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Thread: To soprano or alto?

  1. #1

    Default To soprano or alto?

    Hi all, i am primarily a tenor player and it is my greatest love.
    However, i am thinking of picking up another sax to double.

    Which embouchure will be closer to that of the tenor's....alto or soprano cos i understand that for the soprano, we need to grip much harder and its a more difficult instument to control as its only a small opening for the airstream.

    So i figured it will be harder to master the soprano and play it well, morever there are still a lot i wanna explore for tenor and i really wanna played it well. So is alto a better choice?

    comments please ?

  2. #2

    Default

    I guess the alto embouchure is a little "closer" to tenor, but every new horn means learning a new embouchure, voicing, etc. anyway.

    I get far more calls to play alto than soprano, so, unless you anticipate lots of opportunities to play soprano, I would get the alto first.

    Bret Pimentel

  3. #3

    Default alto or sop?

    Hi Bret, is it usu the case that there would be more demand for alto than sop?

    Or is this a valid qn ?

    regards

  4. #4
    Distinguished SOTW Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    10,267

    Default

    Silhouette: It depends on what kind of music you play as to what horn you will be asked to play. I imagine alto is a lot closer to tenor than is soprano (I play sop and alto - tenor is not my voice), so alto should involve a less radical embouchure change than will soprano.

    The other issue is playing an Eb horn after your time in Bb. While easily overcome, for those who improvise, it means being proficient in two keys on known tunes. Only in that regard may soprano be an easier transition. DAVE

  5. #5

    Default music

    Hi Dave, i guess i will be playing mostly jazz, pop and funk stuff.

    regards

  6. #6

    Default

    I'd say there's definitely more demand for alto than soprano, in virtually any genre--big bands, little bebop groups, symphony orchestras, concert bands, rock and roll, you name it.

    If you want to play soprano, though, go for it. If you're playing "jazz, pop, and funk," you <i>might</i> have the liberty of choosing which horn you want to play.

    More often for me, though, someone is calling looking for a specific horn. And it's much more often alto or tenor than soprano or baritone.

    Probably any saxophone player looking to work regularly ought to plan to own all four. $$$$

  7. #7

    Default versatility

    Hi all...so can i say that in terms of versatility, alto can be incorporated into more types of music than sop.

    On the other hand, it seems to me that there is an etheral and mysterious quality to the tone of the soprano that the alto nor the tenor can achieve.

    thanks for all the sharing!

  8. #8

    Default

    I think bpimentel is most correct here.

    If you want to double as a tenor player within a particular band, I would go with soprano. That is to say, if you're playing tenor in a big band, you'll never be asked to double on alto. You might be asked to play clarinet and if you don't have one, soprano can often cover that double in the arrangement.

    If you play tenor in a small ensemble (quartet or larger), you have the freedom to choose your own double and soprano would be easier since all the music would be in the same key as tenor.

    On The Other Hand, if you want to gear your versatility to getting more gigs, then alto is a better choice. If you're equally proficient on tenor and alto, you can position yourself to play either horn depending on what the gig demands as opposed to what you prefer to play. This is where the money plays into your decision.

    Personally, as a tenor player myself, I prefer to double soprano but I have NEVER been called to gig on soprano. Even though I don't really like playing alto, I have gotten calls for that horn. However, since I own all three my choices are more diversified.

  9. #9

    Default Re: versatility

    Quote Originally Posted by Silhouette
    Hi all...so can i say that in terms of versatility, alto can be incorporated into more types of music than sop.

    On the other hand, it seems to me that there is an etheral and mysterious quality to the tone of the soprano that the alto nor the tenor can achieve.

    thanks for all the sharing!
    You must mean the ability to charm snakes.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    83

    Default

    Sop is good for wedding gigs, where people want happy, floaty music (kenny g )
    I play sop alto and tenor, and i play all three with my 4 piece jazz group, but only because i choose the songs we play
    Most often the gigs i get asked to do are on tenor, or alto.
    But soprano is totally my favourite, i just love it!

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