Top Groups

Discussions

Solo transcriptions

Hello everyone! I am a professional improvising sax player (mainly tenor sax). Created this group to post sax solo transcriptions synchronized with youtube videos/audios.

Have posted first 2 solos - check out them in "sheet music" section of the group, here they are:
https://musescore.com/user/27845251/scores/4993696
https://musescore.com/user/27845251/scores/5008464

Please feel free to post solos transcribed by you and sync them with original recordings on YouTube.

See the post below on synchronizing scores with youtube videos/audios

List of uploaded Big Band Scores

Artie Shaw - Begin The Beguine https://musescore.com/user/15949686/scores/4838425
Artie Shaw - Moonglow https://musescore.com/user/28533401/scores/5157250
Benny Goodman - Bugle Call Rag https://musescore.com/user/27675080/scores/5013328
Benny Goodman - Don't Be That Way https://musescore.com/user/28203240/scores/5040076
Benny Goodman - King Porter Stomp https://musescore.com/user/15949686/scores/4888735
Benny Goodman - Let's Dance https://musescore.com/user/28203240/scores/5056650
Benny Goodman - Sing Sing Sing https://musescore.com/firefly_1026/scores/4488746
Benny Goodman - Stompin' At The Savoy https://musescore.com/user/27675080/scores/4978025
Bob Crosby - March of The Bobcats https://musescore.com/user/30820781/scores/5384690
Bob Crosby - Muskrat Ramble https://musescore.com/user/30998215/scores/5652370
Charlie Barnet - Cherokee https://musescore.com/user/28533401/scores/5375044
Charlie Barnet - Skyliner https://musescore.com/user/28533401/scores/5152338
Count Basie - 920 Special https://musescore.com/user/30998215/scores/5429209
Count Basie - One O'Clock Jump https://musescore.com/user/27675080/scores/5015851
Count Basie - Swinging The Blues https://musescore.com/user/30820781/scores/5402187
Count Basie - Topsy https://musescore.com/user/30998215/scores/5469141
Duke Ellington - Cotton Tail https://musescore.com/user/30998215/scores/5625439
Duke Ellington - Don't Get Around Much Anymore https://musescore.com/user/28203240/scores/5036429
Duke Ellington - Perdido  https://musescore.com/user/32889124/scores/5685436
Duke Ellington - Take The A Train https://musescore.com/firefly_1026/scores/4798345
Fletcher Henderson - Christopher Columbus https://musescore.com/user/30998215/scores/5403489
Glenn Miller - A String Of Pearls https://musescore.com/firefly_1026/scores/4069741
Glenn Miller - American Patrol https://musescore.com/firefly_1026/scores/4827801
Glenn Miller - Chattanooga Choo Choo https://musescore.com/user/27675080/scores/4990560
Glenn Miller - In The Mood https://musescore.com/user/15949686/scores/4834474
Glenn Miller - Little Brown Jug https://musescore.com/user/28203240/scores/5018623
Glenn Miller - Moonlight Serenade https://musescore.com/user/27675080/scores/4908130
Glenn Miller - Song Of The Volga Boatmen https://musescore.com/user/15949686/scores/4835592
Glenn Miller - Tuxedo Junction https://musescore.com/user/28533401/scores/5066591
Harry James - Ciribiribin https://musescore.com/user/30820781/scores/5389157
Harry James - You Made Me Love You https://musescore.com/user/30820781/scores/5380116
Tommy Dorsey - I'm Getting Sentimental Over You https://musescore.com/user/28533401/scores/5164668
Tommy Dorsey - Opus One https://musescore.com/user/30820781/scores/5383955
Tommy Dorsey - On The Sunny Side Of The Street https://musescore.com/user/15949686/scores/4882152
Tommy Dorsey - Song Of India https://musescore.com/user/28203240/scores/5055557

Guaranteed Feedback on Saxophone Scores

Hey, everyone!

This is Joshua, and I'm a composer and a performer and a new admin for the group Saxophone Ensembles. I just wanna generate some discussion and get some activity for these forums. Alex has done a really great job so far with his helpful information. Now, it's my turn: to do this, I think the best way to start would be a feedback form: post your scores to the group or just post a link in this chat and I'll do my best to give feedback. Arrangements or original compositions, I'd love to look at all of them and give feedback. This is just to raise some awareness for this community and also get activity going. Expect more discussions and whatnot in the near future.

So, if you want any feedback, I'd be happy to give some to your saxophone score. Post to this discussion or just send to me and I'll take a look at it.

Techniques

Can we have a thread where people post all of the different things about how to play woodwinds, starting with the basics of how the sound is produced and how the keys work, and going to various techniques such as fluttertonguing and other things? I think it would be a help for composers who want to write for woodwinds but don't play them (such as myself). I know the basics from Orchestration by Samuel Adler, but it would be nice to have them explained from actual wind players.

Collection of scores: sax solo or with accompanying instrument

This is a collection of scores for sax+accompaniment (sax+piano or sax+guitar) or solo scores, mostly of classical style, provided by ORWELL6 ( https://musescore.com/user/139709 ), checked by me. I also added some scores there. Please feel free to post more scores of this type (post in this group for now and paste the link to it in comments).

The idea is: If we get more shit music of this type, we will create a separate group of classical sax scores, which will contain this set as a part of it.

[article] Breathing

One of the most important, even the most important aspect of saxophone playing technique is producing sound. Well, that’s obvious: after all, music is the sequence of sounds, and if some musician can’t produce full, nice, let’s say “high-quality” sound, then it’s not worth practising anything else - both the performer and the listener won’t like any music such musician could ever play. But the good news are: with “right” breathing and embouchure (position of lips and everything that is in and around your mouth) anyone can produce the sound he or she really happy with. So let’s deal with the first part of it in this overview: breathing. I’ve been playing saxophone for 17 years and would like to share the information on the topic I find extremely useful.

