Pages 26 and 27

Finally, today we actually get to the first musical exercises of the Universal Method for Saxophone, but not without slugging our way through one more piece of Paul de Ville’s writing.
Page 26 titled, “Improvements added to the Evette and Schaeffer System of Saxophones”, explains the new patented keys of the Evett-Schaeffer system and how they will improve your life as a saxophonist.
As saxophonists, we can thank the Evette and Schaeffer system for the addition for the front, alternate high E-F key. That key made its debut on the saxophone as patented part of the Evette-Schaffer system, and it is the only key to survive to this day.
There is no right hand Bb bis key in this system, but there is an Eb bis key, for the left hand. Paul de Ville explains it this way; “Evette and Schaeffer claim they have thoroughly succeeded by obtaining the emission of the Eb through the hole of the E natural.” That sentence sounds as if de Ville never even played the Evette-Schaeffer system, but is just repeating the information in their advertisement. The best part of page 26 is that we have the opportunity to read more of Paul de Ville’s great instructional writing style such as “It is easy to account for the fact that: since these notes are made indifferently with both hands, thence all the most difficult passages become very easy to be made out.” This guy needs an editor and proof reader!
Page 27 “Preparatory Exercises” are the first playing exercises for the student. They are fine but with a couple of historical oddities. On exercise No.8 you are told to keep key VII open for D, E, F, and G. In exercise No. 13 you are told to close key VII and open key XII for A and above. Keys VII and XII do not appear on the fingering chart and a beginning student will be frustrated in trying to figure out these instructions. These fingerings are a throw back to the 1899 Evette & Schaeffer fingering chart and Carl Fischer never bothered to correct it. These early horns had a pair of octave keys instead of one. Key VII was used for D-G, Key XII for A and everything higher. You had to slide your thumb between the two keys as a bassoonist would. Modern saxophones have the one octave key that automatically switches between D and A.
Sidebar- Does anyone know anything about Paul de Ville? Was he French and was someone translating his work? Was he a saxophonist? Plesae leave comments if know anything about this guy.
Thanks,
Neal Ramsay

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Published in: on September 24, 2009 at 7:32 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. Its my understaning that Paul de Ville wsa a clarinet and saxophone teacherin the French Conservatory system. He reworked some clarinet books to use with his saxophone students and that was the beginning of the Univesal Method.
    Thanks for the blogs, me and my fellow “Geeks” are enjoying them.


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