like the better option because I conserve leaps, but it just delays the resolution of the octave. Contrary motion to a 6th might work, but what if that doesn't fit with the harmony? Only other solution I can think of that doesn't break the parallel octaves rule is a leap in 1 or both voices involved in the octave. And in general I want to use as few leaps as possible outside of maybe a subject entry, and if I have to use a leap, I would prefer a third over a sixth. 

And I end up not finishing the fugue

Now I've been told that the distribution of 4 voices in a keyboard fugue is generally that the bass voice is alone in the left hand and that the other voices are generally in the right hand. But, it seems to me, that having 2 voices per hand just feels more balanced. I have also been told by a few people that fugues are easier to write than canons. Now this seems very counterintuitive to me. In a canon, you have the same melody, just delayed by a certain amount in each line. Sometimes this has a ground bass below it. I won't give an example from Pachelbel because you all know it. Instead, here is a 4 voice canon by Mozart played by a string quartet:


As you can see, every voice is playing the same exact melody until the cadential section is reached.

In contrast, fugues seem in all ways more complicated than canons. If I had to describe it as a cross between 2 forms, I would say that it is a cross between the canon and Sonata form. It has the main melody in multiple voices, just like a canon. And sometimes there are 1 or more countermelodies that also appear in multiple voices. There is also motivic development which is similar to what you find in Sonata form. 1 thing that differs the fugue from both canons and Sonata form is that the voices are like completely independent even if you don't take time into consideration. Time is what makes the lines of a canon independent. Fugues have lines that are independent through melodic shape alone. Sonatas rely on the relationship between melody and bass. No such relationship in fugues. In that sense, sonatas are closer to a ground bass canon.

And like I said before, I have never written a complete fugue, just a few complete canons. Even something like Fugue in C minor WTC I seems easy for a fugue but hard for counterpoint in general and especially compared to canons. Here is the fugue I'm mentioning and this video uses color to show the 3 independent voices:

So are fugues really easier to write than canons if they are almost like a cross between the canon and the sonata? If canons are hard, then wouldn't fugues be even harder? 

I need some new song ideas

A friend and I are seniors in high school and we have a band. I play alto saxophone and he plays drum set. We have played at basketball games, in school concerts, and background music at various school events. Our next (and possibly last) performance is going to be at our graduation, so obviously we want it to be our best performance yet. Our problem is we cannot seem to find a good song/songs to play. We are looking for something fast, upbeat, and fun. Somewhere between 3 to 15 minutes would be perfect. Some of the songs we have played before include: Shipping Up To Boston, Megalovania, Blue (Da Ba Dee), 300 Violin Orchestra, Harder Better Faster Stronger, Eye Of The Tiger, ect. Hopefully that gives you a good idea of the type of music we enjoy playing.

Any song suggestions would be very helpful. Also, if you have any other places I could post this question please let me know. Thanks in advance for any suggestions anyone gives.