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Jazz vs Classical Embouchure

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,974
Location
Hampshire
I like this guy, and his Desmond-esque playing is wonderful. Trouble is, the journey from a classical sound to a Paul - I used to play clarinet in the army - Desmond is not a particularly far one to make. His teeth sound somewhat in the mix to me too.

You often talk about the mouthpiece pitch as a determiner for classical and jazz/pop sounds John, but he doesn't really talk about it here and whilst I love Paul Desmond, perhaps the majority of players are far more loose. There is a terrific video of a masterclass by a guy talking about lead alto sound and that so many people play way too tight - but I can't find it. I bet you know of it.

Meanwhile, even though Brandon Fields doesn't play that bright for a 'modern' player, you can hear the extra buzz of the reed etc.

View: https://youtu.be/_mseUi-DGfo
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
829
Location
Brisbane, QLD, Australia
I think you'll discover they are the ideas of Sir Nigel St Clair, esq PhD (knighted for his services to saxophone pedagogy).

I don't have a reference for his PhD dissertation but I believe the subject was, "The unified theory of everything: a classical defence of the jazz ideas of Dr Wally Wallace."
 

Guenne

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,104
Location
Austria
The guy surely is a good saxophonist, I'm saying with all respect that he neither sounds like a classical player nor a "modern" player to my ears.

Nevertheless, there's hardly any topic I'm more interested in :)
Thinking of the contradictionary stuff I've read and heard the last 30 years it seems there's 95% in your head.

I couldn't sound like Mr Acker Bilk on clarinet for instance, I cannot make my brain hear the instrument that way.
And even if I played any kind of "classical" MPC on Alto sax, I'd change the parameters to what and how I'm hearing and still sound like me.

What I can do - and this I'm doing without thinking about - is change my sound according to my musical environment. But what I'm doing exactly would be almost impossible to describe, and I'd need the stimulus of lets say playing with a woodwind orchestra or a funk band.

Cheers, Guenne
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,475
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
This discussion makes me think of a conversation I had years ago with a band teacher friend of mine who was an accomplished trumpet player and perhaps the best trumpet teacher in the state. I asked him how he described to his students how to shape their oral cavity, the shape and position of the tongue, how to form the embouchure etc.
His response which surprised me was, "I used to get into all of that, but now I mostly demonstrate on my instrument how it should sound, and tell the student to make it sound like that.
 

Guenne

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,104
Location
Austria
You both are right IMHO.
But listening gets more and more out of fashion, and as far as I'm concerned I have to show results more or less with my students.
It is a great mistake I've made for a long time to try to shorten the path for my students.
 

Guenne

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,104
Location
Austria
Hi,
I'd be interested who of you players here is more connected to the Teal or Allard school.
(If it's not hijacking the thread).

Cheers, Guenne
 

Guenne

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,104
Location
Austria
Can you remind me what Allard teaches.
The opposite of what Mr. Wallace does in the video.
No dropping of the jaw, lip is not a cushion but just a means to dampen unwanted high frequencies that would occur if you put your teeth on the reed.
"Force" comes from the teeth. As far as I'm feeling that it's about the "bite" of a baby sucking it's thumb.
Tongue is in it's normal resting position while playing, which is with the sides slightly touching the molar teeth.
(Much more...)
@jbtsax :
Could you do open the thread?
I'm not familiar with the surveys here...

Cheers, Guenne
 

Guenne

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,104
Location
Austria
Would be great for me to have a chat with this man:


I chose this one because you can see his embouchure...no doubt he sounds jazz 100%.

But he also can play like this:

I doubt one could see changes in embouchure from the outside.

Cheers, Guenne
 

John Setchell

Member
Messages
157
Location
Norfolk UK
This discussion makes me think of a conversation I had years ago with a band teacher friend of mine who was an accomplished trumpet player and perhaps the best trumpet teacher in the state. I asked him how he described to his students how to shape their oral cavity, the shape and position of the tongue, how to form the embouchure etc.
His response which surprised me was, "I used to get into all of that, but now I mostly demonstrate on my instrument how it should sound, and tell the student to make it sound like that.
I like that.
Years ago I took some flying lessons. The instructor was stunningly laid-back (I later learned that he has flown fighters, and then became a stunt pilot for movies). He asked me to climb to 7,000 as he read a book (!). I asked him what Best Rate Of Climb speed I should be doing - he didn’t even look up and said “Whatever feels right for the ‘plane”.
 

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