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View Poll Results: Saxophone, yes, no, or sometimes?

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  • Yes, positive feelings.

    90 55.90%
  • Generally positive, but not always.

    38 23.60%
  • Generally negative with exceptions.

    22 13.66%
  • No, just no...

    11 6.83%
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Thread: Saxophone, yes or no?

  1. #1
    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Default Saxophone, yes or no?

    Do you always like the instrument? Do you generally like the instrument? Do you usually dislike it? Do you just plain hate it?

    I refer to all saxophones and manner of playing them, but particularly altos and tenors.

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    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
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    Default

    Saxophones are sexy.

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  4. #3
    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    An instrument too ignored by composers - which is surprising, if one thinks of the sound of the oboe, by comparison ;-).

    There aren´t that many relatively well-known solo saxophone concertos - Glazunov, Ibert, Villa Lobos are some of them.

    Yoshimatsu also wrote one - and Pettersson´s 16th Symphony is a Sinfonia Concertante for the saxophone, but very expressionistic.

    Denisov´s would be interesting to hear.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Nov-22-2012 at 09:18.

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Default

    And of course, there is that nice solo in Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances. That makes a good case for the inherent beauty to be found in the timbre of the saxophone.

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  8. #5
    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    I think of it as a jazz instrument.

    Is there some requirement for 'orchestratability' that makes the saxes an unwelcome challenge for classical composers?
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    I love saxophones so much that I have six of them - a soprano, three altos, a C melody, and a tenor.

    I've heard that saxophones aren't used in orchestras because their overtones don't quite fit in. The saxophone is half brass and half woodwind, so that hybrid quality keeps them mostly at a distance. It doesn't make sense to me, but that's what I once heard.

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  12. #7
    Senior Member Ravndal's Avatar
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    I agree with Hilltroll about it being a Jazz instrument. Can't really imagine it being in a orchestra.
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  14. #8
    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manxfeeder View Post
    I love saxophones so much that I have six of them - a soprano, three altos, a C melody, and a tenor.

    I've heard that saxophones aren't used in orchestras because their overtones don't quite fit in. The saxophone is half brass and half woodwind, so that hybrid quality keeps them mostly at a distance. It doesn't make sense to me, but that's what I once heard.
    Interesting. Maybe it's the combination of conical bore and 'semi-brassiness' that makes the overtones, ah, challenging for composers? the old brass 'band' clarinets sound OK to me. I hear no problem in the Debussy sax, but that may be because of Debussy.
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  16. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    Interesting. Maybe it's the combination of conical bore and 'semi-brassiness' that makes the overtones, ah, challenging for composers? the old brass 'band' clarinets sound OK to me. I hear no problem in the Debussy sax, but that may be because of Debussy.
    Yeah, it can be done. As Clavichorder mentioned, the Russians didn't have much of a problem with them. And I've noticed them popping up in more recent pieces.

    One nice thing about taking them away from orchestras is, players have been free to explore their possibilities. Instead of being confined to one official sound, saxophones have very different sounds - from the sandpaper tone of early David Sanborn to the dry martini sound produced by Paul Desmond. And its slightly out of tune overtones have been used to its advantage with players like Pharoah Sanders and his sonorous blocks of sound. Classical composers have used these techniques to some degree (like Berio's Sequenza) but not with the same degree of freedom.

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  18. #10
    Senior Member Prodromides's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I voted "generally positive" because I always like the saxophone in classical compositions, but not always in jazz music.

    Here's a clip of "Legende" by Andre Caplet; this version is for saxophone with chamber orchestra.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwzNx...yer_detailpage

    Charles Koechlin wrote Etudes for saxophone and piano. Here's two of them:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE8nQ...yer_detailpage

    Richard Rodney Bennett's saxophone concerto, split into 2 YT clips:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5kA-...fikpt_COwFn-sM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCu42...yer_detailpage

    quatuor pour saxophones by Florent Schmitt:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDfbM...yer_detailpage
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqEAJ...yer_detailpage
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LQv9...yer_detailpage
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sq4Gr...yer_detailpage

    Hope you enjoy!
    Last edited by Prodromides; Nov-22-2012 at 16:28.

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  20. #11
    Senior Member Hassid's Avatar
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    I like very much the sound of the sax quartets. Have a dozen works, and all really lovely pieces. There were even a recording of the complete Bach´s Art for saxes, but i never heard it.

  21. #12
    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manxfeeder View Post
    I love saxophones so much that I have six of them - a soprano, three altos, a C melody, and a tenor.

    I've heard that saxophones aren't used in orchestras because their overtones don't quite fit in. The saxophone is half brass and half woodwind, so that hybrid quality keeps them mostly at a distance. It doesn't make sense to me, but that's what I once heard.
    A good orchestrator will understand the pros and cons of employing saxophones in an orchestra. When a composer knows what he is doing, it can be very effective.
    Last edited by arpeggio; Nov-22-2012 at 17:31.
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  23. #13
    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravndal View Post
    I agree with Hilltroll about it being a Jazz instrument. Can't really imagine it being in a orchestra.
    Have you heard Symphonic Dances? Makes a strong case for its potential in that arena.

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  25. #14
    Moderator Huilunsoittaja's Avatar
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    Uh, do I need to post it here?
    "Music is an art, and art is forever. Music should not succumb to fashion, which is passing and forgotten."
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  26. #15
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    Saxes have such a beautiful tone and timbre
    The more one limits oneself - the more one frees himself - Igor Stravinsky

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