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New to Alto - Any advice?

Lelly

Scarily Tall!!!!
Messages
167
OK, I am currently playing for ur local musical theatre group and the score for hello Dolly has arrived and has the Clari (me) doubling on Alto.

To save me transposing all of the alto music for the Bb sop I am borrowing an alto sax to play. Any advice as I have never played one before!

Lx
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Try to scrounge an alto stand with a clarinet peg.

Alto's not really different to sop. Looser embouchure and more air is about all, and less variation in breath support from high to low notes.
 

Lelly

Scarily Tall!!!!
Messages
167
Don't rule out buying a mouthpiece you will be comfortable with. It will be handy next time.
And there is ALWAYS a next time. I always tend to do the same. I double on Eb clari so had to get a mouthpiece for that as well. I will see how I get on with the one that comes with the instrument. But if I have to then a trip to Windblowers will be in my future. I usually have a line of mouthpieces put on the desk them work my way through them "blind testing".

I do get the feeling that once you start in the dark world of the saxophone you end up getting at least one of each! I have done the same on the clari (I now have 2 x Bb. A, Eb, Alto).
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I do get the feeling that once you start in the dark world of the saxophone you end up getting at least one of each! I have done the same on the clari (I now have 2 x Bb. A, Eb, Alto).
And a drawer full of mouthpieces for each one...
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
I do get the feeling that once you start in the dark world of the saxophone you end up getting at least one of each! I have done the same on the clari (I now have 2 x Bb. A, Eb, Alto).
I cannot but notice the striking absence of a bass.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,005
When going to alto sax from the clarinet there are some important points to remember:

Angle of mouthpiece
Clarinet - goes down 45 degrees
Saxophone - goes straight into the mouth

Embouchure
Clarinet - "EE-OO" tug-o-war with the muscles ends in a tie resulting in a flat chin
Saxophone - same "EE - OO" tug-o-war, but the "OO's" win, chin is rounded but not bunched

Air
Clarinet - generally faster, colder air blown against lots of resistance
Saxophone - generally slower, warmer air with little resistance.

Mouthpiece pitch
Clarinet - plays at or near the top of its pitch, you can't "lip up"
Saxophone - plays closer to the center of the pitch, mouthpiece and neck should sound Ab concert on alto

One of the most common problems I have found when teaching sax students to double on clarinet is that they miss the clarinet's resistance when blowing so they unconsciously constrict the throat to have something to "push against". The other is that they play with too tight an embouchure and get a pinched sound that is sharp---especially in the high register. If you keep these things in your mind when practicing, you will do fine. The Fobes Debut would be a good inexpensive mouthpiece to start out on. In the limited time you have, a mouthpiece with a wide open tip may not be the best to start out on.
 

AndyWhiteford

Senior Member
Messages
454
and get a Basset Hound , too, they make lovely pets...

uhm --seriously, could you play the Eb alto parts on Eb alto clarinet or Eb sopranino clarinet ?
a professional MD will throw you out of the band, but if it's amateur local musical theatre , they might be more understanding ??

<blatant shill> p.s. i have a nice alto available in the yard sale </shill>
 

Gandalfe

Member
Messages
107
I ask my new sax friends coming from the world of clarinet to please, please, please do some long tones with a tuner where they start soft and go loud and return soft for 4 to 8 beats. A month of this, and you will have that sax embouchure thang down pat. Just because you can play the notes, and the clarinet players tend to find most alto music boring, doesn't mean it sounds good. Make it sound good.
 
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