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Importance of lacquer ?

Hello everyone.

I’ve been playing the Alto Saxophone for a year and a half now, I have a used Holton Saxophone which is over 20 years old a the lacquer has almost worn out. I’ve been planning to by a new student Saxophone (conn Selmer AS-710) which is a brand new Saxophone with a full clear lacquer.
Now most of the jazz gigs I’ve been to and most of the professional saxophonist I’ve seen use Saxophones without any lacquer.

So my questions are
1) what is the importance of lacquer to Saxophone? (Does is affect the sound, or is it just for the cool look ?)
2) Is the conn Selmer AS-710 a good Saxophone for a student / beginner ? (It’s definitely in my budget)

Thanks

Top-50 jazz sax players

Came across the list of "top 50 greatest jazz saxophone players of all time", thinking that the list is quite good. But I would place Pharoah Sanders at list in the Top-5 (he is in the end of the list, but, in my opinion, that's not right), for me he is one of the best ;Ornette Coleman was really great as well. What you guys think about the list and what changes would you make in it?

https://www.udiscovermusic.com/stories/50-best-jazz-saxophonists/ 

Star Wars

I am a alto sax player, but i don't compose music. i was wondering if any of those in this community were star wars fans and would like to write up a melody for star wars that isn't to hard. not a lot out there for this

Thanks

List of available jazz standards

Here is the alphabetical list of jazz standards lead sheets that are already done and available in our group 
(just to remind: everything can be downloaded as mscz file and transposed to any tonality you want)

All the Things You Are - https://musescore.com/user/27845251/scores/4962493
April In Paris - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/april-in-paris
Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes) - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/autumn-leaves
Bag's Groove - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/bags-groove
Body and Soul - https://musescore.com/user/27845251/scores/4962109
But Not for Me - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/but-not-for-me
Ballin' the Jack - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/ballin-the-jack
Caravan - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/caravan
China Boy - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/china-boy
Christmas Song, The - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/christmas-song
Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/do-you-know-what-it-means-to-miss-new-orleans
Estate - https://musescore.com/user/34714/scores/121561
Fly me to the moon - https://musescore.com/user/84373/scores/103144
Foggy day, A - https://musescore.com/user/28274246/scores/5041483
Frim Fram Sauce, The - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/frim-fram-sauce
Honeysuckle Rose - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/honeysuckle-rose
I Can't Get Started (with You) - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/i-cant-get-started
I Wish You Love - https://musescore.com/user/34714/scores/52280
I Won't Dance - https://musescore.com/user/10401/scores/4987740
Just Friends -  https://musescore.com/user/28274246/scores/5100461
La Vie En Rose - https://musescore.com/user/34714/scores/52287
Lester Leaps In - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/lester-leaps-in
Love For Sale - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/love-for-sale
Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?) - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/lover-man
Man I Loved, The - https://musescore.com/user/637886/scores/432436
Maple Leaf Rag - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/maple-leaf-rag
My Funny Valentine - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/my-funny-valentine
My Romance - https://musescore.com/user/28274246/scores/5041449
Old Country, The - https://musescore.com/user/34714/scores/52281
On A Misty Night - https://musescore.com/user/34714/scores/52289
Poinciana - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/poinciana
Round Midnight - https://musescore.com/user/27845251/scores/4984712
Royal Garden Blues - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/royal-garden-blues
Star Dust - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/star-dust
St. James Infirmary - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/st-james-infirmary
Smile - https://musescore.com/jmechmech/scores/5040821
Stella By Starlight - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/stella-by-starlight
St. James Infirmary - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/st-james-infirmary
Summertime - https://musescore.com/user/27845251/scores/4962990
Take The A Train - https://musescore.com/user/9331886/scores/4923174
What Is This Thing Called Love? - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/what-is-this-thing-called-love
What's New? - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/whats-new
Willow Weep for Me - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/willow-weep-for-me
Yesterdays - https://musescore.com/ericfontainejazz/yesterdays

Jazz standards transcription plan

This is our transcription plan. If you wish to make a lead sheet of any of these standards, please write "xxx started" and "xxx finished " when you finish it (where xxx is the number from the list). Don't forget to post the transcription into this group with a link to the score - and we will put it in our "Available standards" list. If you would like to post any other standard - that's also cool, just upload it and provide us with a link to it.

