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Improving the C to D jump

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
536
Locality
Devon
I am playing a lot of classical music on soprano at the minute, and I'm finding the discipline required is very good practice. It really makes you concentrate on tone and dynamics etc. However I am finding the jump between C and D more of a problem than usual. Often on slow pieces, when the embouchure has to work harder, I find when I go from C to D or E, I am accidentally playing the altissimo note. What is going on here? Does anyone know any good exercises to cure the problem?
 

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
A bit of clarification is needed. When you say going from C to D, do you mean 3rd space C in the staff to 4th line D. Is the note you are calling "altissimo" the third harmonic of low D which is A2?
 

SaxterLoka

Member
Messages
130
so 1 finger C to 6 fingers D.

try this.

play your middle C by fingering the low C. (its called 1st harmonic) then play the D.

Fingering is as follows C = 123/123+LF then just take off the LF and slur to D=123/123.

Use no articulation. (play all new stuff with no articulation and play very slow, no sub-toning.)

Also play the harmonic C fingering and slur to normal C fingering. And dont stop just there do it with all the bottom notes. Slur compare the Bb, B, C, C#, D etc (no octave key)

play all ranges with no octave key, scales ,arpeggios etc

Get the Sigurd Racher book Top Tones For Saxophone.

the exercises in this book are essential basics.
hope this helps :sax:
 

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
536
Locality
Devon
To JBTSax: thanks for the reply. The trouble with asking for advice from other, more experienced, forum members is the exposing of my ignorance! I am not familiar with terms such as A2 - I will hit the books and get back to you! I always assumed that altissimo meant the octave above the note normally obtained by fingering, by altering the embouchure. I now guess I have been wrong. I have never bothered with altissimo because frankly high D on the soprano is high enough for most humans. My dog would probably appreciate it though.:rofl:

SaxterLoka: I have ordered that book and will report back. I will also try out the exercise. Thanks. I know that all saxes have that awkward break between C and D and it would be great if an exercise would improve it. I have been listening a lot to the Amstel Quartet - Remco Jak seems to have no problem with it.

Thanks to you both - it's great to have a forum like this with people willing to help out.
 

SaxterLoka

Member
Messages
130
To JBTSax: SaxterLoka: I have ordered that book and will report back. I will also try out the exercise. Thanks. I know that all saxes have that awkward break between C and D and it would be great if an exercise would improve it. I have been listening a lot to the Amstel Quartet - Remco Jak seems to have no problem with it.

Thanks to you both - it's great to have a forum like this with people willing to help out.

total pleasure!
ps
good technique is freedom! the essentials have hidden treasures to be found, enjoy ;->
 

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
536
Locality
Devon
I have been trying the harmonics without the octave key as you suggest, then playing the octave jump, applying what I have learned about the internal mouth position, with the octave key on - I can already see what you're getting at. Useful. I look forward to the book arriving. Thanks!
 

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
In the saxophone's normal range there are 2 A's. A2 is simply the way to designate the higher one. Similarly the saxophone has C's in 3 octaves so they would be called C1, C2, and C3.

When playing a D2 with the back of the tongue high, the saxophone can sometimes produce the note A2 which is the 2nd overtone of low D. When that happens it is a "voicing" issue. The solution is to think more "AHH" when you blow that note.
 

SaxterLoka

Member
Messages
130
I have been trying the harmonics without the octave key as you suggest, then playing the octave jump, applying what I have learned about the internal mouth position, with the octave key on - I can already see what you're getting at. Useful. I look forward to the book arriving. Thanks!
awesome to hear. the low fingerings (Bb,B,C,Db,D) can in and of the selves demonstrate to you how the saxophone wants to actually sound. there is a wonderful vocal like timbre and power in the harmonics. enjoy them. warm up on them. get to love them. ;->
 

AlistairD

Member
Messages
164
I've found (on Tenor) that a 'slow' third finger on the right hand causes the creation of 'interesting' harmonics on transitions from C to D.

A
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,727
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
I have a problem voicing certain notes. I use acouple of warm up pieces to wake up my ear, embouchure and reed. Find a tune you know and like and pitch it in your problem areas to practice with a playing head on and rehearse the voicing.

You can trail a third finger RH while playing the C2 to get round a slow action/fingering. A slow third finger LH will also give you problems.

Playing tunes on just the mouthpiece will help with voicing problems.
 

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
536
Locality
Devon
Slow Third Finger - is this a condition which can be treated with prompt medical attention?!

What exactly do you mean - start to close or open a key slightly before/after the others? Sorry to be slow on the uptake. I have Slow Left Brain.
 

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
It is the LH 3rd finger closing the G key that closes the neck octave and opens the body octave. So for example if you slur from 3rd space C to a D and the 3rd finger is a bit late the neck octave key opens momentarily and "encourages" a higher harmonic to sound. Some players try to think of "leading with the 3rd finger" when changing from B, C, or C# to D.
 

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
536
Locality
Devon
This is all really helpful stuff - what a weird and wonderful instrument the sax is…

Thanks jbtsax, saxterloca, Colin the Bear and Alistair D
 

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
536
Locality
Devon
Personally I find the soprano is an easier play, and requires a lot less puff, and since Griff set me up with a lovely Rene Guinon soprano, tuning is not the problem it was. Now when I pick up the alto (rare event) it feels like a didgeridoo. Apparently they also make some kind of bass sax which is like an alto but with a sort of "swan neck" and plays with an even lower note. I have heard them referred to as a "tenner" - presumably a reference to their cheap build quality...? Glad I haven't tried one...
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,727
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
I was struggling with sop till I found my mouthpiece.

Tenor sounds a little high after listening to a Bb Bass.

Switching from sop to bari on the same number is challenging. I'm working on a party trick to whip out the clarinet from the bari bell mid number.
 

Arhimas

New Member
Messages
2
Locality
Seville
It is the LH 3rd finger closing the G key that closes the neck octave and opens the body octave. So for example if you slur from 3rd space C to a D and the 3rd finger is a bit late the neck octave key opens momentarily and "encourages" a higher harmonic to sound. Some players try to think of "leading with the 3rd finger" when changing from B, C, or C# to D.
I came across the same problem and I figured out the same cause, but is there any way of tuning the keys to fix the problem, un order to clóset G just a few millisecond before octave ley opens?
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,331
Locality
New Mexico, US
Personally I find the soprano is an easier play, and requires a lot less puff, and since Griff set me up with a lovely Rene Guinon soprano, tuning is not the problem it was. Now when I pick up the alto (rare event) it feels like a didgeridoo. Apparently they also make some kind of bass sax which is like an alto but with a sort of "swan neck" and plays with an even lower note. I have heard them referred to as a "tenner" - presumably a reference to their cheap build quality...? Glad I haven't tried one...
Is the alto in as good, serviced shape as the soprano is ? Or is it possible the alto has leaks ?
 

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