- Minster On Sea
Anyone bought it yet?
Relieved to read this post - voodoo a good description, I was going to say "drivel" or more kindly "just weird" (expensive silly price too...).Well, anyway...
I got it. I'm a teacher so I feel I ought to keep up to date with this sort of stuff.
I sort of wish I hadn't.
I've liked John Harle's playing for over 30 years. I like the fact that he can move between different interesting styles of playing.
I didn't realise, though, that he's into the voodoo method of sax playing. The book is subtitled "The Art and Science of Playing and Performance" but there's very little of what I would call "science". He's very big on "reed fans" and "power lines" and if you understand what they're about you're doing better than me. I'd be interested to know where these arcane ideas came from - there appears to be no indication in the books (oh yes, there are 2 - in a presentation box). The extensive bibliography lists none of the scientific papers written on saxophones.
I'm not entirely happy with his use of the word "correct" when discussing the angle of entry of mouthpiece into mouth. Apparently the way I do it gives "a dull, unfocused and inflexible sound with little dynamic range". Mr Harle favours the usual clarinet angle which obviously works for him but it's a shame he wasn't around to teach John Coltrane (who knew he was rubbish, eh? - apart from @kevgermany of course).
The most interesting bit appears to be the section on using the glottal stop as an articulation technique. I've spent the last 25 years trying to persuade my students not to use it. I shall have to study what he says about it.
I would very interested in anyone else's opinion if they can get a squint at a copy.
Quite right Nick! The glottal stop is not really good technique in the main and shouldn't be encouraged in beginners, but it is actually very useful in learning the altissimo because it removes the tongue - which tends to alter the shape of the vocal tract - from the equation! Whether that is actually what John is saying, I don't know; my point, and John's, is that there is a world of possibilities to be explored........ on using the glottal stop as an articulation technique. I've spent the last 25 years trying to persuade my students not to use it. I shall have to study what he says about it.
Thanks for your insights, and the time it took you to set them down. I, too, consider John Harle to be a fine player and had considered ordering his book. But I don't think I will now. It's not a question of feeling threatened, it's just that my preference is for language to be as plain as possible so that I have more chance of understanding and applying the information I'm receiving. I don't find it helpful to visualise things that aren't really thereI know some people do, though, it's a personal thing. I also don't llike teaching to be over-prescriptive (I have problems with Larry Teal in that respect, too) and prefer to be guided to find what works best for me. To be honest, I'm sure most of the techniques in the book would be way over my head anyway, and I have no intention of attempting the sort of repertoire that JH plays.BUT I do not reject his ideas and never have done simply because I do not understand them or because they threaten my status-quo, self-conscious and occasionally mystifying though his ideas may be.