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Saxophone and Folk music?

Paul Warner

Member
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312
I`ve been asked for some time to play sax, probably soprano, in a folk context. However, willing as I am, I don`t know much in the way of folk tunes. Does anyone know where I might obtain a folkies `real` or `fake` book so that I can start learning some tunes? (even if I do have to TRANSPOSE!.....feeeelthy word!):):):):)
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
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1,061
The sax is a decendent of the very folky clarinet. It`s all in the mind. If you play the notes in a folky way then it becomes a folk instrument..

One thing I dislike about the sax is that it is almost always completely tied in with blues and jazz. I love most jazz music but resent the implication.

I`m sure most of the people that visit here would disagree with this idea and see the saxophone as being a versitile musical instrument.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
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5,987
Hmm interesting one this. The clarinet is really a late C18th onwards instrument. It's earlier baroque antecedent is the chalumeau, which is rather more raucous (I've heard modern replicas played - by the way the ligature is just a piece of twine wrapped round the reed and mouthpiece).

A lot of folk music, particularly dance music (as opposed to say C19th folksongs / shanties) dates from the C16th and C17th.

One of the main sources for that music is Playford's English Dancing Master of 1651 - see here: [Link]. This is readily available in modern editions and it's not expensive. A lot of these tunes are still in use in barn dances / ceilidhs.

People can get overly purist about 'authenticity': short of actually being there at the time, nothing else is truly "authentic". I have no issues with people playing whatever music they wish - just enjoy it. :)
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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5,988
The trouble with learning folk tunes is that there a gazillion of them so which do you pick? When I started playing in a folk band I didn't know any of the tunes so I just improvised my way around them. Eventually I learned a good number of the band's tunes, but I still improvised a lot.
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
I cannot imagine a sax in folk music, but have to try. They say you play what you listen to and I have been around folk music for one million years. I believe it has a lot to do with beer, so get that right and you wont have to worry about much else. Good luck.
Mike
ps If you learn about six of them and do two pints for every one of them, it will take care of itself.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
I believe that young Mr Tenorviol is incorrect. Playford's was aimed at the Middle and Upper Classes of the period not the underclass. Of course he could offer the counter argument 'That Pills to Purge Melancholy' a book of troubador songs was also aimed at the better off, yet they featured in my Folk Club set, mainly because they are extremely salacious.

Whatever you do Paul, remember Child Ballads, not about the young simply the cataloguers name, possess up to 300 verses. Lose count and you're dead. :)
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,909
The saxes from the C family is fine in folk music. A guy who is in to folkmusic is using my C soprano ( 1923 Beuscher) and C tenor (Conn 1928). Sounds good.

Thomas
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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5,988
Blimey. Someone who makes a C tenor sound good. Must be a first.

I had no trouble with a Bb sop.

As an afterthought - if all you ever do is play sax in a folk band it makes no sense really to treat the sax as a transposing instrument. So 1 lh is A not B (Bb sax). I've met a number of players who do this.
 
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thomsax

Well-Known Member
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3,909
Blimey. Someone who makes a C tenor sound good. Must be a first.

I had no trouble with a Bb sop.

As an afterthought - if all you ever do is play sax in a folk band it makes no sense really to treat the sax as a transposing instrument. So 1 lh is A not B (Bb sax). I've met a number of players who do this.

Believe it or not, the C tenor sounds good. But the C soprano is better. I don't like sound of C saxes, but the C soprano sounds IMO better than the C tenor.
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,421
I dabble in a bit of melodeon (very nice with strawberries as a refreshing starter, I find :)) and get a lot of fun playing the morris tunes on soprano. There are a few free downloads of this material - I have Paul Hardys Basic Tunebook, and there is also the more comprehensive Session Tunebook, 300-odd trad Irish and English folk dance tunes.

http://www.pghardy.net/concertina/tunebooks/pgh_session_tunebook.pdf

Being for squeeze-boxes they are all in D or F, so not a difficult transpose.

Hope that helps
 

Paul Warner

Member
Messages
312
That`s absolutely great chaps.....brilliant, in fact. Thanks one and all. Didn`t realise so many of you were folkies. It`s the soulful ballads I`m really interested in, and you`ve given me some great sources.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Dooce,
Didn't you mean D and G and the related minors, the two standard keys for English and C and F for Continental two rowers? Irish are frequently chromatic, consisting of two rows a semitone apart and single row boxes can be in any key and if you've got a Cajun fan, not in equal temperament, something you are likely to find with folk fiddlers. Most folk guitarists and banjo pickers are expert capo users and frequently use very strange tunings, so it might not be quite so easy.

Written as the proud owner of a Hohner Erika two and a half row, converted from Club to a D/G, fourth button start for Morris with a half row of flattened third, fifths and sevenths for blues and a plastic Butterfly in C for laughs and showing off.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
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5,987
You are correct and this is a complex subject and I am certainly not an expert in this area (anyone fancy a Ph.D - I'm sure there's one in there somewhere?). My limited understanding is that the street and theatre music of the day (which was the popular music of that time) was 'gentrified' and turned into dance music. Because few sources of the originals exist, Playford, is often the only source of what had been well-known popular tunes at the time.

There again, I could be completely wrong. Complex area.
 

Paul Warner

Member
Messages
312
What`s all this `rowing` and `boxing`, then? What have I started? Can`t find any of that stuff on either me double bass or me saxes!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
I`ve been asked for some time to play sax, probably soprano, in a folk context. However, willing as I am, I don`t know much in the way of folk tunes. Does anyone know where I might obtain a folkies `real` or `fake` book so that I can start learning some tunes? (even if I do have to TRANSPOSE!.....feeeelthy word!):):):):)

I think you'd be better with a whistle or two. Failing that, a C sop....
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Kev,
The major distinction is that Melodeons are bisonoric.

That is they send you to sleep.

Apologies for being serious.
 
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