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Beginner Fingering verification.

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
I'm pretty sure I have this right, but I just want to check.

Is the fingering the same on an Alto and Tenor in terms of reading music?

Do they both blow a C# note with no fingers pressed (I mean in terms of written music)

I realize that audibly they actually produce different notes, but in terms of reading sheet music, the fingering is identical?

Is that correct?

Just checking.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Yes, they're the same, as far as the basic fingerings go. Some things do work a little differently. Eg on tenor you can get away with playing C in the middle of the treble staff by usig the bottom C plus octave key (useful for playing trills to the D for example). Doesn't seem to work so well on alto (stuffy and out of tune). No idea why.
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
Thanks Martin,

I have another question whilst I'm thinking about this.

The Alto goes down to Bb and doesn't have the Low A note. Except for very few special models.

Is a Tenor the same in that regard?

Is a Tenor basically just an Alto enlarged for all intents and purposes?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
The Alto goes down to Bb and doesn't have the Low A note. Except for very few special models.

Is a Tenor the same in that regard?

Is a Tenor basically just an Alto enlarged for all intents and purposes?
Yes, same in all respects - also for all the other models of sax. There are some minor differences in places (most Baris these days have a low A, for instance). But apart from embouchure/breath support differences, they're all the same.

On older saxes you'll find the LH little finger table doesn't always have the linkages that the new ones have. Also the high F# & front F.

But I've had no fingering problems playing a sopranino (modern) sops (modern) alto (30s/modern) tenor(60s/70s/modern)...

Net result is that you can use any sax music on any sax, but you'll be playing at a different pitch. And you may find sop parts too fast for the bigger saxes.

One thing to watch out for is that the old saxes (say pre WWI) have two octave keys...
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
One of the reasons I asked is that I have some saxophone music lesson books here that don't specify alto or tenor. Some of the beginning riffs they show seemed to be a bit difficult to finger. So I was thinking that maybe it was written for tenor and I'm playing an alto. But if they all have the same fingering then that can't be it. They must expect these riffs to be played as written. I actually cheated and transposed the exercise into another key that was easier to finger. :)))

The other reason I was asking is because I'm toying with the idea of buying a tenor sax to play with. It would be a really cheap model. In fact, I have my eye on one for $309. Brand new, and obviously cheap. But it's just a toy for me anyway, so that's ok.

So now I guess I have one last question. Are the mouthpieces and reeds different for the tenor? I'm guessing they probably are.

Like I really need another instrument in this house. :stoat:

I should see a shrink concerning my inability to stop buying new instruments.
 
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