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Mule: Eighteen Exercises after Berbiguier

Andante cantabile

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I have discovered, to my great consternation, that there doesn't seem to any thread, nor even a mention, of the Eighteen Exercises or Studies for all Saxophones After Berbiguier by Marcel Mule. I acquired these about three months ago, and I am slowly working my way through them. They are described as level 4 and 5 in the system used by Leduc, the publishers which goes from 1 (easy) to 9 (difficult). I will not bother to describe them, but they might appeal, for example, to people who are looking for opportunities to practice big intervals.

Sometimes I wonder why one is more attracted to one set of studies than another. I also have, among others, the Selected Studies for Saxophone by H. Voxman which I find less appealing. But others presumably are hooked on them.
 

kevgermany

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I think most of the members are playing tunes, or following a jazz/rock route, not a classical one, which may explain the lack of a mention.
 

kernewegor

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I think most of the members are playing tunes, or following a jazz/rock route, not a classical one, which may explain the lack of a mention.

I am sure that you are correct, Kev.

Having said that, some of the early jazz greats (e.g. Art Tatum) used etudes from the symphony tradition in order to develop technique, probably because no-one had got around to developing a jazz equivalent at that time. It increased in the bebop era with many players (Parker for one) using what they could find to develop virtuoso techniques. Practicing up to fifteen hours a day for four years and being a fierce reader, he must have got through a lot of material...

Since Aebersold and others pioneered jazz education there is now a lot more to choose from. The "Taming the Saxophone" site is only a click away...

I wouldn't dismiss looking at etudes and music from other genres, though. The wider one's frame of reference and all that... here's one of Mule's etudes on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUuGxUEPBP0

If one ignores the distinctly un-hip movements of the player (is this type of body language part of classical training?) the technical ability is impressive. Some of it wouldn't have been far out of place in Irish traditional music - virtuoso tin whistle music (people like Brendan Ring, for example) played on an alto sax.

Rapidly repeated figures on a handful of notes is an excellent way to increase facility. Aebersold's Little Red Book and and Jazz Advice website ( http://jazzadvice.com/how-to-practice-scales-for-speed/ ) have similar exercises.

Pete's third book, Intermediate Studies, is bound to - I'll give you my take on it when it arrives!

Mule's book is around thirty dollars plus carriage, but what is in it doesn't seem to be publicised.

If Andante Cantabile would be so kind as to give us a rundown on the contents I am sure that Cafe members who are in to the classical repertoire would be interested, and maybe those of us who are into jazz could also be tempted...
 
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kevgermany

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There's a strong tendency to dismiss what has gone before, in the search for new. Seems to be endemic in creative people. It seems to extend to exercises and people only go to exercises when forced.

When you compare it to the musical training a classical player is put through....

But I wonder how much exercises stifle creativity. And put people off at a fairly early stage of musical training. Pretty much all the instruction books now are based around melodies, with the odd bit of scales/theory thrown in. Seems to keep the kids at it for longer, but do they then go on to develop the technical skills/dexterity that came from a traditional approach?

There's a lot of really good stuff in Taming the sax III. But guys need to be driven to use it. I'm a prime example...
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
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This is the first of the Mule-Berbiguier exercises, definitely an easier one. The intervals get much bigger, often between one and two octaves. I wouldn't pretend that this book will suit all that many players, but for the situation described by kernewegor it could be useful. The eighteen exercises cover 22 pages.

http://www.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://i.prs.to/sm/ft/orig/ump-6161_2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/sm/7376746&h=800&w=591&sz=146&tbnid=uwlDtUzsLpybzM:&tbnh=95&tbnw=70&zoom=1&usg=__zWEniNGIGJQbU3ea0iOkos8R3QU=&docid=O4nJmCUhTSibGM&itg=1&sa=X&ei=UnsMUuW9M42ciQeikoCABg&ved=0CF4Q9QEwCw&dur=744

Kevgermany: I agree with your comments on the monotony of some of these things. When I used to learn the piano I had a copy of Czerny's School of Velocity. I am sure it is a great book compiled with the best of intentions, but you have to be something special to enjoy it.
 

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
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cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
There's a strong tendency to dismiss what has gone before, in the search for new. Seems to be endemic in creative people. It seems to extend to exercises and people only go to exercises when forced.

When you compare it to the musical training a classical player is put through....

But I wonder how much exercises stifle creativity. And put people off at a fairly early stage of musical training. Pretty much all the instruction books now are based around melodies, with the odd bit of scales/theory thrown in. Seems to keep the kids at it for longer, but do they then go on to develop the technical skills/dexterity that came from a traditional approach?

There's a lot of really good stuff in Taming the sax III. But guys need to be driven to use it. I'm a prime example...


Very valid comments, Kev.

Advantages and disadvantages... on the web one can find criticism of musical education in the USA based on course material from Aebersold and others. Critics claim that it produces a 'standardised' product - lots more musicians with higher technical abilities, but all sounding very similar because they have all learned with the same materials and had the same goals held before them by their educators. An educational production line...

How true this is I don't know. Sounds like a good topic for an academic paper...

It's a tough one to crack. Jazz musicians should be able to access an education equal - but different - to classical musicians. How can this be achieved without producing musical clones?

Much of the technical and artistic innovations in jazz were the result of jam sessions. Maybe this is what jazz university courses lack? A judicial mix of formal classroom and individual tuition and jam sessions, maybe?

It needs doing properly with the essential props: a suitable bar, whacky backy, hooch and a good selection of chicks... if so, I'll sign on as a mature student!

(Anyone using the words 'throwback' or 'stereotyping' will have any virtual oranges they may have confiscated...)
 
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