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  1. #101
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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by bezozzi View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stealth Swimmer View Post
    edit - I find it interesting that on this forum people are always saying that no, or relatively few, saxophone players will sound very similar. Is that something that only happens after years of playing or is it cus of different influences while learning or something? Cus most folks in my area that learn saxophone in school band are mainly taught classical music and we're pretty much taught the same stuff. So basically all the folks that are good at classical music around here all sound the same or very similar with the exception of a few.
    For me and what I've noticed, when learning something, the best thing to do is to emulate someone else's work, then make it your own. When I'm programming a system to improvise with in max/msp, I figure out what I want to do, then if I don't know how to do it, I go searching for examples similar to what I want to do. Once that task is down, I tweak it to what I want it to do. I've done the same in my playing. I found a sound I happened to like, copied it as best as I could, then tweaked it to give me my sound. It's pretty much the exact same process that people have been doing since, well, forever.

    Yeah, that's basically what I've done (though i got a lot fewer years of playing compared to lots of folks on this forum). I basically just played how my teacher described it and with the sound he basically said was ideal in classical music, but I just play a little darker than him. I think there's a limit to how dark your sound can get on a S80 C* mouthpiece. You can get a little darker on a size 4 reed but I feel you get more out of switching to the S90-180 mouthpiece. My instructor didn't switch cus he didn't like the resistance but I think it's alright to get that extra darkness in there. Probably not a huge difference from the listener perspective but I can tell the difference, and I usually had the darkest sound at the regional auditions.


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    Wow, love his tone. Incredible
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stealth Swimmer View Post
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    So....like American school but brighter?
    No, there is a significant difference in teaching philosophies, embrouchure concept, vibrato, and other aspects.
    ah ok. So it's more than just the way you sound.

    Also, i don't think i caught any vibrato in the vid that was posted there, so i wouldn't know what the difference is between vibrato how I was taught and the French school.

    Anyways, i was wondering how you can tell the difference in their sound. Like what is the "French school sound" compared to the sound of the other schools? I'm only focusing on sound here because that's what you can notice more in vids and listening to them. You can't necessarily know what concepts someone was taught just by hearing them, especially when I'm sure plenty of guys have learned from multiple sources.
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  2. #102
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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve P View Post
    Hak,
    Actually, the lighting scheme is indicated in the score. Quite effective in performance, I think, though some of its impact is certainly lost over youtube...

    Steve P
    Composers are lousy lighting designers, IMO. They should stick to what they know, or maybe bounce their ideas off a real designer.

    I was recording a performance of the Kodaly unaccompanied Cello Sonata some years ago. The performer demanded that a single special downlight be the only illumination. It made her look awful. Then the light burned out near the beginning of the second movement. It totally ruined the performance. Kharma, I say.
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Stealth Swimmer View Post
    ah ok. So it's more than just the way you sound.

    Also, i don't think i caught any vibrato in the vid that was posted there, so i wouldn't know what the difference is between vibrato how I was taught and the French school.

    Anyways, i was wondering how you can tell the difference in their sound. Like what is the "French school sound" compared to the sound of the other schools? I'm only focusing on sound here because that's what you can notice more in vids and listening to them. You can't necessarily know what concepts someone was taught just by hearing them, especially when I'm sure plenty of guys have learned from multiple sources.
    French vibrato is usually faster and constant, while American school players usually use a terminal vibrato; that is vibrato at the end of notes, similar to singers. The pedagogical methods are different too...it's NOT all about sound.

    And there is a lot of crossover today. Especially between the American school and French school.
    Current setups:
    Yamaha YSS-875EX, Morgan 2C, Winslow Lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YAS-875EXS, Rousseau RC4 (refaced by Brian Powell), Rousseau lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YTS-875EX, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5
    Unison Black Nickel Bari, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5

  4. #104
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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Max View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stealth Swimmer View Post
    ah ok. So it's more than just the way you sound.

    Also, i don't think i caught any vibrato in the vid that was posted there, so i wouldn't know what the difference is between vibrato how I was taught and the French school.

    Anyways, i was wondering how you can tell the difference in their sound. Like what is the "French school sound" compared to the sound of the other schools? I'm only focusing on sound here because that's what you can notice more in vids and listening to them. You can't necessarily know what concepts someone was taught just by hearing them, especially when I'm sure plenty of guys have learned from multiple sources.
    French vibrato is usually faster and constant, while American school players usually use a terminal vibrato; that is vibrato at the end of notes, similar to singers. The pedagogical methods are different too...it's NOT all about sound.

    And there is a lot of crossover today. Especially between the American school and French school.
    ah ok, so that's what "terminal" vibrato means. I had read that a few times and I was like "wtf are these folks talkin about?" lol

    Yeah, that's how my teacher taught me and even said that it was supposed to make it sound kinda like singing. Harvey Pittel told me though that ideally vibrato should be constant through a whole song.