16. Sweet Georgia Brown
19. [in process] In a Sentimental Mood
20. [in process] St Louis Blues
21. [in process] How High the Moon
22. [in process] Oh, Lady Be Good!
24. [in process] Embraceable You
25. [in process] On Green Dolphin Street
26. [in process] Tenderly
27. [in process] The Way You Look Tonight
28. [in process] These Foolish Things
29. [in process] I'll Remember April
31. Sophisticated Lady
32. Ain't Misbehavin'
33. Night and Day
34. After You've Gone
35. Laura
36. Lush Life
37. Sweet Lorraine
38. Don't Blame Me
39. Cherokee (Indian Love Song)
40. Night in Tunisia
41. Indiana (Back Home Again in Indiana)
42. You Go to My Head
43. There Will Never Be Another You
44.Georgia on My Mind
45. Satin Doll
46. Prelude to a Kiss
47. I Should Care
48. Stompin' At the Savoy
49. How Deep Is the Ocean
50. I Cover the Waterfront
51. Come Rain or Come Shine
52. There Is No Greater Love
53. You Don't Know What Love Is
55. On the Sunny Side of the Street
56. Misty
57. Love Is Here to Stay
58. Perdido
59. Tea for Two
60. It Could Happen to You
61. I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good)
62. Skylark
63. Over the Rainbow
64. The Nearness of You
65. If I Had You
66. (I Don't Stand A) Ghost of a Chance
67. Angel Eyes
68. Out of Nowhere
69. Lover Come Back to Me
70. Darn That Dream
71. All of Me
72. More Than You Know
73. I Got Rhythm
74. Just One of Those Things
75. Mean to Me
76. September Song
77. Someone to Watch Over Me
78. I've Found a New Baby
79. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
80. Easy Living
81. Pennies from Heaven
82. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
83. Memories of You
84. It Don't Mean a Thing
86. They Can't Take That Away from Me
87. Star Eyes
89. [in process] Alone Together
90. Just You, Just Me
92. Things Ain't What They Used to Be
93. Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me
94. Blue Moon
95. I Surrender Dear
96. You Stepped Out of a Dream
97. My One and Only Love
98. 'S Wonderful!
99. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
100. Here's That Rainy Day

[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.

Don't you worry 'bout a thing arrangement.

Hey guys,

So I have a problem with the arrangement I am making for a Sax Trio. The song is called Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing by Stevie Wonder, but for this trio I wanted to transpose the Tori Kelly version from the movie Sing. 

Unfortunately, I don't know all of the notes since there are no other sheets of this version on the internet. I'd hope that some of you could help me with finishing this piece of music.

Thanks to those who would like to help!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI5VmfngnNQ

You can find my score in my profile ;)

Help with Sax sound

Hi everyone! 

New to the alto sax and i have a quick question, when i go to play i have about one or two seconds of just air and then the sound comes out fine - is this caused by my breathing, embouchure or reed? I have no idea? I just want a clean sound to come out the moment I begin. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! :)

Help with lower C#

Hi guys!

My daughter (11) has been really struggling with lower C# on her alto sax - she can play lower C and lower D nice and strong with any dynamics and articulation, but somehow the C# is a hit-or-miss affair for her. Her teacher suggested relaxing the embouchure a bit and putting more mouthpiece in, but it didn't seem to help much. Any suggestions will be much appreciated, but please note I am not a musician and I do not play any instrument myself so as plain English as possible, please. :-)
Also, any exercises you'd recommend? We've been trying interlaced scales (C, C#, D, C#, E, C#, etc.) and simple tunes so far.

Thanks!

Pawel

Resources for creating leadsheets

The following are resources that might be useful when creating a jazz leadsheet.

