Saxophone Forum


by johnsonfromwisconsin
(767 posts)
10 years ago

Who else aspires to SATB status?

I certainly do. particularily as I've always wanted to take part in a saxophone quartet, not knowing what spot I'd need to fill. Strangely enough, I played mainly alto in Highschool (long, long ago) and got to try my hand in soprano (In hindsight I shouldn't have been allowed to. I learned some of "Songbird" and annoyed the piss out of people with it). I was never to enthralled with Tenor, but now I am mainly a tenor player over the past year or so and like it quite a bit. Never played a baritone. Currently I own a 1986 Yanagisawa Alto and a Buescher 400 Tenor that dates back to the late 60s. My next aquisition will hopefully be a baritone (perhaps an old Dolnet), but that won't likely happen to soon. who hear has a SATB? anyone else looking to complete their set?

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  1. by SaxMan
    (559 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

    how about... Sissimo, Snino, CS, A, MA, CT, (....tenor.) B, BB, BBB, BBBB........

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  2. by SaxMan
    (559 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

    BTW, theres a hair dye commercial out with a bunch of ducklings or whatever they are called - I beleive that the songs is played on a sopranissimo? Any one know for sure?

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    1. by sax_maniac
      (984 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

      I'm SATB equipped (finally). Played alto for 20 some years and then went hog-wild in the past year - almost OCD. I'm into four horns that I would have a hard time replacing, sound-wise. So the search is over (in relative terms). You never know what's around the corner or what will turn up in the local shop. I'm about done hawking eBay, though. I'm primarily legit alto and soprano solo, but I wanted tenor and bari because I'm a composer as much as I'm a player and I want to write quartet music. I figure I can't very well get a true feel for the music unless I can play it and try things out on the actual horn - to get a feel for response time and such. I'd also like to be available to fill-in for any of the instruments, if needed. I'd like to have the reputation as an all-around decent "on-call" sort of player - I don't aspire to be a band leader unless I get around to compiling a quartet or small sax ensemble. I'm really close to going after a C-Melody, but less interested in sopranino. Bass would be extremely cool, but is cost prohibitive. I couldn't justify the money unless I was doing paid gigs on a regular basis or unless I found an incredible deal on a good horn. Unless a bass falls in my lap (ouch), I probably won't pursue one. There's the odd-ball mezzo and others, but I consider myself more a player than a collector, so I really only want to own that which I will use regularly. My horn gear is: Yani/Vito soprano Selmer III silver plate alto 1952 SBA tenor Yani Low A bari (unbranded - serial number & "Japan" are the only markings - no high F#) I'll spare you my full mpc list, but I prefer vintage LT's or Selmer metals on alto and tenor for legit, which is my primary focus. Vintage HR Bundy on soprano (legit), and a Bundy I "custom" refaced for bari - smooth as a baby's bottom and warm as a fresh pan of brownies.

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      1. by sax_maniac
        (984 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

        SaxMan - Just wondering about the "...... tenor" comment. I have to admit that it's the most awkward in terms of legit (placement and playing), but definitely has it's place. (-Edited for readability by Saxquest administration on 9/2/2004 8:07:22 PM)

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        1. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          I used to think the same way about the Tenor and I can't fully explain why. I think it may have been because besides the alto, the tenor is the other 'common' saxophone and having started on alto, I would rather have done something 'uncommon' or have wanted to stand out. Also, perhaps I wasn't enthralled with the Tenor parts I'd heard to that point, or perhaps I beheld the Tenor as being too 'Jazzy' or just not well adjusted to classical playing, which has always been my primary area of interest.

