Saxophone Forum


by RobertD
(66 posts)
3 years ago

Low notes on alto

Low range was my forte on brasswinds but I struggled for years with high range on trumpet (although high range was less of a problem on lower brass).

I find the opposite is true with the alto saxophone. I'm having very little trouble with high range (up to F, no venture into altissimo yet) but I'm still getting the occasional "honk" or octave overtone on low notes from D down to Bb.

I searched for ways to deal with this; lowering the jaw (which I don't like because it sends the note flat), using no tongue or tonguing a syllable like "tah" on low notes, which does help. What I find really helps is focusing on the shape of my tongue, flatter and lower in back opening the oral cavity, which it seems, along with "tah", also opens the throat. Brasswind players use the shape of the oral cavity to affect air stream and range.

My low notes are steadily improving but am I missing anything that could help further?

Thanks.

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  1. by historicsaxwhisperer
    (542 posts)

    3 years ago

    Re: Low notes on alto

    Time to start long tones in front of a mirror.

    I assume you have a metranome.

    Google doing long tones on saxophone.

    Many ways and variances to something so simple.

     

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    1. by RobertD
      (66 posts)

      3 years ago

      Re: Low notes on alto

      Thanks. Yep, I have a metronome and a mirror and I practice long tones every day. Just straight blowing and with dynamics. I guess it's just a matter of putting in the time. I'll Google for more variations.

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    2. by RobertD
      (66 posts)

      3 years ago

      Re: Low notes on alto

      I've been practicing long tones for hours until my mirror tires from looking back at me. Then, I took your advice. I found several variations on long tones. Some began to sound musical. I realized that a good way to practice long tones without boredom setting in is to play slow ballads with many whole tones.

      It's just more fun when I convince myrself I'm making music instead of just practicing. And the low notes are beginning to more frequently ring true.

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