The saxophone has become a common instrument used in many genres of music, mainly jazz. The rich, resonating tone that emanates from the sax is pleasing to hear and affords any musical piece a bridge between the woodwind and brass instruments, completing the song or melody. In truth, the sax was created to do just that. Adolphe Sax, its inventor, wanted to develop an instrument that would be the most powerful vocal of the woodwinds and the most adaptive of the brass and hoped that it would fill the then vacant middle ground between the two sections.
Since its creation in 1841, the sax has become very popular and has also been widely used in big bands, popular music, rock and roll, and the blues. Today, musicians continue to try to learn it. And thanks to the advancement of technology, learning it has become easier as lessons that are made available on the Internet, through a print out or sax video, are highly accessible. It is through these resources that any saxophone player can learn the various techniques that can be played on a sax in order to create different sounds. Listed in the following paragraphs are a few of those said methods.
Slap Tonguing. This sax technique is said to date back to at least the late 1920s and has been in use until today by contemporary artists. This is one of the more difficult sounds to produce on the instrument compared to others as it usually takes some time, patience, and a lot of practice to develop.
The way to do it is to lay your tongue against the reed so that its tip and rail are closed.
There should be very little air left in your mouth so when you seal it off with your lips it makes a very tight fit. You should then release your tongue downwards, drop your jaw, and open your mouth in a popping manner. This should all be done in a very quick and fluid motion.
You can always refer to a sax video, like the one from Eric Marienthal, to give you a clearer picture on how this technique is done.
Growling. This method is meant to create a modulation of the sound produced from a saxophone by having the musician hum or growl with the back of his or her throat while playing. An effective way of practicing this technique is to play a note on your sax then hum any other note in the back of your throat. You should continue doing this until the pitch of the hummed noted doesn’t cause any interference with the note you’re playing on the saxophone.
The growl is most often associated with the jazz and blues genre, with legends like Ben Webster and Earl Bostic using it when they play.
Overtones. Mastering the overtone on the saxophone is a great way to improve the instrument’s tone, intonation, and altissimo. The way to achieve this sound is to finger one note but alter the air stream to produce another note, which is an overtone of the fingered note. In doing this, you will be preventing the lowest vibration from sounding so that the next highest overtone takes over as the primary pitch.
Glissando. Another difficult but highly rewarding technique, the glissando requires a saxophone player to bend a note through voicing and at the same time slide his or her fingers to another fingered note. Doing this on the sax is quite difficult because the keys are set, unlike other woodwind instruments. Thus, a performer must learn how to move the keys very slowly and smoothly to create a perfect glissando.
The saxophone techniques mentioned may not be so easy to master but with the right amount of perseverance, practice and some help from a sax video, your musical dreams may be soon within your grasp.
There is more that you can learn about how to play the saxophone, the greatest saxophonists of all time, and other sax techniques through a sax video; visit http://saxvideo.org for more useful information.
Raffy Chan is a writer and internet enthusiast, based in California. He enjoys doing research, writing, and website/s creation. He is the originator of the QuidErgo Group: a community of professionals, authors, artists and computer enthusiasts who come together with the common aim of communicating with the online world.
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