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Beginner Third lesson

saxysax

Member
Messages
53
Hello.

First things first - I LOVE my sax.

I've had my third lesson - yay!

I have a question. Probably a daft one.

I've read the thread about Father Charles and his battles. Good, thank you ... get that. But, if there are two sharp signs, indicating F & C ... does that mean all Fs and all Cs? (incidentals aside (get me with my music lingo.)) The higher and the lower?

That circle thing is complicated ... too much for me right now. A bit of an old tortoise me, slow but steady.

My homework this week is to learn D major - two octaves. Gosh.

I do find the timing tough. If I know the tune I can figure it all out, but if the tune is alien to me ... well.

Thanks for any and all replies.
 

rudjarl

Senile Member. Scandinavian Ambassadour of CaSLM
Messages
657
But, if there are two sharp signs, indicating F & C ... does that mean all Fs and all Cs? (incidentals aside (get me with my music lingo.)) The higher and the lower?
You are correct, it does mean all F's and C's. In all Octaves.

I do find the timing tough. If I know the tune I can figure it all out, but if the tune is alien to me ... well.
That is why you must learn the duration of the notes.

It takes time, getting the grips of music theory and bending the sax to your will, but it will give you endless hours of fun in the end :)

Have a fun journey.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,553
Yes!
if 2 sharps are shown in the key signature - as you say in D major = F# and C# - then all Fs and all Cs no matter where they appear on the stave will be sharpened (as you say unless they are changed by an accidental)
The sight reading thing comes slowly and with time. Try to sing the rhythm slowly at first. It doesn't matter if you can't actually sing the pitch, but try to get the rhythm into your head before trying to play it - hum, dum, grunt, whatever!
The cirle thing is pretty straight forward once you get it sussed - have you reached the "go down and enter by force" and "flats become easy after doing good" bit? - these help you remember the major scales that have increasing numbers of sharps, or flats (actually G,D,A,E,B,F#...and F,Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb (which is enharmonic to F#)...but still a useful way to help remember)
Well done so far.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Slight expansion to what Rudjarl and Mandy said. It's not only the stave, but the notes above and below the stave as well (e.g. in the D example, middle C).

Contrast this to accidentals in the music where only the line/space with the accidental is affected (although some scores break this rule).
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Way back in nineteen hundred and frozen to death - During lessons my tutor used to put a piece that I had never seen before (usually a Passadoble), on the stand and expect me to read it through and then play it note perfect. As others have said, getting the rhythm in your head is the solution. Then when you play the piece a few bum notes (they're cropping up a lot lately on the forum!) won't matter. I found saying 'Ta' to the notes worked best.

John.
 
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MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,553
Slight expansion to what Rudjarl and Mandy said. It's not only the stave, but the notes above and below the stave as well (e.g. in the D example, middle C).

Contrast this to accidentals in the music where only the line/space with the accidental is affected (although some scores break this rule).
I was surprised last week to learn that when a grace note is also accidentals then it affects the relevant note in the rest of the bar. In a piece I'm playing (in D major as it happens) I have a grace note F natural, folowed by 2 more Fs in the bar. I hadn't appreciated these now also become natural. This is especially important if you choose not to play the grace notes (which as a beginner you may choose not to) you still need to pay attention if they are accidentals.
 

saxyman

Member
Messages
267
You sound very enthusiastic, thats great and you also enjoy what you are achieving and have no fear or embarrassment of asking what to some may be simple questions. I admire you for that. Eventually it will all fall into place. Music Theory as far as i am concerned is very complicated yet also structured. I find that when i understand something new I get this great sense of achievement which makes it all worthwhile and then when it is applied to your playing be you a natural or not, what a buzz you get.
Keep at it
Dave.
 

saxysax

Member
Messages
53
Thanks all.

Yes, I try and get it in my head before I play ... ta tee tee tee ta ... etc. I thought being a girl I may have an advantage as we are supposed to be natural multi-taskers but, alas, if I think about the beat I lose the fingers and if I think about the throat I forget to breath ... gosh. I'm hoping something turns automatic soon before I cause myself some brain damage. I worry people won't notice.

... have you reached the "go down and enter by force" and "flats become easy after doing good" bit? - these help you remember the major scales that have increasing numbers of sharps, or flats (actually G,D,A,E,B,F#...and F,Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb (which is enharmonic to F#)...but still a useful way to help remember)
Well done so far.
Gosh. I know what 'enharmonic' means - read about them, can't remember any off bat, but I have read about them. As for the rest eeeeeeeee.

Yes, I am VERY enthusiastic. I WILL get good at this.

I should have named this 'Saxysax's daft question' thread. But, I have another. My tutor said something about my playing in a certain 'key' (I think he said key) did that mean the pieces he chose for that day? Or does the alto 'suit' a certain key? If I were to buy sheet music ... should it be specific to the alto, or specific to sax, or specific to key.

A 'Grace note'---- um, a note that is optional?

I'm going to have a another crack at that scale now. The night shift workers have been up for five whole minutes ... they'll be fine.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
No daft qustions...

