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Beginner Fingering Dilemma

MikeTerry_bari_icon

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Would appreciate some advice from you gents regarding any fingering tips you might suggest. The piece is for tenor, 4/4 time, metronome setting = 150, key of G minor. There is an eighth-note (quaver) riff as follows: upper register B natural – B flat – A natural – F natural, repeated several times, obviously quickly. Fingering B natural-to- B flat (chromatic) on the sax is always a pain; the book says use the side key, but it seems slow and awkward. I’ve tried the L1+R1, and it sounds weak. I also tried activating the bis key by putting my middle finger down, and the intonation is much better, but then I have a cross-fingering issue when it’s time to play the F natural. Any ideas?
 

PaulM

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Would appreciate some advice from you gents regarding any fingering tips you might suggest. The piece is for tenor, 4/4 time, metronome setting = 150, key of G minor. There is an eighth-note (quaver) riff as follows: upper register B natural – B flat – A natural – F natural, repeated several times, obviously quickly. Fingering B natural-to- B flat (chromatic) on the sax is always a pain; the book says use the side key, but it seems slow and awkward. I’ve tried the L1+R1, and it sounds weak. I also tried activating the bis key by putting my middle finger down, and the intonation is much better, but then I have a cross-fingering issue when it’s time to play the F natural. Any ideas?
While I'm a fully paid up member of the is Bis Key Admiration Society, I wouldn't use bis fingering in this situation, I'd automatically use the side key. Bb using L1 + R anything always tends to sound stuffy, but if you're playing fairly fast it often doesn't matter as the note isn't hanging around long enough for it to show.

I am pretty certain the various developers of the saxophone mechanism were able to see into the future. They added multiple ways of fingering Bb so that we could all talk about our personal favourites when the internet became available.
 
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Nick Wyver

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Side key. Only slow and awkward if you haven't practised it enough. :)
 

Jamesmac

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Perhaps you need to put a riser on the side keys. If your instrument is something like mine, but if you play a modern Yamaha, I think you should listen to Nick.:)
 

jbtsax

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A good practice strategy is to isolate the finger change that is hanging you up and repeat it over and over. Every time you warm up, try doing a B - Bb trill using the 1,2 side fingering for Bb. Start slow and smooth and then gradually build up speed.
 

Colin the Bear

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Very strange this one. Any thing involving Bb and F my instinct would be to use long Bb. Tried it on the alto. Holding long Bb while playing A makes it flat and stuffy. I thought the side key would be awkward but it isn't. The strange thing is that I find a semi tone run down using the side key, from B to F quicker than missing out G and G#. Probably just a practice thing. I do practice semitone runs top to bottom and back again.
 

MikeTerry_bari_icon

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Appreciate the input from you chaps. I usually try to find a way to streamline quick passages: eliminating use of palm keys, side keys, etc. whenever possible, but not his time. Guess I'll have to grind it out, as jbt suggested.
 

Nick Wyver

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So, to play faster you avoid side-keys? Isn't that a bit back to front? They're there to enable you to play faster chromatically as well as providing usable trills. That's how I use 'em anyway. Good luck. :)
 

MikeTerry_bari_icon

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I play fastest by sticking to the pearls as much as possible. You seem to be assuming that every fingering is equally simple to execute. Why are there so many alternate fingerings, then?
 

Nick Wyver

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I play fastest by sticking to the pearls as much as possible. You seem to be assuming that every fingering is equally simple to execute. Why are there so many alternate fingerings, then?
It depends on the situation - what comes before and what comes after. I guess if you were doing a chromatic run from A to C# you'd use bis Bb and the usual C fingering. I'd find that hopelessly slow and would use both side keys. Each to his own. The alternative fingerings are generally only absolutely essential for things like trills. Try doing a B to C trill using the normal fingerings.
 

jbtsax

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If all of the fingerings on the saxophone were easy there wouldn't be countless books of exercises to build technic.
 

Colin the Bear

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Complexity is comparative. Any one coming from clarinet to saxophone breathes a sigh of relief at the simplicity. There are no spare keys on the saxophone. The are all useful and relevant. The use and relevancy may not be apparent at any stage of a players development. As we develop and try more challenging pieces their usefulness and relevancy becomes apparent. It never ceases to amaze me how the journey is never ending. The more you learn, the more you see there is to learn. I never bothered with many lessons or a method book. A finger chart and some music did me.
 

ArtyLady

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Well I'm not a gent, so don't know if my advice will be any good ;);) but I use long Bb most of the time as my first instrument is flute, as others have said it is a bit stuffy, but in a fast passage you won't notice it. I only ever use the others if the flute Bb is virutally unplayable for passage :thumb:
 

jbtsax

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Anyone who has learned to play a chromatic scale on the recorder is grateful for side keys on the other woodwinds.
 

MikeTerry_bari_icon

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Well I'm not a gent, so don't know if my advice will be any good ;);) but I use long Bb most of the time as my first instrument is flute, as others have said it is a bit stuffy, but in a fast passage you won't notice it. I only ever use the others if the flute Bb is virutally unplayable for passage :thumb:

Of course any lady's advice is more than welcome!;)

How would you finger the passage at the top of this thread, then?
 

MikeTerry_bari_icon

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Complexity is comparative. Any one coming from clarinet to saxophone breathes a sigh of relief at the simplicity. There are no spare keys on the saxophone. The are all useful and relevant. The use and relevancy may not be apparent at any stage of a players development. As we develop and try more challenging pieces their usefulness and relevancy becomes apparent. It never ceases to amaze me how the journey is never ending. The more you learn, the more you see there is to learn. I never bothered with many lessons or a method book. A finger chart and some music did me.

I'm a clarinettist also, and there are more keys and odd-ball fingerings than sax, but that's the price you pay for having greater range. Also, since you have right and left-handed fingerings for some tones it can make life much easier. For example, I simply cannot slur the interval middle-C-to-low E flat on the sax, but the same interval on the clarinet (in the upper register) is a piece of cake, thanks to the left-hand C key.

Also, accessory keys are designed as a shortcut, but if you are unfamiliar with them, or use them only rarely, they slow you down at first.
 

ArtyLady

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Of course any lady's advice is more than welcome!;)

How would you finger the passage at the top of this thread, then?

I've just been and tried, the easiest and smoothest by far seems to be B (with side Bb already down) add in A key for the Bb, lift side Bb for A, plonk rest of fingers down for F :)
 

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