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        2. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          As far as the tenor being "too jazzy", I have to admit, the tenor sounds best as a legit solo instrument when the melody is broad and lyrical - like a smooth jazz ballad. (The Old Castle or Reverie, for example). Maybe I'll take it on as a challenge to write an original legit piece for tenor solo. I go through various technical exercises to build up my tenor chops, and perhaps I am a bit biased in this regard, but the range/responsiveness of tenors doesn't suit it, necessarily, for alto-type playing. The notes can be played, but the mood comes across differently. What also happens is that people who are die-hard (10+ years experience) tenor players are almost without exception jazz players, and not all jazz players can play with legit tone and style. It's like they can't help but bend and sway everything around. To be fair, die hard classical players (like myself) have a difficult time learning how to improvise, so there's two sides to that point. Some of my comments are maybe a little off subject, but in the context of being "SATB" capable, you have to take into consideration the application of each horn - they are definitely not purely interchangeable. The challenge I look forward to in writing quartet music is developing music that is technically interesting to all players while still appropriate for the given horn. Anyone interested in being part of a "virtual" sax quartet or ensemble? It would require some basic recording software. I could do it all myself, but it would be interesting to collaborate musically with others from diferent regions and backgrounds. You could even send me a melody and I could expand upon it - that sort of thing.

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        3. by Spike
          (248 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          Of course tenor is too jazzy, that's why it's so great, haha! I badly want to become SATB equiped, although i have plenty of experience on all of them. I'm still trying to negotiate with my old HS for a couf bari they have, then i just need a few grand for a nice sop(i can't have just 3/4 keilwerths, haha!)

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        4. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          That would be sweet if you could nab that Couf.

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        5. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ What also happens is that people who are die-hard (10+ years experience) tenor players are almost without exception jazz players, and not all jazz players can play with legit tone and style. It's like they can't help but bend and sway everything around. To be fair, die hard classical players (like myself) have a difficult time learning how to improvise, so there's two sides to that point. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Same here; I have never done much improv. And you are correct about crossing between these genres. Jazz and classical playing are an antithesis to one another and part of the Legit Tenor problem may very well be the tendency to focus one's tenor playing into jazz or various types of pop. In my view, you can get away with much more lax technique in jazz where classical playing requires precision. Also in my opinion, if you take away improv (and in doing so, it makes my argument a bit artificial), classical becomes a much more demanding art in general as one can more easily write off one's sloppy technique as a 'personal style' in my imperfect view. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Some of my comments are maybe a little off subject, but in the context of being "SATB" capable, you have to take into consideration the application of each horn - they are definitely not purely interchangeable. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I agree.

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        6. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          In my own practicing recently, I notice that if I go on a week-long binge of playing jazz stuff (play-along mostly) - that I really have to work hard to shift gears back to classical. Ususally requires about 20-30 minutes to get my legit technique back. It helps if I reserve my alto primarily for legit and my tenor primarily for jazz. That way, when I hold the horn, I'm thinking and feeling a particular mind-set. Sounds flaky, perhaps, but it's just what I notice. I'd love to spend some time learning some Cannonball Adderly ballads, but I'm more in a Debussy mindset when I'm holding my alto. Nothing wrong with playing both ways to develop overall musicianship, but practice time should be spent working on only one or the other - or technique suffers. WARNING! WARNING! BROAD GENERALIZATION AHEAD!!! Prepare to be offended (some of you)... I think "the problem" with jazz tenor players in a legit environment is that they are used to being the lead in their jazz ensemble when their place is much more subdued in a concert band setting. They play like they're supposed to be heard by the folks in the back row of the auditorium, and they are really only there to fill-in when the trombones are catching their breath. Ok - I asked for it - go ahead and bash prima donna alto players like myself.

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        7. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          as I cannot edit, I'd like to rephrase what I failed to proofread prior to posting: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- classical becomes a much more demanding art in general as one can more easily write off one's sloppy technique as a 'personal style' in my imperfect view. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I meant to say: "classical becomes a much more demanding art in general as one can more easily write off one's sloppy technique as a 'personal style' as a Jazz player, in my opinion."

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        8. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          Understood. Avoiding the infinite conversation around the general objectivity of classical music critique and the subjectivity of jazz critique, conformity is more a target with classical music such that exact technique is usually what is gauged, though effective conveyance is critical in both genre which requires some level of interpretation. People often say "what would Beethoven have done with a computer". I'd be more curious to what he would have done with a saxophone! He probably would have used it as a urinal, (though he might have wanted to get some key clamps first...) I have times when I record myself playing some classical piece and later go back over it and berate myself for playing vibrato a little too rapidly on one note. "TAKE 23"... If it were jazz, nobody would care. Sorry - this should go to the jazz or legit page probably, but I encounter these dilemma when going between horns.