    Thx very much.

    Anyways, what I was asking though was specifically the differences in how they sound(and you mentioned the vibrato and I thank you for that). The reason I'm asking about the differences in sound specifically is because that's what you can tell when you're listening. Other stuff you'd have to know by learning from them or reading about them and stuff so I was kinda hoping like if there was like a rule of thumb or something for how to tell the difference if you were just in the audience listening to them or something.
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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Max View Post
    French vibrato is usually faster and constant, while American school players usually use a terminal vibrato; that is vibrato at the end of notes, similar to singers.
    I don't get this at all. I hear very minimal vibrato from the French school, and what little I hear is very subtle. It is quite a few of the American folks, I think, who are using the more constant vibrato.
    Concert Saxophonist ~ Artisan Barman
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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Angel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by J.Max View Post
    French vibrato is usually faster and constant, while American school players usually use a terminal vibrato; that is vibrato at the end of notes, similar to singers.
    I don't get this at all. I hear very minimal vibrato from the French school, and what little I hear is very subtle. It is quite a few of the American folks, I think, who are using the more constant vibrato.
    I are officially confused. But that would make sense if Pittel told me that vibrato should be constant cus that would fit him in the American school. Does anyone have any links/references so I can read up on the different schools?
    Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared.

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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    'Schools' is actually a generalization. People have to generalize in order to organize information. Nothing's cut and dried.
    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

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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post
    'Schools' is actually a generalization. People have to generalize in order to organize information. Nothing's cut and dried.
    Actually, hak, some things are "cut and dried." Living on the big island, I'd think you knew that.
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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Stealth Swimmer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by J.Max View Post
    French vibrato is usually faster and constant, while American school players usually use a terminal vibrato; that is vibrato at the end of notes, similar to singers.
    I don't get this at all. I hear very minimal vibrato from the French school, and what little I hear is very subtle. It is quite a few of the American folks, I think, who are using the more constant vibrato.
    I are officially confused. But that would make sense if Pittel told me that vibrato should be constant cus that would fit him in the American school. Does anyone have any links/references so I can read up on the different schools?
    Pittel is an island unto himself. His ideas are based off of the teachings of Joe Allard. Sources:

    The Art of Saxophone Playing by Larry Teal.
    Larry Teal: There Will Never Be Another You by Mary Teal.
    Marcel Mule: His Life And The Saxophone by Eugene Rousseau.
    Any number of articles by Rascher and John Edward Kelly to read about the Rascher school.
    Current setups:
    Yamaha YSS-875EX, Morgan 2C, Winslow Lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YAS-875EXS, Rousseau RC4 (refaced by Brian Powell), Rousseau lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YTS-875EX, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5
    Unison Black Nickel Bari, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5

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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post
    'Schools' is actually a generalization. People have to generalize in order to organize information. Nothing's cut and dried.
    Yup.
    Current setups:
    Yamaha YSS-875EX, Morgan 2C, Winslow Lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YAS-875EXS, Rousseau RC4 (refaced by Brian Powell), Rousseau lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YTS-875EX, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5
    Unison Black Nickel Bari, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5

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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post
    'Schools' is actually a generalization. People have to generalize in order to organize information. Nothing's cut and dried.
    Yeah, but i just wanted to know what about each school is unique to that school. Like what differentiates it from others. In other words, what generalizations about them are specific to that category.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Max View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stealth Swimmer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by J.Max View Post
    French vibrato is usually faster and constant, while American school players usually use a terminal vibrato; that is vibrato at the end of notes, similar to singers.
    I don't get this at all. I hear very minimal vibrato from the French school, and what little I hear is very subtle. It is quite a few of the American folks, I think, who are using the more constant vibrato.
    I are officially confused. But that would make sense if Pittel told me that vibrato should be constant cus that would fit him in the American school. Does anyone have any links/references so I can read up on the different schools?
    Pittel is an island unto himself. His ideas are based off of the teachings of Joe Allard. Sources:

    The Art of Saxophone Playing by Larry Teal.
    Larry Teal: There Will Never Be Another You by Mary Teal.
    Marcel Mule: His Life And The Saxophone by Eugene Rousseau.
    Any number of articles by Rascher and John Edward Kelly to read about the Rascher school.
    If his ideas are based on Joe Allard,then wouldn't that put him in whatever school Joe Allard is in?

    Anyways, thx for the reading material.
    Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared.

