All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians

Saxophones How a saxophone sounds different to the player and listener?

Marvan

Member
Messages
68
Locality
On the banks of the Tay, UK
What is the consensus on the fact a saxophone sounds different whilst playing it, to hearing it being played?
Has anyone else experienced this?
Cheers
Marvan
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
27,223
Locality
Cheshire UK
Yes, I think I sound ok sometimes when playing until I record then I want to pack it all in :(

I do think as a player we hear it differently to an audience


Jx
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,872
Yes, I think I sound ok sometimes when playing until I record then I want to pack it all in :(

I do think as a player we hear it differently to an audience


Jx

Don't feel disheartened Jeanette. Anybody that likes their recordings 100% is a bit like that guy who fell in love with his own reflection in the water. Although one of Sinatras girlfriends for the night, said he would listen over and over to his work in the recording studio that day.;)
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,872
What is the consensus on the fact a saxophone sounds different whilst playing it, to hearing it being played?
Has anyone else experienced this?
Cheers
Marvan

Get somebody to stand behind you when your playing, and ask them to cup there hands a few inches from your ears.
 

Chris

Well Known
Café Supporter
Messages
3,826
Locality
Manchester,England
What is the consensus on the fact a saxophone sounds different whilst playing it, to hearing it being played?
Has anyone else experienced this?
Cheers
Marvan

That's why guys will face a wall when playing, so they can hear the reflected sound. When playing the sax you are actually stood behind it.

Chris..
 

jafo50

Member
Messages
72
Locality
New York
I'm usually disappointed at my sound when I record my playing. The track sounds good to me while I playing it but the recording doesn't lie.

Joe
 

Marvan

Member
Messages
68
Locality
On the banks of the Tay, UK
Get somebody to stand behind you when your playing, and ask them to cup there hands a few inches from your ears.

Hi James
Has someone done that for you avatar image ?
I am a bit like that in real life so maybe I have a genetic advantage

I have been experimenting with mouthpieces hence the reason for knowing how it sounds to others
I just wondered if there was rule of thumb to know to translate the playing sound to the listening sound
Just some musings
Cheers
Marvan
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
5,230
Locality
Surrey, UK
What is the consensus on the fact a saxophone sounds different whilst playing it, to hearing it being played?
Has anyone else experienced this?
Cheers
Marvan

It's just like hearing yourself speaking or hearing a recording of yourself speaking. The sound reaches the speaker's / player's ears in a different way than it does those of a listener. That includes internal vibrations.

As others have said, play up against a wall for a fair idea of what your listeners will hear.

Rhys
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,872
Hi James
Has someone done that for you avatar image ?
I am a bit like that in real life so maybe I have a genetic advantage

I have been experimenting with mouthpieces hence the reason for knowing how it sounds to others
I just wondered if there was rule of thumb to know to translate the playing sound to the listening sound
Just some musings
Cheers
Marvan

Ha Ha no that's a pic of my distant cousin President Obama.
When it's said play close up to the wall. Which wall the one on the left, with curtains draped down the side, or the marble wall on the right side. If you think about it the listener hears your sound after it has bounced off many surfaces, ie the floor the ceiling , the walls. Playing up close to a curtained or fabric wall will sound completely different to a marble wall.
If your very quick, play a note, then run to the other side of the room.LOL.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Café Supporter
Messages
9,491
Locality
KIC 8462852
After I'd been learning for a while, before I bought a Tascam, I said to my wife I don't really know what I sound like.
She said 'You sound like someone playing the saxophone'.
Her other comments have included,
'I recognize that, what was it'?
and
'Don't make that noise again, it frightened the cats'.
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,275
Locality
Edinburgh/Hot Rock off African Coast
Sorry to darken up such a nicely going thread but stuff like relative pitch and the relationship between inner ear and outer ear hearing appears to what separates the so called naturals and gifted from the majority of us all.

I found this an interesting read I did not want to link it as it`s from a poster reviewing a bands singer.

"Not to dog pile on the vocalist, but
I would have to agree with the overall
opinion of him thus far.

As a musician/vocalist myself, I would
have to say don't dump the guy, just
make him the lead guitarist and hopefully
he can hide his voice as a background
vocalist.

Listened to the song, and can tell you for
sure, that your vocalist has a problem with
his inner ear/outer ear relationship.

This is very common. Used to run a full
blown studio. Saw it all of the time.

We had one of the first 24 track digital
(ADAT) studios in town. Bands would
do great until it came down to the
vocalist laying down tracks.