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        9. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Understood. Avoiding the infinite conversation around the general objectivity of classical music critique and the subjectivity of jazz critique, conformity is more a target with classical music such that exact technique is usually what is gauged, though effective conveyance is critical in both genre which requires some level of interpretation. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yeah, conformity is much more of a Legit issue and some people deride it for being such. Others find a lot of beauty in the structure that is being presented. Though Jazz and classical are very diametrically opossed in nature, they have certain aspects that complement each other, for instance: Jazz requires large doses of technical understanding of chords and progressions for sucessfull improvisation. It also requires musical resourcefulness and intuition for forming meaningfull phrases. Classical playing has more focus on control. Playing throughout the range of the instrument at any dynamic while punctuating and articularing correctly without any unusual artifact of sound is required, and that's not easy!. Altissimo is actually an aspect shared by both types of playing

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        10. by Spike
          (248 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          I'll skip everything else, and go for that tenor thing. You're right. We hate concert bands. But don't discount legit tenor players. We may not always like it, but we can usualy do it.

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        11. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          I played tenor for a short time in high school (didn't bother auditioning for chairs one year and I was put at the bottom of the section). Lesson learned. After about 3 months of quarter notes and the occasional dotted eighth, I challenged and took the top alto seat before I killed myself. As a matter of tradition, good ol' #1 was supposed to take my seat at the bottom of the section on tenor (trading places), but I think the director felt sorry for him as he was playing a brand new Mark VII dear ol' Dad picked up for him. So I feel sorry for tenor players who thrive on challenging music, because there just isn't much to be had in typical scholastic music. No wonder they all turn to jazz. I would have too. Now if only you guys would leave your Bergs in the case during concert band, I think we could all get along much better!!! Yeah, yeah. I know. C*'s sound like shit on a tenor. They're SUPPOSED TO!!!!

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        12. by Spike
          (248 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          haha, i like this guy. I had fun last year, as my director wouldn't allow tenors to challenge altos. I also had fun since despite the fact that i auditioned on alto only, he put me on tenor. And by had fun I mean goofed off constantly. I also declared myself last chair tenor as so that i could sit by the first alto(a friend of mine) and talk to him/steal his parts(you get real good at reading up a fourth when you have all tenor parts in concert band AKA plenty of free time) As for playing my berg... shhhhhhhhhhhhhudduup!! don't tell the director! hehe. Also, being last tenor, i got plenty of practice at both goofing off and not getting caught, or getting kicked out without even goofing off(when leaving the band was desireable.) You also get good at "forgetting your horn" yet having it miraculously apear for practice latter in the day(or even durring band, heh.) Yes, playing tenor in concert band is much like a secret commando course. A training session for slacking. And oddly enough, my legit playing got quite a bit better over the year. I guess all that free time in concert band, or rather the free time which was concert band gave me adequate practice time for legit. After all, when you're just sitting there, vivaldi looks reall fun and challenging.

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        13. by PIP
          (29 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          I know what you mean. Like the moron that I am I deceided that I was bored with alto and wanted a tenor sax. Well, I got one and am now stuck with dotted half notes on Pirates of the Caribbean while the altos get the awesome melody part. *kicks himself in the head for the 400th time*

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        14. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          I have always been a pretty serious, dedicated musician yet found myself spiraling into silliness sitting in the back of the band on tenor. Same thing happened in English class when I volunteered to sit in back. My A slid to a B and I then asked for my old seat back. Maybe it had less to do with location and more to do with sitting in the vicinity of the percussion - the intellectual black hole of any ensemble. (There's no drummers postnig here - is there?)

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        15. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          BTW - I'm now SACTB. The C is interesting. I've heard better intonation from flatulent flautists, but I'm still working through mouthpieces to find a good match.

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        16. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          get a morgan m/p, isnt a better C-mel mouthpiece out there. at the time, the stlye was overly dark, so the pieces are designed to be that way, which I think would also explain the facing in the 40 thousandths a hude chamber m/p would probably be hard to play on a 70 opening. the darkness was a priority over tuning - I have heard that the morgan piece makes the tuning comparable to a modern sax. though I make my original piece sound really good, the only problem is volume, but my c mels are mostly for fun.