    -Eddie Rickenbacker (1890 - 1973)

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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Stealth Swimmer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post
    'Schools' is actually a generalization. People have to generalize in order to organize information. Nothing's cut and dried.
    Yeah, but i just wanted to know what about each school is unique to that school. Like what differentiates it from others. In other words, what generalizations about them are specific to that category.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Max View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stealth Swimmer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by J.Max View Post
    French vibrato is usually faster and constant, while American school players usually use a terminal vibrato; that is vibrato at the end of notes, similar to singers.
    I don't get this at all. I hear very minimal vibrato from the French school, and what little I hear is very subtle. It is quite a few of the American folks, I think, who are using the more constant vibrato.
    I are officially confused. But that would make sense if Pittel told me that vibrato should be constant cus that would fit him in the American school. Does anyone have any links/references so I can read up on the different schools?
    Pittel is an island unto himself. His ideas are based off of the teachings of Joe Allard. Sources:

    The Art of Saxophone Playing by Larry Teal.
    Larry Teal: There Will Never Be Another You by Mary Teal.
    Marcel Mule: His Life And The Saxophone by Eugene Rousseau.
    Any number of articles by Rascher and John Edward Kelly to read about the Rascher school.
    If his ideas are based on Joe Allard,then wouldn't that put him in whatever school Joe Allard is in?

    Anyways, thx for the reading material.
    Joe Allard is not in a school...there is more on this in the whole thread as to why he is not included. Allard mostly taught jazz/studio musicians with some VERY notable classical exceptions (Paul Cohen and Harvey Pittel among them), but because of his emphasis on finding your own way, there isn't as much consistency in his students so they don't really make up a "school" of playing in the same way that, say, Mule or Rascher students do. Allard himself was not a classical player, he focused on tone development. That is not an insult to Mr. Allard; I think he'd find it to be a compliment.

    Some of his more notable students include Paul Cohen, Michael Brecker, Harvey Pittel, and Dave Liebman.

    If you want to read about Joe Allard's methods, there's a book by Dave Liebman called "Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound" that is very good.
    Current setups:
    Yamaha YSS-875EX, Morgan 2C, Winslow Lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YAS-875EXS, Rousseau RC4 (refaced by Brian Powell), Rousseau lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YTS-875EX, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5
    Unison Black Nickel Bari, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5

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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Angel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by J.Max View Post
    French vibrato is usually faster and constant, while American school players usually use a terminal vibrato; that is vibrato at the end of notes, similar to singers.
    I don't get this at all. I hear very minimal vibrato from the French school, and what little I hear is very subtle. It is quite a few of the American folks, I think, who are using the more constant vibrato.
    Yeah, but it wasn't always that way...listen to Mule vs. say, Vincent Abato. (Which would have been fairly close as far as time period is concerned. I would point at Teal, but his recording output is far too small. On a side note, do you have any Teal recordings? You are THE "go to" guy for recordings!)
    Current setups:
    Yamaha YSS-875EX, Morgan 2C, Winslow Lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YAS-875EXS, Rousseau RC4 (refaced by Brian Powell), Rousseau lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YTS-875EX, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5
    Unison Black Nickel Bari, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5

  14. #114
    Forum Administrator and Contributor 2009 drakesaxprof's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Each school has its own variations, sub-schools, and trajectories, complicating any effort at categorization. Beyond that, the ready access of recordings via iTunes and YouTube has been a homogenizing force, creating ongoing cross-pollination between schools. Allegiance to one or the other is less common than it may have once been.

    That said, it's worth understanding the roots, but I'm not sure it has any more to do with current trends/styles than a look at ragtime, early blues, and marches has to do with current developments in jazz. At some point, the fruit falls so far from the tree that you can't tell which tree it fell from...or maybe it fell off of a fruit truck driving by.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drakesaxprof View Post
    Each school has its own variations, sub-schools, and trajectories, complicating any effort at categorization. Beyond that, the ready access of recordings via iTunes and YouTube has been a homogenizing force, creating ongoing cross-pollination between schools. Allegiance to one or the other is less common than it may have once been.

    That said, it's worth understanding the roots, but I'm not sure it has any more to do with current trends/styles than a look at ragtime, early blues, and marches has to do with current developments in jazz. At some point, the fruit falls so far from the tree that you can't tell which tree it fell from...or maybe it fell off of a fruit truck driving by.

    As for islands...
    I think the major point of contention is still the French/American vs. the Rascher schools. Cross-training between those is still pretty uncommon. It's a little like Gerrman vs French clarinet, except that the instrument isn't completely different. (There could be an argument made about differences in Buescher keywork and the existence of the parabolic bore, but it's obviously not quite as dramatic.)

