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Mouthpiece plus neck pitch

jbtsax

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I have taught the importance of neck + mouthpiece pitch for many years and have used it in my own teaching with great results. It is important not only in determining the correct tension for the embouchure, but it also matches the frequency of the mouthpiece and neck to that of the "missing cone". In short, the pitch for alto should be Ab concert and the pitch for tenor should be E concert. That's why I was pleased to find this video by Jerry Bergonzi, a highly respected teacher and player.
 

spike

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Thanks for that jbt :) haven't come across that one before.
Praise the Lord - I'm in tune with a strong sound and a full tone. I guess I should be after all these years.
Question time: I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on Shooshie's mouthpiece exercises.
gruss - spike
 

Pete Thomas

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I'll check put that video once I'm back home again. I'm currently on holiday in Jersey and very little internet.

JBT I think we have locked horns over this issue in the past, maybe on some other forum, or was that just mouthpiece pitch?

IQ'm going to look into the mouthpiece plus neck pitch thing as it may be more relevant in some ways. Or maybe not. I could be related purely to brand and not something you can make a generic rule about.
 

jbtsax

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You're welcome. For those who haven't seen Shooshie's mouthpiece exercises, here is a link:
2.6 The Mouthpiece Exercise. For the record, I don't have a clue who "Shooshie" really is and I know this information did not originate with him. He is just the one known for widely dissemination the ideas on the web. Here are a few of my thoughts.

1. It is important to note that he starts on the suggested mouthpiece pitch for each saxophone and goes down---never up.

2. Basically what changing the pitch the mouthpiece sounds by changing the shape of the oral cavity is learning what is called "voicing". Voicing is particularly important to playing harmonics and altissimo.

3. One can change the "voicing" of the note and lower the pitch on notes from high F down to about A on the saxophone without "lipping down" (relaxing the embouchure). It is easy to try, just raise the middle of the tongue on one of those notes.

4. Acoustically what happens on notes A and lower is that the resonances of the body tube of the saxophone are the strongest and control what Benade calls "the regime of oscillation" which is simply the fundamental along with all of its overtones below the cutoff frequency which is around F#3. This means simply that the sax dictates what note/pitch comes out.

5. On notes A2 and higher the resonances of the shorter body tube become weaker allowing a skilled player to use the resonance of the oral cavity "take over" the "regime of oscillation" from the body tube. Notes can be bent down in pitch and altissimo notes can be played using what are called "cross fingerings".

6. The whole point of practicing "Shooshie's" (for want of a better name) mouthpiece exercises is to develop the flexibility to "tune" the oral cavity in order to have a better command of the highest register of the saxophone.

7. Many professional classical players profess to having the ability to use "voicing" to change the timbre of notes in the middle and lower registers. This would mean that the oral cavity can somehow be used to control the harmonics of a note. This is one area where the jury is still out for me. It may or may not be the case. I will need more acoustic research data on this before I can say for certain that this has validity.
 
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jbtsax

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I'll check put that video once I'm back home again. I'm currently on holiday in Jersey and very little internet.

JBT I think we have locked horns over this issue in the past, maybe on some other forum, or was that just mouthpiece pitch?

IQ'm going to look into the mouthpiece plus neck pitch thing as it may be more relevant in some ways. Or maybe not. I could be related purely to brand and not something you can make a generic rule about.

It was mouthpiece pitch Pete, not mouthpiece plus neck which is a completely different matter, although they are somewhat related. I've got my "horns" up and ready whenever you would like to have another go at mouthpiece pitch. :popcorn:
 

jbtsax

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Thanks Guenne for posting a link to that study. I am familiar with Vanessa Hasbrook's work. What I have found is that jazz players who play lower on the mouthpiece pitch push the mouthpiece in farther to get the instrument up to A=440. When they do that, guess what? The mouthpiece + neck pitch is the same as the classical player who has the mouthpiece pulled out more!
 

Guenne

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Yes,

I agree.

And I think it is obvious that reed manipulation through the lips in regards of getting pitch should be very little.

Cheers,
Günter
 

Colin the Bear

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I pull out or push in to get the right sound/feel for different numbers. Push in for Dirty blues feel and pull out for a cleaner Desmond'ish sound. Somewhere in the middle to do battle with trumpet and trombone in a trad jazz front line.
 

Zootsax

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jbt, I'm beginning to think you and I share a lot of the same opinions on saxophone pedagogy. Bravo. And it was great to see the Bergonzi video again.
 

Zootsax

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Just to add this to the mix, practicing voicing pitches with the mouthpiece alone is also a great way to work on voicing as a warmup. I originally learned it from Nobuya Sugawa, and found it to be a great way of getting students to feel the muscle groups at work in the throat. If one practices it, it's possible to go as far as an octave or lower than the original pitch without needing to drop the jaw.
 

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