"That's not what I sound like!!!"

Was often heard..."No, that is
EXACTLY what you sound like,"
we would have to tell them.

ADAT's, with their digital accuracy, had no
SNR problems and ZERO noise floor. Most
bands are used to playing with the noise floor
of the crowd, or just the loudness of their own
instruments. This often hides the lead vocalists
lack of ability to correctly hit notes.

In the digital studios of today, it is not
easily hid; and people have resorted to
using tube pre-amps to "warm" up the
digital clarity.

Others, resort to autotuning, of which I am
no fan at all. If your vocalist can't cut it, get
rid of them, because like it or not, it is the
vocalist, 9 times out of 10, who sells the band.

No joke, about 90% of the bands we recorded
never made it out of the studio. Their sessions
usually ended with the firing of the vocalist, who
was still in disbelief, because they could not HEAR.

If you have never heard of the inner/outer ear
relationship, I will briefly explain. The vocalist
has two ways to process pitch correction and
intonation. The first, is done through the fluid
and bones of the body, through resonance of
their teeth, etc.

A person with good relative pitch, can sing in tune
by using the inner method. The problem develops
when the vocalist is incorrectly processing what
they hear OUTSIDE of their body, in comparison
to what the INNER ear is hearing.

As example, when I lay down a track, to me,
it sounds the same when I listen back to it,
as when I 'heard' it in my inner ear, singing it.

On playback you should only be listening
with the outer ear (If the music is 90db,
you are going to listen in your inner ear
as well, as 90db will affect your body
fluids.)

If your inner/outer ear relationship is in tune and
sync, you will hear exactly what you thought you
sounded like when doing the take.

But if, on playback, the vocalist thinks that they
sound 'different' or out of tune, they must work
on and use relative pitch, and this can be corrected.

The vocalist must record themselves singing, say,
with just them and a guitar. Do it on a simple boom
box. No need to waste studio time doing this.

The vocalist must be honest and listen to the mistakes
in the melody line. When listening back to the take,
the vocalist with an inner/outer ear problem SHOULD
be able to HEAR the mistakes. This is because they
will only be listening with their outer ear on playback.

If they cannot hear their mistakes, and think that
they sound in tune when they are not, it is time to
dump that vocalist.

Only about 1% of the population are actually tone
deaf, and believe it or not, most people possess a
bit of relative pitch. In case any readers have not
heard of relative pitch, it is quite simple to explain.

PERFECT pitch is when, without hearing a single
note, the vocalist can say, sing an A note and be
right on the money. Our band once had to tune
to my voice as for some reason, we ended up at
a gig and not one of us had a working tuner.

Singing harmony for a person with perfect pitch
is quite easy, because anyone who has perfect
pitch already has relative pitch.

RELATIVE pitch is when you HEAR a note, say,
A again, and you can not only MATCH the note
in frequency, but can also sing the fourth/D or
fifth/E by "ear". But, the vocalist with relative
pitch cannot hit that A note spot on, without
hearing other notes to base their own pitch
upon.

I wouldn't dump your current vocalist, it is hard
enough to find dedicated, talented musicians who
all get along. I would tell him to develop his
inner/outer ear relationship, and after a month
or two of dedication, if he still can't stay in tune,
delegate his vocal responsibilities to singing some
back-ups.

He is not terrible, he is just not in tune. I would
have to say that he sounds a bit like Hatfield from
Metallica. If that grind in his voice (actually called
a pop belt) is being produced incorrectly, he will
develop nodes and ruin his vocal chords within
a year of gigging out.

That raspy texture should be coming from
FANTASTIC air production, not by clenching
down on the notes in the throat.

Oh, also. A vocalist's intonation might sound
sharp/flat for a few reasons. Pitchy notes come
from two places. First, if the vocalist is not singing
from the diaphragm, using the J curve, the notes
are being shaped in the throat - this is not
reliable, and this is why many vocalists sound
good some of the time, but not all of the time.

If correctly singing from the diaphragm using
the J curve, notes might still be 'pitchy' at first
use of the correct technique, but this can be
corrected by practice.

It is caused by air production.

Higher notes require more AIR, not more
squeezing the notes out through the THROAT.

When I first started taking lessons, there was
a very scary period of time....After I had trained
enough to stop singing from my throat, I could
actually no longer do it. But, I could not yet
effectively sing in tune using the diaphragm.

I went through about, say, a good month
or better where I was incredibly pitchy. It
takes time and conviction to make the switch.

