Saxophone sound practice #3: 8ves and 5ths

This article is the third and last exercise of the series Practice Your Own Sound. If you didn't read the first two exercises on long tones and overtones, stop right now! It's better to read them before going for this last exercise. More explanations here: préfèrable de le faire avant d'aborder ce dernier exercice. Plus d'explications sur les articles en question : Saxophone sound practice #1: Long tones and Saxophone sound practice #2: Overtones

5ths and 8ves: Why?

This exercise helps strengthening the embouchure, the air flow and the tuning between registers. The best is to do it accompanied with a piano because of the resonnance in the strings, which is a real journey! With a keyboard, we lose the sonic and contemplative interest but it is still a good exercise.

5ths and 8ves: How?

To start: On the piano or keyboard, the feet on the sustain pedal, play the note corresponding to the Bb of your saxophone, so Ab for tenors and sopranos or Db for altos and baris.

Play the octave up, back and forth, listen, and play those notes on your saxophone, back and forth, slowly. Don't move the jaw, open your throat, relax your larynx and push the air from the bottom of your lungs. The two notes shouldn't be interrupt by a lack of air. If it is the case, push more, open more. Listen to the resonnance in the piano strings, isn't it beautiful?

Now play between the medium and the high Bb, same principle. And then do the exercise between 2 octaves, high and low Bb. This sounds ugly? This is difficult? Congratulations, you can work on it!

2nd step

Add the fifth to the exercise, the F of your saxophone. Play the notes on the piano, play the saxophone. Low Bb, low F, medium Bb. Then add medium F, high Bb and high F. Watch out your embouchure, don't squeeze, smile and push the air. When meeting with a difficulty between 2 notes, slow down, repeat, watch your posture and your embouchure. And smile!

Las but not least

Now you can repeat the exercise from the other low notes B, C, C#, D, D# ... E!) with corresponding 5ths.

Have fun!


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