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Tenor breakthrough! Supernatural cause suspected...

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
518
I have been struggling with the tenor for about 3 years now - occasionally pick it up, sound rubbish for a week or so, and revert back to alto, with which I am fine. Last night some half decent sounds came out - this morning a bit more promise, and then I got back from work this evening, tried again, and - bang into place, just the sound I wanted. How does this happen??! Will it desert me tomorrow?

Oddly I spent most of the day at work craftily watching Coltrane vids on Youtube (I am the boss, no danger of being sacked) - has the ghost of Trane been guiding me? Be-bop phantasmagoria surely the most likely reason, far more stastically likely than my embouchure finally having been tweaked by gradual practice...? I will watch some McCoy Tyner vids tonight, see if I can play piano in the morning...:welldone
 

spike

Old Indian
Messages
2,253
For me, it was a thunderbolt, a lightning strike that instantly and permanently rearranged my brain chemistry. Not long before I met Branford, a friend of mine, Ortley, strapped his Selmer Mark VI alto saxophone round my neck and showed me where to rest my fingers and how to form my embouchure - the recruitment of several dozen facial muscles that support the lips, tongue, and teeth around the mouthpiece. I took a long breath and blew. The horn responded with a rich, resonant, low E-flat. I blew again, extending the note - my first long note - my whole body seemed to shape-shift into a musical instrument, my cells breaking down into their component atoms and gluons and reconstructing themselves with a unified mission: to produce a perfect tone. I noodled for another five minutes, found a simple three-note melody, and repeated it, now convinced that some long-dormant past-life had been unshackled.

There you are you see - Nothing to worry about - Happens all the time these days - get on with it.
 

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
518
For me, it was a thunderbolt, a lightning strike that instantly and permanently rearranged my brain chemistry. Not long before I met Branford, a friend of mine, Ortley, strapped his Selmer Mark VI alto saxophone round my neck and showed me where to rest my fingers and how to form my embouchure - the recruitment of several dozen facial muscles that support the lips, tongue, and teeth around the mouthpiece. I took a long breath and blew. The horn responded with a rich, resonant, low E-flat. I blew again, extending the note - my first long note - my whole body seemed to shape-shift into a musical instrument, my cells breaking down into their component atoms and gluons and reconstructing themselves with a unified mission: to produce a perfect tone. I noodled for another five minutes, found a simple three-note melody, and repeated it, now convinced that some long-dormant past-life had been unshackled.

There you are you see - Nothing to worry about - Happens all the time these days - get on with it.
I can already see the film - directed by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter - The Phantom Alto - Prepared to be Amazed - Prepare to be Enthralled - Prepare to be ...Changed!!
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
I don't know how representative you are of the playing community, but what you have experienced seems to be reasonably common. With a bit of effort it will last. What it shows is that the tenor is not merely an upscaled version of the also, but that it deserves to be considered a different instrument, albeit closely related to the alto.
 
Messages
192
maybe you've picked the right reed!
Anyway tenor and alto are different animals, if you're fine on alto try to spend 1 hour a day on tenor and then gradually increase the practicing time.
Start from overtones and longtones, they're the best tools to build intonation, airstream and therefore the sound!
If you will be constant you surely can achieve good results.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,551
I'm quite pleased you've posted this.
I have had my tenor 3 weeks.
Ordinarily I play alto and Bari. I enjoy them both and have no problems playing them or switching between them.
I can play the tenor, and maybe to others it sound musical, but to me, when I'm playing it, it sounds like some awful squark.....
Personally, I think it's an aural issue -it doesn't sound as I think it should, because I am used to an Eflat instrument, and my ears are expecting something else.
It's in tune - the meter says so - but so far, my ears and brain are not feeling it in the way they do on my alto and Bari.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
Why you no leeson I've explained this before, it's the big guy upstairs, when he thinks you've worked hard enough to get your sound he gives you a gentle tap on the back and says there you are off you go have fun.Well it's the only thing I can come up with that answers the question why did I sound rubbish yesterday and today I'm a Saxophone Wizard.Don't question these things just enjoy them.......John
 
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