Song Indexes

* The fakebook tune index at Seventhstring.com is a very comprehensive and user-friendly index of many commercial and non-commercial fakebooks. It can be useful to compare various existing leadsheets when making one of your own.
https://www.seventhstring.com/fbindex.html

Other indexes:
https://library.buffalo.edu/music/collections/fake-book/
Several other fakebook indexes are listed at the bottom of the following page:
https://www.cs.hmc.edu/~keller/jazz/TheJoyOfFakebooks.htm

Song Lists

* The website JazzStandards.com has a list of the top 1000 most commonly recorded jazz tunes (a mix of popular song standards and jazz pieces written specifically for jazz performance). The website doesn't say exactly how the recordings used as the data set were chosen (for example, whether or not "jazz adjacent" artists like Frank Sinatra were included), but the resulting list will certainly be recognizable to anyone familiar with the mainstream jazz repertoire as it was played and recorded from the 1920s to the 1960s. This group's "transcription plan" is based on the top 100 songs on this list.
http://www.jazzstandards.com/compositions/index.htm 

JazzStandards.com also has articles and book reviews, including articles like "Performance Practice vs. Composer’s Intention" and "Harmony and Form of Jazz Standards" that would be of interest to people learning about how to document a tune in a leadsheet.
http://www.jazzstandards.com/theory/overview.htm

* The website Cafe Songbook has a "Catalog of The Great American Songbook" that documents several hundred songs commonly performed by jazz and cabaret artists, giving composer details and background information on them in many cases. They don't claim to have any kind of criteria for inclusion beyond the judgment of the editors (unlike JazzStandards.com, which has a list based on how frequently songs made it to commercial recordings). 
http://greatamericansongbook.net/pages/cat_pages/title.html

Background Information

* The Joy of Fakebooks (web page): This is an illustrated historical overview of fakebooks, written by Bob Keller, going back to "Tune-Dex" cards used by gigging musicians of the 1940s. 
https://www.cs.hmc.edu/~keller/jazz/TheJoyOfFakebooks.htm

This page also contains a link to a Google Docs spreadsheet by Keller that ranks fakebooks by all kinds of criteria. For example:
# number of tunes
# consistency of layout
# presence of song verses (introductory sections)
# readabilty
# chord substitutions
...and many others. 

The spreadsheet reviews some 120 fakebooks. Just by reading the criteria Keller uses to evaluate fakebooks, you can learn a lot about what stylistic decisions you will be making as you put together a leadsheet. 
http://spreadsheets1.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?hl=en_US&key=tqfLbKzNkWhtm4GW97PljIw&hl=en_US#gid=0

* "It’s Time to Get Rid of Your Real Book" (blog post)
Experienced jazz musicians are well aware of the fact that the original 1970s Real Book has many errors in the charts. But younger musicians, and musicians in places where jazz is not very common, might not know this. This blog post makes the case that it's time to get rid of the Real Book and use other, more accurate alternatives when learning jazz tunes (or creating a lead sheet yourself).
http://blog.danreitz.com/?p=1128

Tutorials

* A two-part tutorial exists for creating a leadsheet in MuseScore. This tutorial was written by Marc Sabatella prior to the release of the 2.0 software, and is slightly out of date (particularly regarding the need for plugins), but most of the information remains current.
https://musescore.org/en/node/11723 (Part 1: The Basics)
https://musescore.org/en/node/11726 (Part 2: Advanced Topics)

Marc is responsible for coding many of the nice features currently available in MuseScore for creating jazz charts, including the software's jazz chord symbol features. Marc also wrote a user guide to Musescore 2.0 (Mastering MuseScore), if you want to get something a little more refined than the community-authored user guide on MuseScore.org. Marc tirelessly answers new users' questions (including many of mine) on the MuseScore.org forums. His MuseScore user's manual is available for puchase here: 
https://masteringmusescore.com/go/books/

