Saxophone Forum


by RoYrOy
(51 posts)
9 years ago

Classical saxophone....what is it??

I started saxophone about 2 years ago, and I didn't even like jazz when I started, now I love it! But it's all I've ever played on the saxophone, of course I've played R & B, rock and fusion. But I'm completely ignorant as to the classical side of the saxophone. What's the diferent between a classical or "legit" sound and a jazz sound? What accompanies the saxophone in most classical settings? Classical moupiece v.s jazz mouthpiece, huh? Allthough I prefer other genres I would like to enter into the classical realm of the saxophone. Thanks

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  1. by saximous86
    (17 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Classical saxophone....what is it??

    Classical saxophone is a pretty important to understand and take part in. I myself play jazz and classical saxophone. Both i love, however with classical saxophone i received lots of fundamentals that are crucial to playing the saxophone such as tone, articulation, etc. Classical saxophone also contains some great works which in my opinion outmaster jazz works like the Tableaux de Provence, sonatas by Creston, Muczynski, Heiden, etc., and incredible concertos(Creston, Glazunov, Ibert). Look into these works and you will definately want to venture into classical sax.

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    1. by RoYrOy
      (51 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Classical saxophone....what is it??

      I understand that classical music is more demanding as to technique, but do you know any classical pieces that I, knowing nothing about classical music, could start with. What about the sound? And difference between the mpcs?

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      1. by silversax440
        (29 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Classical saxophone....what is it??

        Try listening... thats the best way to learn. Go to www.amazon.com and search for different names you see discussed under the legit section of this forum. Some you might search and listen to a sample of are Kenneth Tse, Eugene Rousseau, Claude Delangle, Otis Murphy, Nobuya Sugawa... there's a ton. What mouthpiece are you using now? You'll probably need a different mouthpiece if you only play jazz, rock, and fusion. Search for those too on this website... for example Selmer S80-C*, Rousseau NC, and Vandoren Optimum. Goodluck, SJT

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        1. by saximous86
          (17 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Classical saxophone....what is it??

          Perhaps you could start with Bozza's Aria for Alto Saxophone and Piano. Its not too difficult but very lirical and a good way to start in my opinion. You could also, like already mentioned, look up the names of various classical saxophonist. Heres to name a few more: - Marcel Mule -Sigurd Rascher -Dale Underwood -Arno Bornkamp Or even better go to this site which contains one minute recordings of classical saxophone: www.reedmusic.com/audio.html I recommend checking out anything by Paul Creston, Bozza, Maurice, and Dubois. Some songs are performed by various performers such as those listed above. Check it out. Hope this helps.

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        2. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Classical saxophone....what is it??

          check out www.sfsax.com and listen to their sound clips.

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      2. by saxophones_rock
        (13 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Classical saxophone....what is it??

        My 2 cents on jazz reeds vs. classical reeds: Classical reed type recomended: Rico Royal 3 1/2 Jazz reed type recommended: Rico 2 1/2

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        1. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Classical saxophone....what is it??

          typically classical players use a mouthpiece such as the Selmer C* with a more closed tip opening and a harder reed, such as the Rico Royal 3.5 , Hemke, or a Vandoren V16. Most classical players prefer the French cut reeds. Jazz players on the other hand, prefer a mouthpiece with a more open chamber and tip, and generally a # 2-2.5 unfiled reed, depending on the particular mouthpiece. Favorites among Jazz players are the LaVoz reeds, Rico Jazz Select, Alexander, and the Vandoren Java reeds.

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      3. by Elke
        (10 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Classical saxophone....what is it??

        THere are huge differences between classical and jazz. You really need to find someone who can help you with this. I would suggest first listening to some classical saxophone. I have taught several good jazz players (high school and college) who wanted to learn classical saxophone. They were amazed at how detailed and complicated it can be!! Embouchure, tone, articulation, vibrato, etc. Not to mention the basics of phrasing and interpreting what's on the page. There are so many subtle things to know.
        Elke Overton

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        1. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Classical saxophone....what is it??

