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Do any of you play Tenor in a Community Concert Band?

Hal the Elder

New Member
Messages
163
I eventually want to join my local 35-piece Community Concert Band (maybe in a year?), and was wondering about the relative difficulty of the written parts for Tenor Sax. Our band has 4 altos and no tenors. The lone Bari sax is consigned to play with the Tubas and Euphoniums.

I've heard that since there is such a large range overlap between Tenors and Trombones, the main assignment for the Tenors is doubling with those instruments, and rarely given any more prominent parts.

What do you say?

Thanks,
HAL
 
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les3716

Member
Messages
181
Hi Hal,

I have been the conductor of a Community Band in the past - I suppost the answer to your question depends on what they have in their library!

Having played Tenor sax on occassion with the band, some of the jazz scores enable the tenor to have a prominent leading role!

Les.
 

Rico Vandoren

Member
Messages
141
I started on Alto with Maghull Wind Orchestra ( see below ) which I played for about five years. Two years ago I bought a tenor and now play that in the band. The altos tend to carry more of the melody than the tenors. The tenor parts are a little easier in that we have (literally) fewer notes to play, i.e. the parts are less busy. As my sight reading is only average, I find this suits me. I do find that I am often playing a similar part to one of the brass instruments, but this also happened on alto.
Throughout our repertoire, however, there are very many instances of the tenors having their own prominent part to play, and they are definitely not just doubling other parts all the time- so I wouldn't let that put you off.

Playing in a large ensemble has vastly improved my playing, reading, and general musicianship and I would recommend it to everyone.
 

Hal the Elder

New Member
Messages
163
HEY RICO,

I wouldn't be put off at all in not having the opportunity to play a prominent part on Tenor Sax.

In fact, at my age I would be content enough just to be a part of the sax section, even if it means doubling with the trombones and having a supporting role all the time.

Let the younger, more ambitious of the Tenors have the Altissimo glory!

HAL (Rico Vandoren? That sounds kinda reedy...)
 
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MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
I've recently started to play sax (tenor) and joined a training band. I've only attended two sessions and already the musical director has provided parts that are distinctly for the tenor and enable the instrument to be heard for its own values. I'm fortunate that the MD also plays tenor so appreciates looking for these parts so perhaps ask the questions of your respective MD?
 

Hal the Elder

New Member
Messages
163
HEY MEL,

It's fortunate that you can make the transition to a Concert Band directly from a "training band"!

My individual private lessons mean that I must "get good" on my own, without the experience (and fun) of learning with a group of beginners!

My teacher recently had me sit in with her advanced students, but I had to back out of that experience, as I couldn't keep up with them. They were 6 teenage girls, all on flutes, clarinet, and trumpet, and were into Book 2 with their instuments.

(I'm still in Book 1 of the Essential Elements 2000 for Bb Tenor Saxophone)

Congratulations on your quick advancement!

HAL
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
It really depends on the level at which your community plays. It can be quite high (particularly if you live in a town with a conservatorium), in which case there is often a training band. I have found that the music in itself often is not particularly difficult. Timing and rhythm can be much harder.
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
Hiya Hal - thank you however I'm not that great honestly. I do travel 50 miles each way to access this training band. They have this one which is for folk grade 1-4. Then you have the chance to move into the Concert band at Grades 4-8 and then there is an Orchestra for Grades 6-8 and beyond. They only charge £12 subscription per term too!! At the moment I am one of five adults and then there's around 25 students age 8-14yrs so I'm forgiven easily for any false notes. However we can sound fairly reasonable even at an early stage. See if you can find a training band. It's worth travelling for! Naturally the concert band holds the promise I'd being with folk closer to my own age hee hee
 

Pyrografix

Senile Member
Messages
1,026
Hi Hal,

I play tenor in a sax orchestra. I know its not the same as a community band set up as we're all saxes! We play plenty of pieces where the tenor has a leading part, but the music director is very good at allocating parts according to confidence/ability, occasionally swapping us out of our comfort zone (I'm usually hiding at the back!) to give us a chance to step up.

It took my tutor 18 months to persuade me to get involved with the orchestra, but I really enjoy it now. I'm very keen to find other sax players to practice alongside, but am struggling due to location. In the meantime, I've found playing to accompanying cds useful, especially helping with 'keeping going' after making a mistake, and maintaining a constant speed......

Cheers,

Amanda
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,557
We have 4 tenors in our band, 6 altos, 2 sops, 2 baris, then trombone, trumpet, clarinets (about 8 altogether), 2 bass clarinets, 3 flutes, a piccolo, bass guitar, keyboard, percussion... whoever else happens to turn up....
anyway, the tenors often have split parts written for them. It depends on the arrangements, sometimes they have their own parts, sometimes they double with other instruments (although since we don't have many other instruments at their depth of pitch, maybe that's why they get their own parts?)

You might find some photos or even videos of us here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/singlereeds/
 

Hal the Elder

New Member
Messages
163
HEY MANDY:

I downloaded a chart which shows the pitch ranges of all brasses, woodwinds, and piano/organ. The tenor sax is closely matched in pitch range by the following:


Baritone Sax (which extends the bass a fourth below the Tenor and matches the top end)

Bass Clarinet (which extends the bass a fourth below the Tenor and matches the top end)

Bassoon (which extends the bass a sixth below the Tenor and matches the top end)

French Horn (which extends the bass a sixth below the Tenor and the high register a whole tone above)

Trombone & Euphonium (which extends the bass a third below the Tenor and falls short in the high register by a third)

HAL
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Hal, I'm not sure about the others, and can't be bothered checking, but the chart is wrong for tenor/baritone.

Better to think of the baritone being a fourth lower than tenor across the range.

Many baritones are keyed to low A, not low Bb, so there's another semitone lower for these instruments (although there are some tenors around keyed to low A).

There's a bigger gap if the bari is only keyed to Eb instead of the tenor's F or F#.

Unkeyed altissimo notes don't count, but the range is about the same for both instruments - i.e. the bari is still a fourth lower.
Take a look at http://www.wfg.woodwind.org/index.html, these are probably the best fingering charts on the net.
 

Hal the Elder

New Member
Messages
163
HEY KEV:

The Bari reaching the top notes of the Tenor???

Yeah, that chart's gotta be in error, or Mulligan would have played Coltrane's stuff!

Thanks for pointing it out!

Hal
 
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