SYOS

Help me through the grapevine

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
Hi, I'm learning the Motown hit, "I heard it through the grapevine" for Alto Sax, and I'm already having some difficulty starting out.

How would you play the D notes in the second measure?

I've been trying them using both the standard D with the octave key, and/or with the D lever key. Both methods seem a bit awkward to me, but I'm wondering which method I should focus on. How would you play it?



My other question would be to ask how you would play the D in the forth measure right before the G#.

Again, would you play a standard D or use the side lever?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
You should be able to play it either way. For me low D + octave would be easier. But you need to practice the B/D transition to get it smooth. THis D often needs the palm D key as well to get it sounding properly. Depends on the sax.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
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3,558
However, you might squeek and squawk and create overtones for a whole, but ignore them and play on regardless.

I had a B-D-B-D tune in a grade 6 piece, it was a nightmare.

My teacher gave me the advice above - ignore it and carry on.
The problem I had was that, because I kept squawking, I got tense as I approached the bar, causing ever more squawking, so a vicious circle.

She'd force me to keep going, and would not give me time to get wound up about it.

Eventually I cracked it, and now, looking back, I can't really see what the problem ever was.

And as suggested above, I used the standard D (6 fingers + octave key) and the standard B (1 finger).
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,300
Try playing all the intervals going over the break i.e. G-D, G#-D, A-D, Bb-D, B-D, C-D, C#-D as a practise method and with time these notes will not be a problem.
It is always awkward going over the break on any wind instrument but there are no shortcuts,its just practise.

Brian
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
there are no shortcuts

Oh but there are.

I actually found the shortcut I was looking for. I found it on my own just through experimentation, but then checked it on a web site that has alternative fingerings for the sax. So I'm all happy now.

Thanks for the replies.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
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5,964
Oh but there are.

Yup. There are often substitutes for doing it properly. Depends how serious you are about wanting to really play. In this particular case I can think of a number of ways of bodging it, but you have to ask yourself, " Is it in tune? Is the tone quality acceptable?". All you're actually doing is acknowledging that you can't be bothered to practise.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,300
Yes i know there are alternative fingerings, i presume you are going from B and then using the palm D without the octave key but you need to learn to play over the break using standard method as it helps your overall control of the instrument,plus what Nick says is correct intonation can be out on the alternate fingerings.

Brian
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
Yup. There are often substitutes for doing it properly. Depends how serious you are about wanting to really play. In this particular case I can think of a number of ways of bodging it, but you have to ask yourself, " Is it in tune? Is the tone quality acceptable?". All you're actually doing is acknowledging that you can't be bothered to practise.

You're exactly right Nick. I am acknowledging that I can't be bothered practicing the saxophone that much. It's not my only instrument, nor it is my main instrument. So I'm all for "cheats" if they help.

I have asked myself the questions you've posed. In the case of this grapevine song I think the intonation differences aren't that critical. Especially with the guys I play with. ;}

So yes, if a little alternative fingering can replace a whole lot of practicing, I'm all for it. :thumb:

In fact, that's precisely why I'm doing it.

Besides, if I played everything perfectly I wouldn't fit in with the rest of my band. :)))

Sad but true.

Not to belabor the point, but I also feel that what I'll gain in being able to play smooth clean phrasing will far outweigh what I might lose in terms of intonation.

Finally, I have been practicing the standard fingering crossing the break, and it doesn't appear to be something I'll be able to do smoothly anytime soon. So rather than standing here practicing something that doesn't seem to be coming along very well I've decided to seek alternatives to get me by for now.

And one last point. If I feel I need to offer a really great performance I can always just grab the tenor. Playing this song in the same key on the tenor doesn't require crossing over the break in critical places. ;}

So I have an "out" if I really need to go there. I can just renounce the Alto, like Kevgermany and claim to be a "Tenor Man". :mrcool

I suppose I should have entitled this thread, "Help me CHEAT through the grapevine", cause that's what I meant to ask for help with.

In my case, it's going to be a song played by an Alto Sax Infidel. >:)

A saxophonist seeking a practice-tax loophole.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Fair enough, I've no real problem with alternative fingerings or cheats. But you will need to learn to play smoothly across the break. There's no getting away from it, and avoiding the issue by seeking out alternatives is only going to make it take longer to get to grips with. That's all.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
As for tenor/alto, I solved this with the Morgan. Large chamber suits the sax and the sound I was looking for. Otherwise with a standard Meyer it just sounds too duck-like.

An alto Runyon smoothbore arrived today. Can't wait to try it, but I need to find a lig. Not sure whether to order a spoiler ofr it or not.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
An alto Runyon smoothbore arrived today. Can't wait to try it, but I need to find a lig. Not sure whether to order a spoiler ofr it or not.

I never use the spoiler in my bari one, nor did I when I had alto and tenor ones. Pardon the pun, but for me it spoils the sound.

If you can't find a lig, use a rubber band. Won't affect the sound at all.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I never use the spoiler in my bari one, nor did I when I had alto and tenor ones. Pardon the pun, but for me it spoils the sound.

If you can't find a lig, use a rubber band. Won't affect the sound at all.

Will try that, thanks for the hint.
 
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