1 - thanks to Mandy, I should have siad it was for the remainder of the bar.
2 - Key.... Get a keyboard or virtual keyboard in front of you. Find a C play the white notes one after the other until you get to C again. Do it again and listen carefully. the sound interval (pitch change) from note to note is different, pecifically TTHTTTH where T is a full tone and H is a half tone. Now try doing the same starting on the next note (D). Sounds rather different.... And to get the same intervals you need to raise the F and C by a half tone /sharpen). On a keybaord the pitch change from one not to the next is half a tone when you include balck notes, as you should. So playing in a key means which note of the scale you start on. C, D and so on.
3 - Saxophones are what's known as transposing instruments. They play a different note to what's written in the score. Altos and baritones are in Eb, Tenors and Sopranos are in Bb. Meaning that the written C played on the sax i really the Eb or Bb, depending on which sax it is.
4 - You can play any music you like on your sax, but if you want o play with others, it needs to be arranged for your sax. And... needs to be within the range of your sax.
5 - Grace notes are not really optional, but are written ornaments, played quickly and take up part of the time of the note they precede. If you knwo the tune Gimme Some Lovin, the first, really quick note is a grace note. However, it's often easier to leave them out when you're learning. But the music sounds lost without them.... They're printed smaller than the note they precede and are linked to it with a slur.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
From your post it does sound as if the "key" would refer to the notes that you are playing - for example the key of D major (D E F# G A B C# D) or D minor (D E F G A Bb C D), rather than what key the particular instrument is in, as KevvyG explains. Given that music is written in all sorts of keys for a variety of reasons, you are likely to have to develop the ability to play in all sorts of keys, according to the choice of the composer concerned. Obviously on sax some keys are easier than others, according to how many sharps and flats are involved, or how many enharmonic notes there are.

Hope this helps
Tom
 

saxysax

Member
Messages
53
Thanks I understand most of that. This bit ...

'Meaning that the written C played on the sax i really the Eb or Bb, depending on which sax it is.'

I know where middle c is on the piano. Does the above mean Eb on my alto should sound like middle c on the piano? And if so, is it as simple (I use that term loosely - simple for other people - not me) as taking middle c of some piano music and then moving up (or down) half and full tones accordingly to adapt that music to the sax?

Thanks for all your patience by the way. I have read so much but you guys put it clearer and in bite size portions. Ta mucho.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Spot on!

The C major (CDEFGABC) scale on the Alto sax is, in fact, the Eb Major scale (EbFGAbBbCDEb) on piano. Several music books (such as Jamey Aebersold) have tunes written in C, Eb, Bb and so on so that you have music which can be playd by different instruments without having to transpose it.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
'Meaning that the written C played on the sax i really the Eb or Bb, depending on which sax it is.'

I know where middle c is on the piano. Does the above mean Eb on my alto should sound like middle c on the piano? And if so, is it as simple (I use that term loosely - simple for other people - not me) as taking middle c of some piano music and then moving up (or down) half and full tones accordingly to adapt that music to the sax?
Just about. Your alto actually plays the Eb below middle C when you play the 'low' C, written middle C on the music. However it's usually easier to think of it as having gone up when transposing, so you move the notes DOWN the 2 1/2 tones when going from piano pitch (better known as concert pitch) to the alto. And don't forget the key signature. There are some rules/tricks, but better leave them for another day.

With tenor you usually move the notes UP a full tone.
 

saxysax

Member
Messages
53
Thanks both. See? I'd read the term 'concert pitch' and couldn't figure out what it was on about. I'd also read about music in Eb or Bb ... now I know why.

I feel all enlightened now.
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
If you are on your third lesson and your teacher is any good they will not let you worry about transposition and concert pitch yet nor will you probably see grace notes or enharmonics for a while. It will all be introduced gradually as you gain experience.
Well done so far!
YC
 

saxysax

Member
Messages
53
If you are on your third lesson and your teacher is any good they will not let you worry about transposition and concert pitch yet nor will you probably see grace notes or enharmonics for a while. It will all be introduced gradually as you gain experience.
Well done so far!
YC
Yes, I haven't been asked to do it yet, it's me reading ahead.

My tutor is a player I think, more than a teacher. Which is good for me as he wants me to have fun in the lesson as well as cover the techy stuff. I think we are going to get along just fine.

I am enjoying myself.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Good! Lots of good tecchy stuff on Pete's Taming the Saxophone site. Click on Saxophone Stuff at the top of the page.

Fun is the most important thing about this!
 

saxysax

Member
Messages
53
I'll have had my sax for one month tomorrow.

I was planning on treating you all to a one-night-only access to my soundcloud to 'show' any improvement. But I can't get it to work.

Bet you're all really upset about that, eh?

I had a fourth lesson. He suggested a different read ( a 2) which I have to confess does seem to make me sound a little less flat. More depth and dare I suggest a nicer tone. He asked me to hang on a bit longer to play along with him and his next pupil. I agreed but I was terrified. The next pupil arrived and she was about 6! The sax was bigger than she was. Anyway she took the lead, him the middle (techy term escapes me) and I had the bass duh, duh doo at the bottom.

Somehow they finished several bars before me. The girls' Mummy thought it very funny.

It was all very traumatic, but I've got over it.

Still loving it.

Just wondering, Tommo maybe, I'd like to learn Calon Lan (a simple version of the tune - obviously) any ideas where I can get the sheet music from?
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
If "Tommo" refers to me, you are on shaky ground, Saxo!

The original is available on www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/sfo/music/001623.HTM but I'm just trying to find an Eb version. Good to hear that you have gone up a level reed wise -must mean that your embouchure is developing well.

Kind regards
Tom

Just did a brief search and Calon Lan sheet music is available in several collections of Brass music - for Eb instruments, but cannot find a free transcription as yet. C'mon Sunray, work your magic....!
 
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