Saxophone Forum


by briantroyano
(16 posts)
11 years ago

Soprano playes in high school

my band director will not let me play soprano in marching band or even in concert band, do yall have this problem, he says"soprano saxophone is a special instrument " i told him why dont i justplay tumpet part or clarinet part of tenor part but he said it is somecases used in jazz ensomble i dont no this happend to you?

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  1. by karebear1012
    (395 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Soprano playes in high school

    Most band and marching band scores don't have a soprano part to them. I also have a soprano, and my conductor said I could play soprano for some of the songs in band...because only some have parts.

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  2. by Saxman2200
    (64 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Soprano playes in high school

    The soprano is mostley reserved for sax quartets, and in some casses a more jazzy tune will have a soprano part. But it throws off the balence. In marching band it would be completly useless. Unless you had a curved soprano, the strait soprano pionts strait into the ground, which absorbs most of the sound anyways and when it does reach the audience it is late. This is the same reason that clarinets do not march. If you have some sort of obsession and just have to play soprano, I suggest you do a quartet for solo and ensamble. Then it would be perfectly acceptable to have a soprano, and I've even seen quintets with a sopranino part written. Working out your intonation and balence issues will give you enough to do on soprano without having concert band pieces to work on as well.

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  3. by sax_maniac
    (984 posts)

    11 years ago

    Re: Soprano playes in high school

    The soprano points into the ground (as useless as a clarinet for marching band on a grassy field, as far as I'm concerned.) why not concert band? Well, it's a lot tougher to play than alto, embouchre/control wise. But for a high school concert band, I think the soprano saxophone is perfectly legitimate. In fact, I just got a Deutch Grommophone vinyl recording that includes a soprano saxophone concerto with symphony orchestra, so if he thinks that sops aren't legit horns, he needs to go back to school and get his Master's Degree.

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  4. by johnsonfromwisconsin
    (767 posts)

    11 years ago

    Re: Soprano playes in high school

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- my band director will not let me play soprano in marching band or even in concert band, do yall have this problem, he says"soprano saxophone is a special instrument " i told him why dont i justplay tumpet part or clarinet part of tenor part but he said it is somecases used in jazz ensomble i dont no this happend to you? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I happen to agree with your director. I think it rather a selfish notion of players who want to arbitrarily substitute one instrument with another for no other reason than they wish it. A soprano saxophone doesn't remotely sound like a tenor or a clarinet, nor does it sound like a trumpet. Honestly, do you think arrangers and composers assign parts to their works so thoughtlessly and arbitrarily? They don't. Making such a substitution in a concert band can be very disruptive to voicing and blend of the ensemble, particulariy with the soprano which is an instrument that can sound shrill and obnoxious in the hands of those that lack great skill and a sound tonal concept. Substituting such a thing should be based on carefull thought and musical reasoning, not a result of bending to one player's whim.

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    1. by sax_maniac
      (984 posts)

      11 years ago

      Re: Soprano playes in high school

      A warm soprano with the right mouthpiece and reed combo can pull off an English Horn, which most high school bands don't have. English Horns are double reeded and I think a fifth lower than an oboe and much warmer than those snake charmers. Takes a lot of control, but it can be done. English horns on their own are hard to play. I've heard great oboists struggle with an English Horn, so a soprano sax might just fit the bill for HS in that instace. Usually, there are oboe or alto sax cues available for English Horn parts, but neither do justice as well as a finely played soprano. But I agree with JFW. Substituting a soprano for another instrument is limited in opportunity.

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  5. by navyblueTENOR
    (10 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Soprano playes in high school

    I know someone who plays soprano in middle school band, (marching, jazz, concert) highschool band should be ok!

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    1. by chiamac
      (586 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Soprano playes in high school

      "my band director will not let me play soprano in marching band or even in concert band, do yall have this problem, he says"soprano saxophone is a special instrument " i told him why dont i justplay tumpet part or clarinet part of tenor part but he said it is somecases used in jazz ensomble i dont no this happend to you?" it's their call, and it's their band. If you don't like that find somewhere else to play. Personally I think those saxes would be fun, and something to pick up once in a while. In fact I almost got one a few years ago (before I stopped playing a lot) The only reason I didn't get one was that I couldn't justify spending around a $1000 for something I would only use once in a while. Yes it would be fun, but I wouldn't expect to play it full time or anything. kinda funny though, a few years later I spent $1200 on a kayak I don't use enough... oh well, I woke up one morning and wanted a boat, so I went and bought one! But I do enjoy it, and it's neat to have. So I guess I didn't waste any money.

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      1. by DefiniSax
        (10 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Soprano playes in high school

        The main reason why most directors do not like having soprano saxes is that they create tonal issues. Almost always, the saxophone player (in high school) is not skilled enough to play the soprano. I've listened to a few high school bands in which the director has allowed a soprano saxophone, and it sounded awful. The soprano saxophone overpowered the band and had a strange shrilly tone, which was made even worse by their attempt to use vibrato.

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    2. by Stewart_Dreis
      (12 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Soprano playes in high school

      I go to Norwell High School in Indiana we are called the Marching Knights. We have won alot in the past couple years in BOA in fact capchuring 2 National Championships and this year one of our alto's is play the Soprano. It was our directors choice in fact. The only problm is it cut threw every thing with it's different sound.

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      1. by saxgrobie
        (86 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Soprano playes in high school

        I too agree with your director. The soprano sax has such a distinctive sound that it would not blend very easily and there is no music written specifically for it. The writers of the songs DO assign certain parts to certain instruments for a reason. You also have to take into account the balance of your band. If there are a lot of people playing the part you want to play and you jump on in, it could disrupt the balance of everything. And if there are already lots of high instruments (i.e. piccolos, flutes, clarinets), the lower instruments would have to do a lot of work to maintain an even sound. And there could definately be tuning and tone problems.

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        1. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Soprano playes in high school

          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You also have to take into account the balance of your band. If there are a lot of people playing the part you want to play and you jump on in, it could disrupt the balance of everything. And if there are already lots of high instruments (i.e. piccolos, flutes, clarinets), the lower instruments would have to do a lot of work to maintain an even sound. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ This is one of the reasons why the soprano never caught on except as a 'special purpose' instrument. A typical wind band has a lot of different regular soprano voices: Clarinet Trumpet Flute Oboe except for oboe, they tend to have a lot of each type. For Alto voices, there were far less options: French Horn the occasional alto clarinet the rare Cor Englaise For Tenor? Just the Trombone and the infrequent Bassoon

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