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Beginner Doubling with Brass?

Ninofuture

New Member
Messages
4
Hi all, I currently play E Flat Tenor Horn (Alto Horn to the Americans ;}) But I have always had an inkling for the sax, would learning alto sax alongside horn be a good idea?
Both are in Eb, and the Horns embouchure is more relaxed than a trumpets, so it needs less maintenance, but could learning sax support or ruin my embouchure?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Hi all, I currently play E Flat Tenor Horn (Alto Horn to the Americans ;}) But I have always had an inkling for the sax, would learning alto sax alongside horn be a good idea?
Both are in Eb, and the Horns embouchure is more relaxed than a trumpets, so it needs less maintenance, but could learning sax support or ruin my embouchure?

Callling Tom M to say 'Go for it' ;}
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Go for it ;}



I play sax, trumpet and tenor trombone quite unproblematically. My trumpet and trombone embouchures do supplement and aid my sax embouchures and do strengthen lips etc. If I am practising both brass and sax during the same day I will practice brass first, then sax -the other way round does not work well as the sax will temporarily
stretch the embouchure and brass needs a tighter embouchure on the whole and it can take a while to adjust back.

I notice that the my trumpet embouchure really helps my soprano sax embouchure and my trombone embouchure really
strengthens my alto and tenor sax embouchures. Some people talk nonsense about playing both, without necessarily having any actual experience to back up their views. I have found it a positive experience, therefore Go for it!
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
+1 for "Go for it"

I played Eb tenor horn in brass bands 35 years ago. Starting in earnest on sax 4 months ago was incredibly liberating. I could never play tenor horn by ear, never mind improvise. The sax facilitates those things far more naturally. You'll find it a wonderful experience.

I can't speak for your tenor horn embouchure because I hadn't picked mine up at all for many years until the other day as it happens. My embouchure was long gone! Suspect that was more to do with time than the sax though.

You may find your brain gets fried for a while by the similarities but occasional differences in fingering on a sax compared to a 3 valve brass instrument. On the right hand notes like F, F# and G for example seem the same as playing your Eb tenor horn. And on the left hand an A also requires your first 2 fingers. But if you're anything like me you'll take a while to stop playing middle Cs when you wanted a B, because your brain still maps a B to your middle finger, and C#s when you want C naturals because lifting all your fingers off seems the right thing to do for a C natural. In fact I still stuff those up sometimes but its getting less and less now. Don't let that put you off - its definitely worth the effort and soon becomes addictive.
 

jrintaha

Senior Member
Messages
283
I haven't mixed sax and valve fingerings. I've had a flugelhorn for almost two weeks, and I'm mostly struggling with lip strength. You'll probably find the sax very easy on the muscles if you're already playing brass. You might indeed get along better with an alto or a baritone sax as they're in Eb. For me, the alto is a bit confusing right now, as I'm trying to "hear" the Bb-transposed notes on the flugelhorn as I read them, as I find it's very important on brass. With the sax it's not as important, as the movement between different harmonics takes considerably more effort than on the flugelhorn at least. The tenor sax doesn't confuse my "hearing" even though it plays an octave lower than the flugelhorn. Perhaps I'll have to sell my alto and buy a soprano sax. (Or a bass sax!)

Go for it!
 

jrintaha

Senior Member
Messages
283
There's no reason to leave it at that if you feel at some point that you want to try other instruments as well. You can already listen to tuning and tune yourself using your embouchure, read music, move your fingers, keep a rhythm etc., so even if you pick up a completely new instrument, you already have a big set of skills you can transfer in a very short period of time.

Picking up your second instrument is much much easier than your first was. And your third will be easier than the second. I play the guitar, electric bass, keyboards, sax, accordion, a bit of clarinet, and now I'm trying to add the flugelhorn to the mix. You may actually be pleasantly surprised by how easy learning the sax will feel if you remember how difficult starting on the horn was. I was shocked by how difficult playing brass is compared to the sax - or anything else I've ever played for that matter.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
I'm surpirsed nobody's mentioned Benny Carter yet:

 
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Di in France

Senior Member
Messages
619
I played Tenor and flugel horn in brass bands for years or more. I loved it! I don't play them now, but can't see why it wouldn't help your sax embouchure. I have a flugel horn tucked away in its case under the bed. I keep spying it and wonder if I should give it a go, but it's been many, many years........;}
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I played Tenor and flugel horn in brass bands for years or more. I loved it! I don't play them now, but can't see why it wouldn't help your sax embouchure. I have a flugel horn tucked away in its case under the bed. I keep spying it and wonder if I should give it a go, but it's been many, many years........;}
What make of flugelhorn is it?
 
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