    I agree with what you're saying though, and I think too many impressionable students think that there's some kind of bitter hatred and that they need to show that they are a "Rascher" player (or whatever), even though they have no idea what that REALLY means
    Current setups:
    Yamaha YSS-875EX, Morgan 2C, Winslow Lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YAS-875EXS, Rousseau RC4 (refaced by Brian Powell), Rousseau lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YTS-875EX, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5
    Unison Black Nickel Bari, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5

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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Max View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by J.Max View Post
    French vibrato is usually faster and constant, while American school players usually use a terminal vibrato; that is vibrato at the end of notes, similar to singers.
    I don't get this at all. I hear very minimal vibrato from the French school, and what little I hear is very subtle. It is quite a few of the American folks, I think, who are using the more constant vibrato.
    Yeah, but it wasn't always that way...listen to Mule vs. say, Vincent Abato. (Which would have been fairly close as far as time period is concerned. I would point at Teal, but his recording output is far too small. On a side note, do you have any Teal recordings? You are THE "go to" guy for recordings!)
    As the French school has radically evolved through at least 4 generations, so has my perception of the same. I don't believe that any other school has experienced this drastic a metamorphosis, for better or for worse.

    To answer the Teal question, I took the opportunity a couple of years ago to lead a panel discussion in which great recorded examples of three generations of each of three major schools of concert saxo were surveyed, and differences were observed in the absence of value judgments.

    Long story short, as remarkable as it was to help saxo students to begin to familiarize themselves with these philosophies in this fashion, I privately truly enjoyed presenting the Michigan-school recordings. There was an amazing tradition of sound and overall approach that was a serious common thread, through selected recordings of Larry Teal, his student Donald Sinta, and his student Timothy McAllister. In a subsequent session, I threw in a recording of Merle Johnston, and was astonished at the same commonality discussed before (in terms of the Michigan-school), but back another generation.

    Though I have never really agreed with an argument that there is an "American school" these days, it strikes me that at one time, there might very well have been one -- if not a school, then something resembling a loose collection of great like-styled players.
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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Max View Post

    Joe Allard is not in a school...there is more on this in the whole thread as to why he is not included. Allard mostly taught jazz/studio musicians with some VERY notable classical exceptions (Paul Cohen and Harvey Pittel among them), but because of his emphasis on finding your own way, there isn't as much consistency in his students so they don't really make up a "school" of playing in the same way that, say, Mule or Rascher students do. Allard himself was not a classical player, he focused on tone development. That is not an insult to Mr. Allard; I think he'd find it to be a compliment.

    Some of his more notable students include Paul Cohen, Michael Brecker, Harvey Pittel, and Dave Liebman.

    If you want to read about Joe Allard's methods, there's a book by Dave Liebman called "Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound" that is very good.
    ah ok, that's very interesting. Thx for clearing that up.
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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    This thread is 3 years old, but I just finished reading the whole thing through now :P and there's a few questions I have about some of the stuff said..

    1. Someone mentioned that Harvey Pittel doesn't talk about his French background a la Hemke, and that sounded pretty absurd to me, thinking of Pittel's cd "Moving Along", where to me (obviously subjective opinion) he represents a characteristically traditional french sound with the almost mule-like vibrato and crisp, light articulation. I know the recording is about 16 years old now, but am I hearing things wrong?

    2. Where would Theodore Kerkezos fit into this? He, as well as John Harle are two of my favourite saxophonists to listen to and they haven't really been mentioned in this thread at all. Both have HUGE footprints in terms of recordings. Both Harle and Kerkezos studied with Deffayet, and yet to me don't sound very "french".

    I'm thinking my idea of the French sound is a little uneducated.

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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post
    Composers are lousy lighting designers, IMO. They should stick to what they know, or maybe bounce their ideas off a real designer.

    I was recording a performance of the Kodaly unaccompanied Cello Sonata some years ago. The performer demanded that a single special downlight be the only illumination. It made her look awful. Then the light burned out near the beginning of the second movement. It totally ruined the performance. Kharma, I say.
    I know this is an old post, but maybe you missed it when Steve P. said it. This is NOT a solo saxophone piece, it was originally for clarinet (then bassoon, now saxophone), and it also has 6 spacialized "shadows" (pre-recorded sections). The sound is thrown around the room with the shadows, and the solo performer moves around the room and has different "stations" or positions. The piece "dialogue of the double shadow" is not just about sound, the lighting goes dark the performer moves, etc. But it is an interaction between the pre-recorded part and the solo part. The entire thing is memorized, so if the lights don't work, it isn't the end of the world. Also this isn't nearly a complete performance.

    But alas, this is a video from a saxophone conference, not a professional production I would say, so judging it from the video doesn't necessarily represent efficacy from the audience perspective.

    Lastly Boulez wasn't just a composer, but a conductor, founder of IRCAM, founder of Ensemble Intercontemporain, etc.

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    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Schools" of playing

    I'm quite familiar with Boulez as a composer, conductor, IRCAM etc.

    Doesn't matter. The concept that Boulez 'wanted' doesn't matter. When a real lighting designer gets in the mix, things start looking good. For example:




    In comparison, the 'design' of lighting of the sax congress version is amateurish at best, and composers are lousy lighting designers, be it Boulez or Beethoven.


    QED
    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

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