Dismiss Notice
I hate the colors. What do I do?

At the far bottom of the page, on the left, is a menu or link that says, "Forum Default." Click on that and choose a different Style.

Useful Resource - and Transposition Question

Discussion in 'Websites, Books, etc.' started by Stephen, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. Stephen

    Stephen

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2014
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ireland
    I have stumbled across "Songmaven", and it looks like it could be a very useful resource for those who don't know of it already. This is a link to the home page.

    Among the tools are a downloadable set of MP3 blues backing tracks (which are also directly playing via an audio widget on the homepage.

    As I'm currently learning blues scales on the alto sax, these could be perfect for improvising around. I assume they are in concert pitch, though and I'm not sure which key goes with which backing track.

    For example, if I'm playing the D blues scale on the alto (Eb) which blues backing track should I play?

    I tried several to see which fits and to my ear, it seems as if playing the E blues backing track works when I play the D blues scale. But that doesn't seem to work out logically.

    An suggestions on how to work this out easily would be welcome.
     
    Tags:
  2. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,410
    Likes Received:
    50
    Location:
    Springville, Utah
    I'm surprised no one has answered this by now. The alto saxophone transposes up a 6th. That means if the saxophone is playing in its key of D, then the concert pitch can be found a 6th lower (or a minor 3rd higher) which is F. I can't imagine a backing track 1/2 step away from F sounding good, but "whatever floats your boat" is fine with me. :)
     
  3. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Messages:
    10,751
    Likes Received:
    467
    Something that might also help is the Eb transposing instruments key signature transposition trick: stick three sharps in whatever key signature the C instrument is using. Example: key of C major (for C instruments) becomes key of A (for Eb instruments). You can also take a bass clef part written for C instruments, add those three sharps and play the bass clef as treble clef. Example: :BassClef::Line2: (B) becomes :TrebleClef::Line2: (G#). It's a fun trick, until you either get double-sharps in the key signature and/or encounter a lot of accidentals.
     
  4. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Messages:
    5,615
    Likes Received:
    199
    Location:
    Seattle
    Most bari sax players know this because at one time or another they've had to play a bass bone part because there was no bari part.
     
  5. retread

    retread

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    Kansas City
    When sightreading, I usually have a word for those notes: Tacit.
     
  6. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Messages:
    10,751
    Likes Received:
    467
    That's probably my best instrument: tacit horn. Except when I screw up the counting ....

    Regarding the bari/trombone thing, I used to be in a band where I often had to play or double the bass line. I also played a bunch of cello music for practice. It's nice to just be able to pull that off the shelf and play it, no markup necessary. You can also do that with a bass or tenor vocal part. Useful trick.
     
  7. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,494
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Beulah FL, a suburb of Pensacola
    That's probably my best instrument: tacit horn. Except when I screw up the counting ....

    Then, you ought to try playing The Swan Of Tuonela, by Jean Sibelius, some time very soon.

    For all of the players outside of the corps of the strings and the english horn (which plays the long, plaintive solo that is the core of the piece), doing The Swan is a long, draggy session of counting rests.

    Sibelius used a bass clarinet, a French horn, the trombones, and a set of tympani (and nothing else, in particular none of the hair-flipping orchestral flute players) for one particular piece of color in the middle of the piece, where the swan makes its dramatic entrance into Hell (or death, or something). At that point, the english horn plays a particular figure, which is then echoed dramatically by the bass clarinet (big time, prominent solo), and then (in succession, but in a diminishing fashion) by the French horn and the trombones, underlaid by the rolling tympani.

    Then, after another spell of solo english horn, the other, non-strings, have a brief, eight bar section where they play a harmonic accompaniment under the double reed (who, by that point, is quite tired out - I used to have a girlfriend who played the english horn, and she hated doing the piece with a passion, alll of the laudatory remarks she received aside). Then, everyone but the strings get to sit out the rest of the piece. (The rests are there, but no one bothers to count them - at that point, everyone is ready to go out for a stiff drink.)

    In the bass clarinet part, it's all broken up in phrases (irregularly so, I think - no uniform eight bar slices), and I seem to recall that the meter is either in 3/2 or 6/4, awkward enough as it is. (I've got a copy of the score somewhere, but it's buried in the storage Pod right now, or I'd check.) There are the occasional cues in the bass clarinet part, but you do sweat your entry until you get to know what the english horn player is doing pretty well.

    As an aside, the first time that I ever did the piece, it was in a summer orchestra in Afton MO, where I signed on specifically for this and Dukas' Sorcerer's Apprentice (my first extended experience with reading bass clef). When playing Swan, my measure counting was somewhat disrupted by having in my field of view the gorgeous blonde 'cello player who carefully executed the two extended solos at the beginning and end of same. The perfect personification of a "California girl" back when such people were just coming into vogue, Barbie (her given name, not "Barbara", mind you) poured every ounce of her being into the expressive solos, and ended up doing them over and over as the english horn gal was not at all comfortable with those portions of the piece.

    After two rehearsals of staring at this vision, I got up the nerve to socialize with her (spending time after rehearsal seated on a wooden picnic table at the local Dairy Queen, where we both had a thing for cherry-flavored Mr. Misty drinks), and then dating her for the balance of the summer and fall. She liked sailing (and I had the boat to do it in), and having her sit next to me (in close proximity in the truck cab) was the reason that I put my horns and computer homework in the bed of the pickup truck on the ride out to Six Flags the evening that my many hundreds of Hollerith cards decorated five or six miles of Missouri interstate highway median and shoulder.

    We would grab a quick dinner and eat it in the cab of the truck, all the while rushing out the highway to get to the park to play (me) and perform (her, dancing and singing) in the theater. Then, it was back in the truck, drive back home and both go to sleep until the next day's work came up. On our off days, we would generally go out to dinner and a show, as we both liked theater and Saint Louis was awash with it back in the day. The best times were had at the old Goldenrod Showboat down on the riverfront, where a decent meal followed by a traditional melodrama made for a perfect, fun date night.

    She was a living doll, and (although we drifted apart at the end of the season at the theme parks), I could not have met a more charming, beautiful and talented young woman if I had tried. (In addition to her 'cello playing skills, she was also a superb singer and dancer, the former being good enough to get her on the old Ted Mack Amateur Hour in its day.) My parents were sorry that we did not stay together, so wonderful of a daughter-in-law she would have made.

    I lost track of her after I went away to school, but some years later, when I was working for the then-Veterans Administration, her father's file came across my desk. She was then attending college under the dependent's educational benefit for deceased veterans, and her cumbersome, South Germanic surname stuck out like a sore thumb. I thought about looking her up again, but I was in the process of becoming engaged at the time, so I let it pass. (Besides, I'd have to find her on my own, since you couldn't use government records for private purposes, and there was no accessible internet back in those days.)

    There - from counting interminable rests, through memories of a long-vanished soft drink, to misty-eyed nostalgia, all in the space of twelve paragraphs...
     
  8. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Messages:
    10,751
    Likes Received:
    467
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1jUrKGGnDY. Around the 5 minute mark. I've actually taken to listening to Sibelius in the past couple months.

    I listened to a different version of this before I found the above. All solos largely replaced by cello.
     
Our staff's websites:


Loading...