Challenge #2: Intonation on three notes
Submission Deadline: April 15, 2013 (passed)
Adjusting the position of your mouthpiece on the cork of the saxophone lengthens or contracts the horn, changing the pitch. A longer tube will have a lower sound and a shorter tube will have a higher sound, think about a tuba compared to a piccolo.
Note: The temperature can affect your intonation, so it’s good to be aware of the overall tendencies of your horn and the environment so you can blend and play with good intonation.
However, your horn may also have different intonation tendencies depending on the range of the saxophone that you are playing.
It seems like one somewhat common tendency is for the lower notes to come out flat and the higher notes to come out more sharp.
The tendencies will depend on what horn you are using. And one thing to note is that the older vintage saxophones may be harder to control, that has been the case for some horns I have played. The good modern horns often play in tune more easily.
For this challenge, play three notes without adjusting the position of your mouthpiece.
A low C, a middle C, and a C with the octave key.
Play each note for three beats, like a dotted half note. The idea is to sustain the note.
And write a note about what the intonation tendencies of your saxophone seems to be. Send me what you think and the recording.
You don’t need to use a metronome for this challenge, you’ll hear one in the first example in the video though.
Don’t worry too much about playing perfectly in tune from the start, this is more about learning about your horn.
For me, I played a modern tenor sax for many years, but last year I got an old vintage Buescher, from 1924, for a pretty good price actually, a lot less than most new horns. It needed some work including an adjustment or two that helped the intonation. Despite that, it’s a lot harder ton control in terms of the intonation. The high notes can go sharp very easily and three notes in the middle A, Bb, and B are actually the trickiest. The lower end isn’t too bad.
Check this video out to see and hear some examples of other members trying this challenge and learn from how they played it.