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Thread: from alto to soprano or tenor?

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    Default from alto to soprano or tenor?

    Is it better to go from alto to soprano or tenor?I think it would be cool to own a soprano becouse I've never seen anyone actualy playing one.But im just wondering how often sopranos are used in bigband/jazz music.But i don't really got any money for a new saxophone yet but I'm thinking about maybe buying one after next summer(if i get a summerjob)..

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    Distinguished SOTW Member BarrySachs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jontti
    Is it better to go from alto to soprano or tenor?I think it would be cool to own a soprano becouse I've never seen anyone actualy playing one.But im just wondering how often sopranos are used in bigband/jazz music.But i don't really got any money for a new saxophone yet but I'm thinking about maybe buying one after next summer(if i get a summerjob)..
    Lead alto players in big bands and show bands are often required to play soprano as well. If you have eyes to work professionaly or play in big bands for fun, you may want to get a soprano.

    If your a hobyist who enjoys the saxophone and/or jazz playing, tenor or soprano makes no difference, get what YOU want.

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    Kinda doesn't matter, really--if you're anything like the rest of us, you'll eventually own one (or several) of each, anyhow.

    But to the question at hand... like BarrySachs mentioned, soprano is a common double for alto players in big bands. Tenor, on the other hand, opens up an entirely new chair for you. Alto players also double on clarinet and flute, though, so if you're looking for doubles and don't have either of those, you might give them some thought as well.

    Cheers,
    Leanne

  4. #4

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    I've still just played in one bigband but I liked it very much so im thinking about finding another one(becouse the bigband was a 1 year thing).Im also a clarinett player and im buying a xaphoon(http://xaphoon.com/)this week.But I dont know if I'll play the xaphoon with some bigband.And I just wondered if it's exactly the same playing the soprano as the playing the alto?

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    Even though I have always considered myself a stronger alto player over the decades, I'm really glad to have my MkVI tenor. My need for a soprano has only existed once and with that, I transposed it to the alto as it stayed within the natural range. And I agree with bari sax diva, it does open up an entirely new chair. However, like Barry said, get what YOU want.
    Selmer Mark VI Tenor (74xxx) with Otto Link STM 6*, Rico Jazz Select 3S filed,Selmer Mark VII Alto with vintage C*, Rico Reserve Classic 3,
    Buescher TT Soprano (1924), Selmer S80 D, Hemke 3, plus Selmer clarinet, Gemeinhardt Flute and Piccolo

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    If you have to pick only one, tenor will open more doors for you than soprano. I consider mself mainly an alto player, but most of the opportunities to play that I get are on tenor. The only place I play soprano is in quartet (though I do a LOT of that).

    Alan

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    why does tenor open up so many doors?

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    Because it's probably the most common instrument for jazz and rock saxophone, followed by alto, bari and soprano, in that order...

    Alan

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    But how about bigband music then? Is soprano often used there?

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    Our big band leader must have well over a thousand charts, many of them the result of a lifetime of buying books from retiring band leaders. In all those charts I have yet to see a soprano part. A lot of the arrangements call for clarinet on all sax parts. These charts are mostly from the '30s into the '70s. New big band arrangements may call for soprano, but it seems to be rare in the older charts.

    Playng soprano takes regular, frequent practice. I'm regularly asked to play alto, tenor, bari and clarinet, never soprano. My sop is about to go on the market.

    Oh, yeah. Never seen a Xaphoon part, either.

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