The difference is quite simple. Sing one set
incorrectly and be DONE....or, sing three sets
correctly and be able to sing three more without
blowing your voice out for a week.

Good luck in finding a REAL vocal instructor
though. There are many people out there who
know enough to be dangerous.

Back in the day, I was chosen as lead vocalist
for a band of hired guns. This was a band that
was hand picked by a talent scout. Turns out
he was Kip Winger's agent, and he turned me
onto my vocal coach. He has worked with Ann
and Nancy Wilson/Heart, and Jeff Tate from
Queensryche (to name a few).

Just saying that to let you know that I am not
some dude sitting in his mother's basement,
pretending to know it all."
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,069
Locality
Berkshire, UK
After I'd been learning for a while, before I bought a Tascam, I said to my wife I don't really know what I sound like.
She said 'You sound like someone playing the saxophone'.
Her other comments have included,
'I recognize that, what was it'?
and
'Don't make that noise again, it frightened the cats'.
:rofl::rofl::rofl:
 

Marvan

Member
Messages
68
Locality
On the banks of the Tay, UK
After I'd been learning for a while, before I bought a Tascam, I said to my wife I don't really know what I sound like.
She said 'You sound like someone playing the saxophone'.
Her other comments have included,
'I recognize that, what was it'?
and
'Don't make that noise again, it frightened the cats'.

Hi Targa
We have a neighbours cat, that frightens the birds in our garden.
What were you playing at the time the last comment was made ?
Might come in handy
Cheers
Marvan
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Café Supporter
Messages
3,582
Locality
The Malverns, Worcs
When I first got my Tenor I hated the sound I/it was making. So I recorded it and realised that it sounded quite good. For whatever reason to my ears the tenor what not as pretty as the Alto and Bari that I have been playing for 3 years up to that point.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,787
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
There are actually two things in play. One is what Rhyson indicated that when we play part of our perception of the sound comes from the vibrations in our skull and inner ear. The other is that when playing music we do not listen as intently because part of the brain is involved with blowing, tonguing, reading music, fingering, counting rhythms, etc.

As a conductor, I would often start a piece of music with my band and then step outside the room and just listen as they kept playing. It is amazing the detail that can be heard that is missed while waving ones arms on the podium. One of the most difficult things to do as a player and to teach others to do is to really listen as you are playing. That is what really separates the professionals from the amateurs. Of course that requires such a mastery of the mechanics of the instrument that playing becomes close to being similar to an autonomic response.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,925
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
Millions of years of development went into the sound capture and processing equipment you're born with. The sound capture and processing equipment bought on ebay not so much.
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,872
There are actually two things in play. One is what Rhyson indicated that when we play part of our perception of the sound comes from the vibrations in our skull and inner ear. The other is that when playing music we do not listen as intently because part of the brain is involved with blowing, tonguing, reading music, fingering, counting rhythms, etc.

As a conductor, I would often start a piece of music with my band and then step outside the room and just listen as they kept playing. It is amazing the detail that can be heard that is missed while waving ones arms on the podium. One of the most difficult things to do as a player and to teach others to do is to really listen as you are playing. That is what really separates the professionals from the amateurs. Of course that requires such a mastery of the mechanics of the instrument that playing becomes close to being similar to an autonomic response.

What your actually saying jbtsax, is that your conducting skills are not an auto what you call it response.:rofl:
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,787
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
What your actually saying jbtsax, is that your conducting skills are not an auto what you call it response.:rofl:
That's correct, I can't conduct and listen at the same time. I can't walk and chew gum at the same time either. That's why I because a musician instead of a basketball player.
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,872
because part of the brain is involved with blowing, tonguing, reading music, fingering, counting rhythms, etc.

I don't see any of these getting in the way, unless it's sight reading a fast piece in a not so familiar key.
When we drive, we don't think, now it's time to change gear. We just do. It. When we have a 4 or 8 bar intro we don't count it. We just know when to come in.
my main issue is , when we play we should be concentrating on what we are trying to say musically with the instrument. There is nothing auto what ever you call it. About it. Unless you are happy to play mechanically . Even in an ensemble situation. Listening to what's going on around us, is secondary. But obviously playing in tune and in time, goes without saying.
BTW please don't think I'm trying to be argumentative, just want to make the point, that the end product is to say something musically. Basically I think you have it the wrong way around, its the listening to what is going on around us that should be automatic, to allow free and expressive playing.:)
 

Members online

Popular Discussions

London
Paris
New York
Los Angeles
Sydney
Moscow
New Delhi
Top Bottom