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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000033.txt from 2005/12

From: "Deborah L. Jenkins" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] sax
Date: Thu, 08 Dec 2005 06:44:10 -0500

I don't play sax (yet), but have sat directly next to them or in front of t=
hem for several years. I play in the local community college. (More like =
a community band since there's so much gray hair and usually only a couple =
of young students- although we really are all band students. Hadn't playe=
d with any group since college for 16 years when I started with them- prett=
y scary- I was sure the conductor would throw me out. Good thing he was de=
sperate for clarinets. There was only one other clarinet. A poor young ac=
tual college age student who he made sit first chair that night since she'd=
at least been in his band before. Didn't help me out any, the second clar=
inet part had a short, but very noticeable solo, so I got to make a fool ou=
t of myself anyway (but didn't find myself getting kicked out. Actually, t=
he beginning of every semester the whole band sounds pretty bad to begin wi=
th- even worse than I remember in high school, but by the end of the semest=
er it's always amazing how good we sound- not perfect, but I think the band=
director is probably the best I've seen. He teaches at a community colleg=
e because he likes the area, but could probably teach about anywhere. Thin=
k he was president of the California Music Teachers Assn. or whatever they =
call it around here for colleges, etc. All of which is really off topic e=
xcept to brag about them (not myself) a little and note that it's probably =
not your typical junior/community college band. We play music that I'm pre=
tty sure would rival any four year college band's.) The first alto sax pla=
yer is superb. We now have an entire sax section, but periodically he's be=
en the entire section, playing alto, soprano, and tenor. One time, I thin=
k all three, in one concert. I guess the point is that from the point of v=
iew of a fellow band member who listens to him, he makes them all sound lik=
e great parts. Although, due to the nature of concert band, he obviously p=
lays mostly alto. He's played some really excellent solos on both alto and=
soprano, especially of the music of the guy who's name I can't remember at=
the moment (sorry), but who traveled around Great Britain and the United K=
ingdom early in the last century, cataloging, recording, notating, and comp=
osing pieces from the local folksongs he ran across in this quest- which he=
wanted to complete before they all died out along with the very few living=
memories- the singers- of these songs of love, battle, and other tales tha=
t had been passed along from generation to generation. He's actually one o=
f my favorite composers. Hmm, maybe I am a student after all. I might hav=
e actually learned something while playing. (At least more than the fact t=
hat my memory for names is terrible- which I already know. Hopefully, the=
poor composer wouldn't be too hurt if he's looking down, since I also forg=
et the names of all his peers. Good thing I'm not a professional. They se=
em to remember everything.)

Have fun, whichever you choose. And if you were to join a band like mine, =
chances are there'd be a place for you on any of them once you get the hang=
of it.

Deb Jenkins

-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Smith <>
Sent: Dec 7, 2005 8:25 AM
Subject: Re: [kl] sax


I'm a doubler myself, and own an alto and a tenor (and enough bari
parts to play if someone will loan me the actual horn :-) )

I'm not sure I totally agree that tenor is a *better* jobbing horn.
Rare is the job that calls for a tenor and *not* an alto. You may be
more *competitive* in a local situation if there is a hot-shot alto in
town who doesn't want to play tenor, but it could work in reverse,

I agree about concert band. I made myself really unpopular in high
school by taking up saxophone and almost instantly becoming better
than 99%, if not all, of the sax players. I attribute that to the fact
that as a concert band clarinetist, I actually had to contend with
relatively difficult parts, whereas tenors sit around playing half
notes most of the time and altos weren't doing much better. There are,
of course, exceptions - difficult concert band parts for saxophone,
but for the most part sax parts in concert band are kind of dull.

On 11/30/05, Ted Casher <> wrote:
> Ted Casher here. Most people start w/alto---but tenor is the better jobb=
> horn, as it gets hired in a good many situations, like swing, bebop, r&b-=
> The concert band parts for tenor are not too interesting, in contemporary
> band writing. Better to stay on clarinet. More action for the motivat=
> player!!!!!
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Audrey Travis" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 10:34 AM
> Subject: Re: [kl] sax
> > Some of the differences are:
> > Range - Tenor is much lower pitched than alto - which sound do you pref=
> > Size - tenor is larger and heavier - this may be a factor if you are a
> > small person
> >
> > I don't think one is preferable over another to learn on, but their rol=
> > may be different in a concert band. Tenor tends to play bass lines, wh=
> > alto plays an inner, sometimes less heard voice. In jazz, both can shi=
> > equally as solo instruments.
> >
> > Mud any clearer?
> >
> > Audrey
> > On 29-Nov-05, at 5:42 AM, rob wrote:
> >
> >> Can anyone tell me whats the difference between tenor and alto saxopho=
> >> and which would be better to start out on to learn sax and why?
> >> Rob
> >

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