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Thread: Soprano saxophone as a doubling instrument?

  1. #1

    Default Soprano saxophone as a doubling instrument?

    Is the soprano saxophone considered a doubling instrument for tenor/alto saxophonists?

    I've noticed some big bands have charts occassionally where a couple of the saxophonists bust out there soprano saxes for some parts, acting as a doubling instrument.

    Obviously, a tenor saxophonist would not be doubling if he/she played alto saxophone in addition to, but what about soprano saxophone (it IS fairly close to the clarinet in many ways)?

  2. #2

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    Any size saxophone cannot be considered a doubling instrument, because you already play it. A sax player playing a soprano sax is playing merely another saxophone. You don't double on a saxophone. You double on clarinet, flute, oboe, etc.

    By the way, a clarinet is nothing like a soprano sax.[/list]
    I don't play the alto. I'm an alto player.

  3. #3
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    I see your point. But I wouldn't tell an arranger to write one part out and label it "alto or soprano ad lib," instead of two parts in separate keys. Or tell them they didn't need to leave indications and bar rests for the player to change horns.

    My point (and I do have one): multi-saxing is doubling in a practical sense, even if you can't call yourself a doubler in a technical sense (mastering a different family).

  4. #4

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    Ah, I see. Thank you.

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    Distinguished SOTW Columnist / Forum Contributor 2008 Hurling Frootmig's Avatar
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    Paul,

    I believe you have a photo in your book of a group of players who literally double on most of the common members of the saxohpone family. It takes talent to be able to play multiple members of the saxophone family at a high level.
    "We'd all play like Stan (Getz) if we could" - John Coltrane

    ~~~~~~~~
    The Woodwind Forum

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    Exactly! Every member of the saxophone family has its owns little quirks and difficulties and for that reason they are definately doubles that need to be individually learnt and maintained, much like the clarinet, flute, oboe and their respective instrument families.
    Soprano is widely acknowledged as a differant beast.

  7. #7
    Forum Contributor 2009 DanY's Avatar
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    This reminds me of the story about Johnny Hodges. Back when he first started playing with Duke Ellington, Johnny played Alto and Soprano supremely well(Sidney Bechet was his tutor).
    The story goes that Johnny asked for more money for playing two instruments, Duke said no, and Johnny never played soprano again.

  8. #8

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    So what would I be lol? I play soprano alto tenor clarinet oboe flute and trumpet. Would I be a septupleter?LOL
    If anyone wants to chat about sax or other topics then you can Add yourself as one of my MSN contacts at smartalleck2008@yahoo.com
    E-mail at playsthesax2008@gmail.com
    Soprano- Vespro
    Alto- YAS 82Z
    Tenor- Yanagisawa 880
    Bari- YBS 62II
    Clarinet- An old LeBlanc, I don't really know what it is
    but I love it lol

  9. #9
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    When playing in big band, I was usually on 2nd tenor (played 4th tenor a few times, and lead or 3rd alto a few times). When I had solos, I would play tenor or soprano, whichever I felt best suited the piece.

    With my sax ensemble many of us "double" on other saxes. I play soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, or bass as needed. Karen or I play lead alto/soprano. Wayne is on bari or bass as needed. Pat is on alto or tenor as needed. Tommy also on alto or tenor as needed, sometimes bari. We also change chairs every season.

    Switching from one sax to another is quite easy, no big deal.
    You are all welcome to contact me at tenorman@teche.net, which is my public email address set up especially for my friends here on Sax On The Web.

  10. #10
    Distinguished SOTW Member SaxPlayer1004's Avatar
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    after you master them all. i had now problem getting around down from alto to bari, but soprano was a tid bit hard to get the intonation. didn't help that mouthpiece was bad but now i got a good one. you did one heckuva job on that selmer paul. thanks again. its a beautiful piece

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