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        17. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          I think I'll be getting one of those Morgans before too long. Maybe if I'm not totally broke after paying my upcoming property taxes! I've got my old tenor Soloist working fairly well on it. It plays sharp for me on my SBA, so it might work out. Morgan seems to put a lot of thought into design, so I'm sure he's tweaked out exact dimensions and volumes to make them play right. I'm playing in a church group now, so I'm playing from Bb or C music. My tenor is just too bold for playing lead parts, so I'm hoping that I can incorporate the C at some point. It plays like a really warm alto, but not stuffy with the Soloist.

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        18. by golferguy675
          (600 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          I've been away for a few days, and missed this thread. I guess I'm SSATB equipped. I actually came across a sopranino, and grabbed it before any else could. I hardly ever play it, except maybe for a solo in a combo at a gig for fun, nothing big. I've played many C melody saxes, just never felt the whim or need to buy one. It's just about useless in concerts. How many of you have seen or played a bass sax? What about a contrabass sax? What about a subcontrabass sax? I played a contrabass in a tour in Italy, a place out there specialized in the three. It takes entirely too much air. I got to see all three, but they only had one out(probably a pain to drag out to the front of the shop). The subcontrabass was taller than I was.

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        19. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          I have played a bass - a true-tone. The thing was in bad repair and all of the pads were at least 50 years old, probably older. The thing was so fun to play - the low Bb just permeated the entire shop, like I was playing from all over, and it also blew out an incandescent light bulb above me , but playing that, almost gave me a cornary, I had to blow so much to make it work, though with new pads, I think it would have worked better. BTW, in a couple months, I am going to be, SACT equipped!!! I know I said screw tenor, but I might have found one I like for an ensemble, and the sop I found was just a good deal and the sax is georgous!

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        20. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          Golfer - what kind of nino? The soprano seems so high to me as it is - can't imagine when I'd pull out a nino. I've not played a bass. I'm really digging the bari - even moreso than tenor, so maybe bass would be even better! I can tell that I'll really like my C once I work out the intonation issues and warbling. I know I can tame that beast somehow! (Probably by selling it) SaxMan - what kind of tenor? You've opined previously that the tenor is the "bastard child" of the saxophone family. Just wondering what persuaded you to look at getting one.

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        21. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          well I still do consider the tenor the bastard child, I have just found several good deals on some saxes, a woman in town died that was a sax fanatic, and her family is selling off her collection to players who could appreciate them, and love them as per her wish in the will. (She was ancient and still playing sax!!! over 80 years old!!!.) she had a bass that I wanted ever so dearly, for 5 grand, but by the time I had gotten a loan from family and friends, the thing was sold. all the altos had been sold - I beleive one fo them might have been a VERY early low A VI alto, and only tenors are left. There are a couple mark VI's, a balanced action, a super 20 ss from about 51 and a heavily gold plated true-tone. (kind of a odd one considering her other horns.) I am pretty sure the ba and the true-tone will be sold by now (Have referred friends and teachers.) and maybe one of the mark VI's, but there is one more mark VI, a 56 in gold plate in mint condition, for 1400. I have really got to think about it, this holton soprano I have found is alluring too, and more useful to me than a tenor, but a 1400 dollar mark VI like this is rare. heck, maybe I can have both. Which brings up the problem with my goal to buy a tru-tone to leave at school - my student model is a little loud. (little, yeah right.) and is kind of brash, but heck, I guess I cna put it foo till later.

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        22. by golferguy675
          (600 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          Yanigasawa SN981, sax_maniac. Oddly enough, it wasn't horribly expensive. I thought it'd be more than a sop or an alto, but the retail was about 2200 for a pro model. Of course that's top price. You could find it for 1500, and I picked it up with the 54s at the NAM conference(in retrospect, I went a bit insane on saxes there). I got it for under or right at a grand if I remember right.

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        23. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Who else aspires to SATB status?

          Played a song in church yesterday that took my soprano to High E. It worked out ok, but I can see where a nino might have been well suited for the task.

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