* Poor Butterfly and 'What Makes a Good Chart?' (blog post): In this two-part article, Peter Spitzer offers guidance on the art of creating a successful 'vanilla' leadsheet, using the standard 'Poor Butterfly' as an example. He starts with the original 1916 sheet music, then moves on to discuss leadsheets and chord changes published by Hal Leonard, Jamey Aebersold, Ralph Patt, and Dick Hyman. He then looks at the chord changes used on recordings by several jazz greats, comparing these arrangements to the leadsheet chords. It's an excellent demonstration of the kind of analysis and background research that can be used to create an accurate, general-purpose leadsheet that reflects both the composer's intentions and jazz as it is actually played in the real world. It's also very similar to the process used by the music editor of Chuck Sher's New Real Book series for putting together jazz charts of traditional popular songs, as described in Vol. 1 of that series.
http://peterspitzer.blogspot.com/2012/06/poor-butterfly-and-what-makes-good.html (part 1)
http://peterspitzer.blogspot.com/2012/06/poor-butterfly-and-what-makes-good_07.html (part 2)  
 
Jazz Theory

* Jazz musician and educator Stuart Smith has put his text Jazz Theory: 4th Revised Edition online for free. This text can be useful when you are trying to understand and make decisions about things like enharmonic equivalents  (e.g. "Is this chord a D#7 or an Eb7? Why does it matter?")
http://www.cs.uml.edu/~stu/JazzTheory.pdf  (.pdf file)

* The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine (Sher Music Co.). Available for purchase at Amazon and many other books stores and music stores. "A required text in universities world-wide, translated into five languages, endorsed by Jamey Aebersold, James Moody, Dave Liebman, etc." says the Amazon copy. Also recommended by jazz pianist and educator Billy Taylor and this group's Paul Ukena.
https://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Theory-Book-Mark-Levine-ebook/dp/B004KA9UX4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532956037&sr=8-1&keywords=jazz+theory+book+levine&pldnSite=1

* Jazz Theory Resources (Volumes 1 & 2) by Burt Ligon (Houston Publishing, Inc.) is another well-reviewed resource for jazz theory.
https://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Theory-Resources-Bert-Ligon/dp/0634038613/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1532985698&sr=1-1&keywords=Bert+Ligon+-+JAZZ+THEORY+RESOURCES

* MuseScore's own Marc Sabatella has written a book titled The Harmonic Language of Jazz Standards that may be useful to helping you understand why certain harmonies or chord substitutions are used by practicing jazz musicians, and what chords to choose when creating a leadsheet. Marc is a college-level jazz educator, and an excellent writer and communicator. His book is available for purchase here:
https://outsideshore.com/product/the-harmonic-language-of-jazz-standards/

Scores online

If you have an interest in popular songs written prior to 1960 (which most jazz musicians do!), there are many online collections of sheet music, including the following: 
https://library.stanford.edu/music/digital-scores
https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/search/index?filters%5Btype%5D=notated+music&keywords= 
https://www.loc.gov/collections/historic-sheet-music/about-this-collection/
http://digital.library.msstate.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/SheetMusic
http://library.indstate.edu/rbsc/kirk/popsong.html

Most online archives feature only public-domain works, which in the United States tends to mean works published prior to 1923 (so, a few early-jazz age pop standards like "After You've Gone" and "Alexander's Ragtime Band", but don't expect to find "All the Things You Are" or "'Round Midnight")

Miscellaneous

* "Review: The Story of Fake Books and the 6th Edition Real Book": A book review on Jazz musican and writer Peter Spitzer's blog concerning two works: a book chronicling the history of fakebooks, and the Hal Leonard Real Book (6th Ed.). Interesting nuggets taken from the history book included the fact that there was no known 4th edition of the Real Book (the 5th edition was apparently produced by parties not responsible for the first three Real Book volumes), and the fact that the FBI investigated the publication of the Real Book.
http://peterspitzer.blogspot.com/2011/04/review-story-of-fake-books-and-6th.html

* "The Vocabulary of Tin Pan Alley Explained" (journal article): A 1949 glossary of terminology related to the popular sheet music industry, with a few definitions related to jazz (including 'leadsheet', and one for the brand-new movement of be-bop). One amusing footnote: around the time this article was published, Downbeat had a contest to see who could come up with the best name to replace the old-fashioned term "jazz". The winner received $1000 ($10,000+ in 2018 dollars). The winning entry? "Crew-cut".
https://photos.app.goo.gl/KS3tUMUF57YFYvP78

+++++

More resources to be added to this list as I come across them. Suggestions are welcomed.