          I once met a man who was a band director at a rather prestigious University. When discussing music, I mentioned that I played saxophone. He informed me that the saxophone had no place in classical music. "But don't you have saxophones in your band?", I asked. "Yes, unfortunately", he replied. I thought of all the great players who had inspired me: Stan Guetz, Charlie Parker, Johnny Hodges, Paul Desmond, John Coltrane. After daydreaming for a few moments, I replied. "You're right, the saxophone really has no place in classical music. The saxophone is capable of expressing more emotion and has more power than classical music can contain!" Of course, there are legit players whom I admire; Sinta for one. But, in my opinion, the saxophone was made to sing the blues; to bellow out music with such soul and emotion that it makes chills run up and down your spine, giving you goosebumps! You don't see me post much in the legit section of this site. Again, not that I don't have respect for legit players. It's just not my cup of tea.

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          1. by johnsonfromwisconsin
            (767 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Classical saxophone....what is it??

            I dissagree with either sentiment Jim, Saying Classical lacks the expression of Jazz is like saying Jazz lacks the form, disipline, and beauty of Classical music. I assert it's all a case of failing to comprehend the other. As for that professor, he's mistaken. Not only can he not choose to undo the works that have been commisioned by his betters for saxophone in the Legitimate realm, he also can not do away with the amount of study done into the matter by top notch classical performers. All he can do is put his hands over his ears when a saxophone is heard excellently playing a Bach transcription. Long ago, Classical music by necessity was changing and innovating. It reflected the times and mimiced the other arts. Why must it now be stagnant? What would have become of the Clarinet if Mozart hadn't been so enthralled with it? Do people really believe if given a sax, Mozart would have shunned it as a depraved thing? I really doubt it.

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            1. by connsaxman_jim
              (2336 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Classical saxophone....what is it??

              That's a really good point, Johnson. I think that the attitude that I have seen regarding classical music and particularly saxophone has turned me off to classical music more than anything else. I do enjoy the music of Bach, Beetovan, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky and others and I find it very uplifting. When I listen to classical music of long ago, I sense that connection to the era in which it was recorded. But, today, most of the classical music I hear is rather uninspiring, boring, and lacking emotion and character. When I first began playing saxophone, my main influences were Stan Guetz, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Paul Desmond, and Boots Randolph. My former band director is a very good saxophone player. He plays in an oldies rock band once in a while on the weekends. I have seen him a few times and I have sat in with his band and he has sat in with mine a few times. We used to clash all the time about everything! He was primarily a classical musician in college. Now, we share tips and stories from time to time. He tries to sound more like me and sometimes I try to sound more like him! I really admire him as a musician, and even though we tend to stay on opposite sides of the fence as far as our music goes, we do occasionally peek over to see what the other is doing.

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            2. by Mlenox
              (36 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Classical saxophone....what is it??

              No one can claim that the saxophone doesn't fit in classical music after hearing world class saxophone quartet. I have heard sax quartets that sound and blend better then most of the world class string quartets that I have heard. Classical saxophone can be completely destructive in the quartet format. We can also debate the value of a 150 year old instrument playing music that was composed 250 years ago for a different instrument (unless if it is bach, bach in universal, and bach on the sax is heavenly & also the best damn way to learn your horn and music). BUT the sax is right at home with classical music composed in the past 50 years. Modern instruments for modern music. Sax in band. Well it comes with balance and intonation issues, but if the players do it right it is just another character and a diverse one at that. Sax in orchestra, not much of it but some of it is good. Some of it doesn't fit. I am not a fan of a tenor sax in an orchestra. I want it to work but it usally bugs my ear. Alto, saprano and bari seem to fit in better. Classical Sax vrs. Jazz Sax In classical there is sort of two sounds out there: German and French and the French is what is most common. As a classical player you pick one to pursue, arrive at the ideal tone, and attempt to get that tone on every note. So there is a universal, clean, colourfull tone that you get on your low Bb and your high F#. This is not to say that you do not play expressivly. In Jazz your tone has much more freedom. Your low notes might be breathy, your middle strong, and your hight notes flute like. Or you might do some thing totally different, but what ever you do it had best be an expression of you. Then there are all of the phrasing, style, and improv differences that you get from listening to a different set of players, studying different etudes, approaching your scale and arpg. studies differently, and playing different music. What I suggest to a young player is to get two different teachers: one classical saxophone, and the other jazz. For a long time studying both side by side will feed each other. Latter on in life you may find the need to pick one and dive deeply into it. But for now learn all you can about the saxophone and music.

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            3. by Mlenox
              (36 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Classical saxophone....what is it??

              Saying that there are only 2 sounds is a bit of an over simplification. There is kind of an American sound and at there there is kind of a Mid-west sound. But now we are getting picky.

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