The tuning will come if you keep working at it. For me it is a combination of good "input pitch" and mouthpiece placement on the cork. As far as tone quality in the upper register is concerned I remember struggling with that as well. Reeds that are a bit on the soft side don't help. What I did for a long time was to try to make the palm key notes sound pretty by using less air and tightening my embouchure. All I ever got was a pinched sound that was weak. What changed my thinking was listening to a recording of the great classical saxophonist Marcel Mule and hearing the full and beautiful sound he achieved on those notes. It got me thinking of how operatic singers approach the highest notes as well by "going for them" and not backing off.I went through hell today, pushed the mouthpiece way up, was pretty much in tune, but I still can't get a decent sound from the palm keys. I'm going to need a lot of practice -- well, that's what beginnings are about, and I have the time -- but I'm confused by the possibilities. Plus, how do you reconcile this with the business of "tuning" the sax with the mouthpiece position and the overtone method espoused here many times?
What I am finding is that I can adjust the intonation to be decent regardless of the mouthpiece, hopefully that is a Good Sign™. If it's like slide guitar, I just need to keep playing. For this tuning stuff, I am working on a major tune that lends itself to checking intonation, Mercy Mercy.
The 4C is a far better mouthpiece than £31 suggests. Good on Yamaha!Today I used the 4C that came with the YAS-480. It can be pushed even further up than most. It I have little no problem staying in tune on the first octave, and little on the octave D E and up, but the palm keys are still very hard to get the intonation right. I'm going to try to practice this way daily for a week and see what happens.
I'd never heard Mule play (but cursed him a lot when wading through his study books). Amazing hearing him, and the trends of playing that happen in classical music, not just jazz and pop. That's some vibrato!! Great articulation. It's a shame he never shuts the vibrato off for my personal taste. Terrific cadenza. Thanks Randulo, amazing to hear these iconic names.The tuning will come if you keep working at it. For me it is a combination of good "input pitch" and mouthpiece placement on the cork. As far as tone quality in the upper register is concerned I remember struggling with that as well. Reeds that are a bit on the soft side don't help. What I did for a long time was to try to make the palm key notes sound pretty by using less air and tightening my embouchure. All I ever got was a pinched sound that was weak. What changed my thinking was listening to a recording of the great classical saxophonist Marcel Mule and hearing the full and beautiful sound he achieved on those notes. It got me thinking of how operatic singers approach the highest notes as well by "going for them" and not backing off.
Rather than start with a weak and timid sound, I changed to getting those notes to sound as loud and full as possible regardless of the tone. That gave me a big sound that was full and robust although rough around the edges that I could begin to work to refine. That approach actually improved by embouchure and air control and made all the difference. I even came up with a warm up playing a Bb scale or arpeggio starting on a low Bb at forte and going up to palm F focusing on using the same amount of air on palm F as I did on the low Bb.
This is the specific example that changed my approach to high notes. Try not to be put off by the fast vibrato or the French "classical" sound which isn't to everyone's taste, but listen to his approach to the high F in the phrase.
Let me try by describing my method of tuning my alto sax. I start with the mouthpiece approximately half way on the cork. Then I check my input pitch by playing the mouthpiece alone making sure it is no higher than A=880. Then I check the pitch of the mouthpiece plus neck and adjust my embouchure so the pitch matches Ab concert.No one has answered my question:
How do you reconcile the idea of pushing the mouthpiece significantly higher up the cork with the method of "tuning" the instrument involving a B overtone and the octave F#?
Yes, follow your ear. Donald Fagen always complains of moderns synths being out of tune, especially up top. To be fair to Randulo though, he's saying that he's just not sure that his start point is correct (ie placement of mouthpiece onto crook/or possible really duff note on his sax), so he isn't sure whether he's giving himself more work to do in the first place or not.Focusing on only the tuning will do your head in with saxophone. All the above is good practice but after doing it, forget it. The saxophone doesn't play in tune. Accept it and play on.
Something happens when playing a well rehearsed piece. You hit the note to make the music speak. There is so much that goes on automatically or subliminally. Make music. The idiosyncratic nature of the saxophone is where it's charm lives.
As a guitarist I can understand how precise tuning is important. Equal/Even temperament and all that but there's a range where a note will harmonise and sound good to a greater and lesser extent. You don't have to hit the note on the tuner to be in tune.
This video helped me get my ear round playing in tune by ear. Trust your ear.
Yes, this was the way I was taught clarinetI'm not sure if it's 100% on topic, but anyway, it's interesting:
The chin is much-discussed in clarinet pedagogy. Keith Stein suggests a “stretching” of the chin, making it feel “long and pointed” and “rather hard.” David Pino, a student of Stein’s, echoes this. Jane Ellsworth describes a chin that is “drawn downward” (while the jaw provides a “controlled”...bretpimentel.com
Just a reed, nothing else? That's feather weight.Dan Forshaw British Saxophonist says a Joe Allard method is: the amount of pressure it takes to hold a Reed still in your mouth is the correct embouchure pressure,. It is on YouTube I can post the link if you wish but it's a 10 minute video for 10 seconds of advice.