Pages 1-6 The Fingering Chart

The concept for the Universal Method for Saxophone was a method that could take a student from beginner to professional level, so a good fingering chart is a top priority. Paul de Ville even includes a “rudiments of music” section where he teaches all the basics (names of lines and spaces, key signature, time signature, rhythm, terms).
I have never bothered to look at the fingering chart that accompanies the Universal Method as I knew the fingerings when I purchased it. But, having studied it for the first time, I consider it the worst fingering chart I have ever seen. It is the newest part of the Universal Method and was prepared by Siguard Rascher with a 1941 copyright. (I guess that by 1941 they had finally given up on the Evette and Schaeffer System) It is a large, 2 fold sheet that is separate from the rest of the book so that the student could refer to it as they study exercises on another page. The reference saxophone for this chart is based on photographs of a 1930’s Buescher alto saxophone. The photos where converted to black and white line art where the shadows are now 100% black smudges. It is impossible to see much detail or figure out many of the keys.
I am absolutely certain that the people at Carl Fischer never handed this chart to a beginning student and asked them to figure out the fingerings, without the help of a teacher. Had they done so, they never would have published it. A very clear, generic line drawing of the saxophone is need as the reference.
The back of the chart is interesting. It compares the relative ranges of the piano, violin and Bb clarinet with the ranges of the soprano, alto, C melody, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophones. It also has a column called “The Saxophone in the Orchestra”. It is written from the perspective that you, as a saxophonist, will be sitting in with a symphonic orchestra. It takes each member of the saxophone family and tells you what orchestral parts it could cover and how to work out the transpositions. The rages and transposition material is all good information, even if you don’t plan to sit in with your local orchestra.
Please share any ideas regarding this and other fingering charts.
Thanks
Neal Ramsay

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Published in: on September 18, 2009 at 6:24 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for taking on this project. The Universal Method is a great achievement but has needed updating for a LONG time! Bravo.

  2. This is a great idea and one that has crossed my mind several times including the possibility of audio recording. I’m so glad someone is finally doing it.


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