Pages 39-44

This set of exercises is called “Progressive Exercises on Time”. The word “Progressive” is used throughout this book. In fact, the Universal Method for Saxophone is a product of the Progressive Era, as evidenced by Paul de Ville’s attitudes. The progressive thinkers were pseudo intellectual elitists that believed that anything new had to be better than anything old. I believe that’s why de Ville would include solo music by his contemporary Gillet (?), but no selections by J. S. Bach and why he centered this method on the clumsy and now obsolete, Evette-Schaeffer fingering system.
While the previous “Exercises in Slurring” were well organized, the “Progressive Exercises on Time” lack focus. Are they studies on meter or rhythm? They seem to be some of both. De Ville writes a little theme, and then follows it with some variations in different meters and rhythms. Some of the rhythmic variations are fairly difficult, so they ‘progress” quickly from easy to complex. The last part of this section is called “Exercises in Rests”. These are nice studies designed to help the player maintain a sense of meter through various combinations of rests. In general, a student would improve their sight reading skills by leaning this section. I have two more small complaints. One is Paul de Ville’s placement of breath marks. He got most of them right, but some are used in the most unmusical ways. Also, he never presents a clear method of counting music and sub dividing the beat. Presenting a logical counting system would give the student a method that would allow them to figure out any rhythm.
I would like to see this section redesigned. First, teach a counting method that sub divides the beat. Second, focus on common rhythmic patterns and how they are used in the most frequently used meters. Odd and mixed meters could be covered in a later section of the method.
I look forward to your comments.
Neal Ramsay

Published in: on October 1, 2009 at 8:37 am  Leave a Comment  

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