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Beginner I'm too low!

Saxxy

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Bremen/Germany
Hey I'm a sax freshman, I'm self-taught (at least for the next while) and I got a major problem - I blow many notes correctly but an octave to low! My sax is an old Weltklang and has just been overhauled and in tip top shape. My setup(s) (I have a few stuff to choose from): Mouthpiece: Yamaha C4 and Rico Royal B5, Ligature: Rovner MKIII and some cheap metal one, Reeds: Rico Jazz Select 2H and Rico Plasticover 3 (might be a little hard for a beginner but at first I used softer ones, and couldn't get ANY higher notes with these). I use the classic teethon-top/lower-lip-curled-over-teeth embouchure, but this of course is still in it's development. When practicing long tones I use the iPhone tuner app "insTuner" and, yeah, this is showing me that I'm an octave too low. I know it's hard to help over the internet but maybe there's some typical beginner mistake that causes this problem or you might have some idea?!?
 

jbtsax

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Being technologically challenged, I am not familiar with that iPhone tuner app. I can tell you that on alto when you play low F# (1st space on the staff) it is the same pitch as the A3 just below middle C4 on the piano and vibrates at 220 hz. The F# on the top line of the staff played on the alto sax is the same as A4 on the piano which is the first A above middle C4 and vibrates at 440 hz.

If you play the tenor substitute middle B 3rd line on the staff for low F# on the alto, and high B above the 1st leger line for F# on the top line of the staff for the alto.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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To simplify what JBTsax said - except for C soprano, saxes play at a different pitch to what's shown on the stave/written. Tenor plays an octave and one tone below written pitch. If you have set the tuner for your sax pitch (Eb/Bb) instruments, it should show the lower (no octave key) register of the sax as being an octave low.

Look up transposing instruments on Wikipedia for more info.
 

Saxxy

New Member
Messages
9
Locality
Bremen/Germany
Haha, no, I defiantly have an alto ;) !

I know that he alto is an Eb instrument, so I need to transpose, and I actually can turn on transposition in the tuner app but maybe I'm confused about the pitch... When I blow the low Bb the tuner show its Bb2... I thought its supposed to be Bb3?
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
If you're getting an octave difference when you push the octave key all is well. You're on the right track as a beginner to be in tune.
 

jbtsax

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Here's where it gets confusing. The number behind the letter name of the pitch shows its location on the piano keyboard which spans 8 octaves. The saxophone's written range from low Bb to high F spans 2 octaves plus a 5th. The concert pitches of the saxophone's range go from Db3 to Ab5. How your tuner designates the Bb transposed up a 6th from Db3 doesn't really matter. All that is important is that the tuner set in concert pitch recognizes that note (low Bb) as Db3 on the keyboard.

Saxophone pitches are generally given the designation in terms of the range of that instrument. For example low C is C1, C on the 3rd space is C2, and C on the second leger line above the staff is C3. C4 and so on would indicate the altissimo range.

My "cheat sheet" for all of this type of information can be found at Frequencies of Musical Notes.
 

Saxxy

New Member
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9
Locality
Bremen/Germany
Ohhh yeah, I think I slowly get it! I just played the low F# and it vibrated at 222.0 hz - so it's correct? Wow this transposing thing is really confusing for someone who only played concert pitch instruments in the past! Much thanks for your help, everybody!
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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I think what probably adds to the confusion is that the Eb alto sax sounds a SIXTH below what is written. So written middle C sounds the Eb that's the third space up in the bass clef.
 

Ivan

Undecided
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New technology cock-ups old

The problem isn't the sax nor your playing

Take an interest in what your ears tell you, not Steve Jobs
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,872
Sounds like the tuner needs re-calibrating, if you don't know how to do that. Delete the app, then upload it again, you should be able to upload it free, as it should show that you have already paid for it. The new upload will be re-set back to default.
 

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