How the hell do you horn players do it?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Mike Money, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    I think the only reason I pick up bass, guitar, percussion, and other string and percussion instruments relatively quickly is because of the visual aspect of it...

    I can imagine a riff in my head, and imagine where the notes should go on the fretboard, go try it, and be pretty much right.

    But with a clarinet, or trumpet, etc... you can't really do that. You can't look down and see the note you want...

    The mallet percussion coach was mad at my band director when he moved me to bass guitar my first year in marching band, because I was picking up marimba really well... Once again, cause I could look down and see the notes, see the scales, etc...

    The 1st chair tuba tried to teach me to play... and except for belting out one note in the open position, it just wasn't clicking, and after a week she and I both gave up.

    So, how do you horn players do it?
  2. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I can't play wind instruments worth a damn. Give me pretty much anything else, especially if it's stringed, and I'll find my way on it sooner or later, but I'm totally inept on wind instruments. Probably the whole visual thing for me as well.
  3. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Now im talking to my friend who plays clarinet... she will be 1st chair next year...

    She is trying to play her guitar... and is failing miserably. She can do the tab thing.... but when it comes to reading music (which she can obviously do) she "doesnt know how to play the notes)
  4. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    There's a system that's idiosyncratic to each instrument. When I played trumpet, I couldn't describe it, but there was definately an intuitive sense of where the notes were. I just recognized a fingering went with a certain note and that I had to blow just so hard to get that note. It's a little like multplication tables, there isn't really an apparent visual logic to them, you just memorize their patterns and recall them from memory so they're like habit.
  5. Thee


    Feb 11, 2004
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    I don't know about anyone else, but I used magic, and then a pact with the dark lord.

    I played flute, and baritone horn. Something just clicks. It's a much more physical experience, belting out notes.
  6. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Even after over 6 years, I picked up a saxophone the other day, and while I probably couldn't actually PLAY the thing, I still remembered all the fingerings for all the notes. *shrug*
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Music is primarily an EAR, not eye, thing.
    That's why, FME, horn players have always had the best ears in any band I've been lucky enough to be in.

    You can go one step further-
    The piano is a color-coded instrument.
  8. There simply is no visual for horn, when my wife is playing the adjustments are made on the fly.....hear and adjust immediately.

    Also, what about transposing all of the time???
    French Horn: Up Fifth/Down Fourth.
    Being married to horn player, when they have a braincramp of monumental size they may actually 'double' transpose the part.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Most of the Jazz players I meet say it is a real advantage not to have a visual reference, as this means you are less likely to get locked into patterns and are more likely to play what you hear - i.e. melodies that sound good to you, rather than mathematical patterns.

    So - OK, the visual reference is useful for beginners, but when you're trying to progress further, it can be a very hard crutch to put aside and play notes that aren't within the "comfort zone" of visual patterns.

    Guitarists and bassists get locked into familiar riffs and box patterns that sound very "samey", once you realise what they are doing and it's much harder to break out of that and do anything different and creative...:meh:
  10. What a strange coincidence.

    No, I didn't pick up a sax over the weekend, but I'm really thinking of getting a soprano sax. I'm very into Paquito D'Rivera, who plays soprano sax and clarinet, and I thought to myself, why not try sax?

    I've loved the instrument for years, and almost bought one in the early 80s.

    I could become the next Kenny G. :bag:

    Now, I begin my search.

    Mike ;)
  11. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan

    Thats so true... and when i try to break away from it, it just sounds like crap to me, so I go back to my box and pyramid shapes. :meh:
  12. Does anyone know: Are the clarinet and soprano sax the same instrument aside from one being made from wood, and the other, brass? :confused:

  13. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Nah they're not the same instrument.
  14. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Get one of those curved sopranos... not the ones that look like mini altos, but that just have a slight curve at the mouthpiece and the bell. those are cool looking.
  15. Thanks, Kief. :cool:

    Mike :)
  16. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    No, although I believe the fingerings are similar. Many pro sax players double on clarinet.

    I would not recommend starting with the soprano sax. It is a very hard instrument to play. Generally, the larger the sax the easier it is to play.

    I would recommend renting a tenor and starting with that. Once you have the embouchure (basically how you hold the mouth) down, then switch to the soprano ... if you still want to ;) You might find you like the tenor better.

    I loved playing the sax, but it was just too loud to practice. You can't just plug in headphones like you can with the bass :(
  17. I didn't know, the larger a sax is, the easier it is to play.

    I absolutley love tenor sax !!!

    It's just that for the past few years, I've been listening to Paquito more and more, and am really getting to like the tone of a soprano.

    BTW, some of my fav tenor players are: Grover Washington Jr. (RIP :( ) Tom Scott and Bryan Savage to name a few.

    While he's an excellent player, Dave Sanborn's solos can be too predictable for me.

    Thanks a bunch, Seanm. :cool: I love talkin' sax.

    Mike :)
  18. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Ya know, Tenor, for me, was a lot more difficult to play than Alto. *shrug* Baritone was easier than both, but tenor always was a pain in the side for me.
  19. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I agree that baritone is the easiest. I played a school term with the same reed :eek: Just kept triming the end. It was very thick at the end.

    But I found tenor easier than alto. Maybe it's just me.... And it could be that I just liked the sound of the tenor better and therefore was more comfortable playing it.

    Did you use a metal or plastic mouthpiece? I was many in concert bands so I stuck with plastic, even on the tenor.
  20. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Paquito, TMK, is known more for alto...maybe he's playing in its higher register & it sounds like a soprano? Same thing with Miles 1st Great 5-tet w/ Cannonball(alto) & Coltrane(tenor). Both players crossed into each other's range on a regualr basis.

    Don't know Savage...Grover & Scott also played soprano a LOT!

    Sanborn's forte is alto.

    About the volume problem when practicing a sax-
    Stuff a sock in it!
    ...and I also recommend alto.