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  1. #1
    Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2010 magical pig's Avatar
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    Default Relaxed embouchure = bigger sound BUT flat in upper register

    Bonsoir,

    so I'm working on relaxing my embouchure and it helps widening my sound. Basically I'm trying to be as relaxed as when I play the lower register in the upper register. And it actually works, I get a bigger sound throughout the horn. But past second octave G, I play VERY flat. So what's the remedy?
    If I move the mouthpiece on the neck, the low notes will be out of tune...

    Thanks in advance,
    Victor.

  2. #2
    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Relaxed embouchure = bigger sound BUT flat in upper register

    Try playing low B, then overblow to B2. Tune that harmonic to regular B2.
    Once you've done that, if you're still flat in the upper octave, try increasing the speed of the airstream (cooler air) to bring the pitch up, without tightening the embouchure.
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

  3. #3
    Distinguished SOTW Member DanPerezSax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Relaxed embouchure = bigger sound BUT flat in upper register

    What hak said... also, when I play, I have the neck of the horn at a somewhat downward angle and the middle portion of my tongue up next to the roof of my mouth, like I'm saying the letter "E" without "smiling." Keeping the tongue up keeps you in tune on top and centers the tone by, among other things, forcing the same air through a smaller passage in your mouth and increasing the air speed like Hakukani said. It also directs the air stream more into the mouthpiece than up at your teeth and down at your lip, eliminating some of the turbulence that gives you that "pfffff" sound when you play.

    The trick is to keep the tongue up without tightening up, closing the throat or clamping up the jaw. Eventually you'll find that you have significant control over both timbre and pitch by changing tongue position alone. Practicing the overtone exercises in the Rascher book "Top Tones for the Saxophone" helps develop this control, and for even more development in that department, try to match the sound and pitch of the overtones to the normal fingerings you use for those notes. This "tone matching" exercise has been extremely useful to me since I learned it several years ago.

    Practicing long tones on the mouthpiece from the barest whisper of a sound all the way to fff, while maintaining a steady pitch helps with this, too. Work on developing your range on the mouthpiece, and on creating a sound without hearing the "stuffy" hiss you may normally expect. When I began this exercise (and I've found the same to be true for almost every one of my students) I found it very helpful to switch to a softer reed.

  4. #4
    Distinguished SOTW member daigle65's Avatar
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    Default Re: Relaxed embouchure = bigger sound BUT flat in upper register

    Use your chin and jaw muscles.
    The lower lip itself should still be relaxed but muscles underneath have to support it.
    " M'enfin ! " ....Gaston Lagaffe

  5. #5
    Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2010 magical pig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Relaxed embouchure = bigger sound BUT flat in upper register

    Lots of good advice, thanks. I feel what you have to do is somewhat contradictory. Like you said = supporting without tightening, more focused air without closing the throat, chin and jaw muscles active but mouth relaxed etc...

    Hak, I've done the overtone thing and I'm still flat so I need to speed up my air I guess.

    DPSax, when you say practice long tones with the mpc you mean the mpc alone right? I think it might be a good idea for me to use softer reeds, I'm not sure though. I play a B.Powell Link 7* and in 2 years time I ended up using LaVoz H than I shave down a bit in order to level the surface of the reed. It's a bit ridiculous really. The thing is I can't get as full a sound with softer reeds.

    Victor.

  6. #6
    Distinguished SOTW Member DanPerezSax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Relaxed embouchure = bigger sound BUT flat in upper register

    There's a great article online somewhere about tuning to low B on the horn, but I can't find it... anyone know what I'm talking about?

    Victor, when going through a chop change, it's best to go easy on yourself. You may be surprised and find that you can eventually sound just as (or more) full with softer reeds, but if not, you can always work back up to your preferred strength. An analogy I use is weightlifting: you may be perfectly able to deadlift 400lbs after doing it for years, but you should probably start at 135 the first time you get on the bench press!

  7. #7
    Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2010 magical pig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Relaxed embouchure = bigger sound BUT flat in upper register

    self-edited in self-inflicted shame

  8. #8
    dshook's Avatar
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    Default Re: Relaxed embouchure = bigger sound BUT flat in upper register

    Relaxed is the way to go, some awesome advice from DPSax here. A lavoz H is wasy too hard for a 7* link with this approach. I would drop straight to a M and possibly eventually an MS on that setup. You want an easy, big, free, vibrant sound and it just won't come out that way if you are clamping down on the reed. This can also lead to tension elsewhere and injuries such as tendonitis and TMJ (jaw). Work long tones and range on the mouthpiece, playing scales, scale patterns, and melodies with an ultimate range goal of a 12th. "Play the reed", relax and really get it buzzing on your lower lip. You will have to get used to blowing with less resistance, but working with the mouthpiece will get you there.

    Cheers

    Edit: oops forgot how old this post was, I forgot I was on page 15 searching for something else ...oh well, hopefully this helps somebody else!

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