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palm key notes question?

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Greetings, all. So recently I was practicing longtones on the palm key notes, I had been practicing overtones too. I was having thin notes in that range. I placed my lower lip a bit further away from the upper register area of the reed in order to get the reed to vibrate more & play more free in the upper range.

Before I tried the technique of placing the lower lip away from the said area, I had more difficulty controlling the palm key range of the sax. Goal was to get that to vibrate more.

I got the idea of trying that after watching a video of Dave Liebman explaining the embouchure & him talking about shaping it like if the letter V was being said.

My question is, should the lower lip be placed slightly further from the upper register in order to get a better sound in the palm key range?


Reed.jpg
 

Nick Wyver

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You should try and cultivate an embouchure that doesn't change from bottom Bb to top F.
 

kernewegor

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In reverse order....

Embouchure should not alter according to pitch - but the shape of the oral cavity, wind pressure, and where in your mind's eye you think you are directing your breath is another matter i.e. "blowing towards your left thumb" etc.

Letter V..... I agree - I think of it as shaping your lips like a baby sucking its thumb... which is a good jazz embouchure, although classical musicians put their bottom lip over their teeth, giving (to my mind...) a peely wally tone...

I think that the diagram is meant to indicate where you are supposed to imagine that you are directing your breath. Certainly the various parts of the range are not produced by separate parts of the reed as far as I know.... Jbtsax is the man to comment on this...
 

jbtsax

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I am glad to respond to the question in this thread even though I have a "peely wally" tone from playing with my bottom lip over my teeth. >:)

The chart posted is one that shows which areas of a reed to scrape to increase that reeds response in those registers of the instrument. The entire cut portion of the reed vibrates when one plays. Those areas marked on the chart have nothing to do with the placement of the lip on the reed. Placing the top teeth on the mouthpiece directly above where the reed and mouthpiece come together on the lay puts the lower lip in the optimum position for most people.

Getting a fuller tone and more control when playing the palm key notes is more a function of the airstream (fast cold air) and a well formed embouchure that is not too tight or loose (mp + neck = Ab concert alto, E concert tenor). I have my students imagine how opera singers sing their highest notes and practice the palm key notes as long tones with that concept to move past the small pinched sound they tend to get.

It is all about using the maximum amount of air and then controlling the sound, not by biting, but by pushing in with the corners of the mouth. I teach to work first on getting a big sound when playing the notes in that range and then working toward refining that big sound. If you start with a small or medium sound, you have nothing to work with.
 
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I am glad to respond to the question in this thread even though I have a "peely wally" tone from playing with my bottom lip over my teeth. >:)

The chart posted is one that shows which areas of a reed to scrape to increase that reeds response in those registers of the instrument. The entire cut portion of the reed vibrates when one plays. Those areas marked on the chart have nothing to do with the placement of the lip on the reed. Placing the top teeth on the mouthpiece directly above where the reed and mouthpiece come together on the lay puts the lower lip in the optimum position for most people.

Getting a fuller tone and more control when playing the palm key notes is more a function of the airstream (fast cold air) and a well formed embouchure that is not too tight or loose (mp + neck = Ab concert alto, E concert tenor). I have my students imagine how opera singers sing their highest notes and practice the palm key notes as long tones with that concept to move past the small pinched sound they tend to get.

It is all about using the maximum amount of air and then controlling the sound, not by biting, but by pushing in with the corners of the mouth. I teach to work first on getting a big sound when playing the notes in that range and then working toward refining that big sound. If you start with a small or medium sound, you have nothing to work with.

True!! I try my best not to bite on the palm key notes
 

kevgermany

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You'll probably find that getting the lower lip out improves all your tones.

The real reason behind the objection to changing embouchure between registers is that it gets in the way as you play faster. And you don't have to be playing very fast for this to happen.
 

Colin the Bear

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Try playing palm notes with a tuner to see where you're pitching them. I thought I was playing flat on the palm keys and tried to lift them, putting it down to a cheap saxophone with poor intonation. The tuner showed me I was playing sharp and trying too hard. After relaxing into the high notes intonation stopped being a problem. I find that playing tunes on just the mouthpiece by altering oral cavity helps to educate the embouchure and tune the ear. Biting strangles your tone and makes your face ache.
 

kernewegor

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I am glad to respond to the question in this thread even though I have a "peely wally" tone from playing with my bottom lip over my teeth. >:)

Only a leg-pull, jbtsax! And I knew you would come up with the technical information!

Some great players have a pure tone - but I never have, so maybe it's sour grapes...or something.

I was once asked to play the clarinet part on Schubert's 'Wohin' to accompany a (pretty lousy) pianist who liked classical music and played it terribly.

We gave it a go... and he rather sourly asked me if I could not play with a tone more suggestive of a clear mountain stream rather than a sewage outfall...
 
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kernewegor

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Don't tense your throat, also - a fault pointed out to me by Jock Craig, my clarinet and alto sax teacher donkey's years ago.
 
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Don't tense your throat, also - a fault pointed out to me by Jock Craig, my clarinet and alto sax teacher donkey's years ago.

Thanks! also try not to tense my throat. Good thing my goal is to take private lessons in college because I am willing to get rid of some shortcomings I've had on my instrument. The poor excuse of a school (that i graduated from) lacked a music program.
 

jbtsax

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Am I understanding it correctly that Liebman advises less reed inside the mouth for low notes and more reed inside the mouth for high notes?
 
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Am I understanding it correctly that Liebman advises less reed inside the mouth for low notes and more reed inside the mouth for high notes?

Yes. Based on the photo, he advises that. I put slightly more reed but not too far in, just enough for me to be able to control the sound
 

jbtsax

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Good luck with that. Liebman has his own way of doing things that work for him. Doing those lip gymnastics going from one register to the next would not work for me. Hopefully they will for you.
 

altissimo

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I think this explains what Liebman's getting at - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROPRATRrGjA
opinions differ about lip movement, embouchure and all kinds of other things, so it's best to find out what works best for yourself. I found Liebman's book helpful, but I don't regard it as the way of doing things
 
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kevgermany

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If you study videos of top players you'll see some adjusting the amount of reed, others not. One advantage of getting lips forward is that you can adjust lip contact by moving the mouthpiece backwards and forward. As you move the mouthpiece away from your mouth lip contact increases as your lips pout more.
 
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I think this explains what Liebman's getting at - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROPRATRrGjA
opinions differ about lip movement, embouchure and all kinds of other things, so it's best to find out what works best for yourself. I found Liebman's book helpful, but I don't regard it as the way of doing things

There we go!! That's the video from which I referenced my basis for the topic of this thread & after practicing!
 

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