Actually there are three breathing methods that we use during our day-to-day life. Those are: clavicular (colar bone), chest (throatic) and diaphragmatic. In order to get a full-supported sound on saxophone we need to combine all three methods, but the accent should be put on the diaphragmatic breathing, as this one is the most efficient for our goal: wind instrument playing.

So, what is diaphragm? I don’t feel like inventing something new here, but just referring to wikipedia article instead: it is ” a sheet of internal skeletal muscle that … separates the thoracic cavity, containing the heart and lungs, from the abdominal cavity and performs an important function in respiration: as the diaphragm contracts, the volume of the thoracic cavity increases and air is drawn into the lungs.”

The idea is simple: the air flows naturally to the place with less resistance. So all we need is: 1) Exhale as much air as we can, thus making our lungs a low resistance area 2) Inhale expanding our chest cavity as much as we can to get more air (for our future use in playing instrument) - that is done by lowering of the diaphragm. When playing saxophone during exhaling we “support” the air column contracting the stomach muscles, meanwhile preventing the diaphragm to get quickly to the initial “upper” position, That enables us to play long musical phrases with steady tone/sound.
Here are some exercises on the topic.

To feel the diaphragmatic breathing

  • Ex.1 While lying on the floor (or on the bed or couch if your floor is too dirty:) place an average sized book on your abdomen area. Just breath in a regular way and you will notice the rise of the book when you breath in and the fall of it when you breath out. So the whole breathing process consists of expansion during inhaling and contracting on exhaling

  • Ex.2 To feel the diaphragmatic floor extending: bend over, place your hands on the back of the abdomen area and inhale.Then slowly straighten up and try to get the feeling in the abdomen. For more extreme example try panting like you are out of breath while you are bent over.

To practise the diaphragmatic breathing

  • Ex.3
    1. Place your hands on the abdomen or on the back of the abdominal area
    2. Breath in.with your mouth. I visualise it like being a balloon filling with air (under high pressure) by some pump. So the idea is the quick and powerful air flow to your lungs; quick sip of air, kind of “sucking” it through some imaginary straw.
    3. Breath out with a loud whispered sound, something like “ah”. Try to do that as loud as you can and don’t interrupt the sound. In several days you should be able to reach at least 10-15 seconds of sounding this way.

In this exercise feel the muscles in the abdomen squeezing more and more until you run out of breath. Try to exhale all the air you have, think of it as of squeezing out a sponge. At first squeezing is gentle, but when the sponge runs out of water it becomes more tight. And then - back to step 2. Do it several times, from 10 to 20.

Remember: when inhaling don’t raise your shoulders. Of course they will rise( but just a little !) as the chest cavity expands filling with air, but our goal is diaphragmatic breathing, so focus primarily on the expansion in your abdomen area.

Very thorough study of breathing process and its connection with saxophone player I found in David Liebman’s “Developing A Personal Sound” book, also John O’Neil’s “Jazz Method For Saxophone” contains some useful information on the topic. I’ve mentioned only some pieces of information from the books in this article.

Share more thoughts, breathing exercises in comments. I am eager to know your experience on the topic as well.

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.

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

Using [Basic] Counterpoint for Strings, and Starting Out

Writing for strings can be a difficult process and there are so many variables whenever you delve into writing for string players. This strategy may help with some problems, but not all problems will be fixed automatically.

Use counterpoint to help add to your melodies. Keep in mind that you need to be acquainted with counterpoint and counterpoint isn't always easy. If you need help with counterpoint, I'll give you some advice.
- Whenever you have only one line [melody], use the following intervals: Unison, major/minor seconds, Major/minor thirds, Perfect fourths/fifths (watch out and don't use fifths more than once), Major/minor sixths, Octaves or perfect eights... Notice there aren't any Dissonant or augmented values [you're allowed to write them If you don't want strict counterpoint]!
- If you have two voices and want to make each voice singable, be sure to use the following intervals: Unison, Major/minor thirds, Perfect fifths [watch out for paralles] (fourths make it harder for your singers), Major/minor sixths, and Octaves/perfect eights... Notice there aren't any Dissonant or augmented values [you're allowed to write them If you don't want strict counterpoint]!

That's all you need to know. Start with writing for solo instead of a duet. After you learned a little more about counterpoint from that; Write one (more) solo for viola. Afterwards, write a duet piece for any 2 string instruments; Follow the advice for singable voices.

NOTE: THIS ISN'T ALL THERE IS TO COUNTERPOINT IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE, GO TO THIS VIDEO SERIES ON YOUTUBE: https://youtu.be/JcqrGLvs95M?list=PLA660D90FB432BD69. TURN UP YOUR VOLUME CAUSE IT'S A BIT SILENT.

Rag Tales album

My new album "Rag Tales" is out now. You can find it on Spotify, ITunes, Apple Music, and Google Play among others. I got started right here on Musescore when I was invited to the ragtime players group. Please check it out. I think you will enjoy it. Thank you friends. Just search for " CJ Brandt" or "Rag Tales". Thanks again

Rag Tales album

My new album "Rag Tales" is out now. You can find it on Spotify, ITunes, Apple Music, and Google Play among others. I got started right here on Musescore when I was invited to the ragtime players group. Please check it out. I think you will enjoy it. Thank you friends. Just search for " CJ Brandt" or "Rag Tales". Thanks again