Kev, I have done pretty much everything in my career. I studied Oboe, Clarinet & Sax at Music College, MD'd for Billy Ocean and Sally Oldfield, worked in BBC kids' programs, the National Theatre, Apollo Sax Quartet, Nyman Band, London Orchestras, sessions, films etc etc. I cover everything, but not necessarily all at the same moment! After years of playing a lot of classical and being quite into it, I am at the moment moving slowly back to my Rock & Jazz roots!
That's an interesting comment. Back when I used to play in quartets a lot I switched between the different saxes. The one I had most trouble with was tenor. It never sounded right but I really had no concept of what it should sound like. It seems I was not alone.Classical tenor is a tricky one: very, very few people get the sound right.
Quite right Nick, almost no one who studies classical saxophone at Music College has any idea what classical tenor can sound like, because most (not all) of the professors are principally alto players, and in my time at College, principally clarinet players. Also, most of the big star classical players on the continent have no real idea either. This is because most players do not start on tenor, so they transport their alto technique and developed musculature onto the other saxes without questioning. In some ways it is not surprising, because in order to get around the tenor parts of the Sax Quartet repertoire, one has to be just as adept as if one were playing one of the other voices. The problem arises that although that 'cludge' works OK for soprano and to an extent for baritone, it simply doesn't work properly for tenor. The alto's technique makes the tenor's low notes become difficult, the sound become strangled and often, the pitch and intonation a bit weird. The tenor has to be voiced a bit lower, but not too low. The lip has to be looser, but not too loose, the pitch centre lower, but not flat etc etc.That's an interesting comment. Back when I used to play in quartets a lot I switched between the different saxes. The one I had most trouble with was tenor. It never sounded right but I really had no concept of what it should sound like. It seems I was not alone.
Kyle Horch, who has been Sax Professor at the Royal College in London has an excellent classical tenor approach. Andy Scott at the RNCM and Apollo Qtet is better than most because he really is a tenor player. The tenor player in Habanera Quartet is excellent, as is the tenor player in Christophe Grèzes Quartet (Christophe is the Mouthpiece and Reed Product Manager for Selmer).What role models would anyone recommend for classical tenor and are there any preferred mouthpieces, other than just the tenor version of classical alto pieces Rhys
Yes, I sort of agree. My approach is primarily to have a more open tip than is normally associated with classical, plus a correspondingly softer reed but which still gives a good, solid, round, classical sound. I do change my sound though for classical; plugging away with the same tone I use for other music would just be wrong. The main thing is to be sensitive to the instruments around you. Of course a more open tip can make articulation more difficult, and it can make the tenor sound unmatched to the others in a quartet, so this is where having a very clear idea of what a classically played tenor should sound like.I play tenor in a sax quartet. Vintage Otto Link number 6. That's what it should sound like. ....
Have you tried pushing the mouthpiece on farther, and then playing down to pitch by opening the teeth and oral cavity. This is more tiring than playing with a "firm" embouchure for me when I'm not in shape, but it produces a very full and open sound.You can get a long way towards it with a tight embouchure, but you're right on the border of jumping an octave from being too tight. I'm finding going to a looser embouchure for non-classical is really difficult.