Pages 78 – 80

Pages 78 through 81 include exercises 34 through 37. Beginning with exercise 34, the length and quality of the “Fifty Exercises from low Bb to F Above the Staff” changes. The studies have become longer, more sophisticated and technically involved. Paul de Ville continues to work his way higher including more arpeggio studies. Instead on one technical problem per study, the exercises are a little more etude like, being longer and covering several different technical problems. De Ville often combines duple and triple rhythmic patterns in the same study.
While there are no specific Evette and Schaeffer System exercises in this set of studies there are more studies for the various Bb fingerings and the chromatic F# as well.
In exercise 34 De Ville suggests using the 1 & 1 Bb fingering (line 3) however I believe that the bis Bb is more effective. In line 8 the key to connecting the Ebs to Abs is a light finger touch over the break (avoid key slapping) and a balanced embouchure. This advice applies to all of the arpeggio patterns that appear in these exercises.
Study 36 is very meaty and deserves a lot of time devoted to it. The arpeggio studies are always good because they require the coordination of multiple fingers and break crossing. The triplet study on line 8 requires a even, balanced embouchure pressure. Never let your audience know that you had to cross the break. I would recommend the bis Bb for the Bb minor pattern on line 10.
Exercise 37 also presents some great problems. In the patterns that focus on the chromatic Gb, the ring finger will tend to lift too slowly while the middle finger will lift too high and tend to move in sympathy with the ring finger. Use the opportunity of this study to develop more independent movement in these fingers.

Your observations and comments are welcome.
Thanks,
Neal Ramsay

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Published in: on May 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pages 75-77

These pages contain exercises 29 through 33 of the “Fifty Exercises from low Bb to F Above the Staff”. Paul de Ville continues his studies of the four Bb fingerings and their appropriate applications. As with all of these studies, he focuses on one small technical problem at a time. They begin in half notes and gradually speed up through eight notes, and sixteenths. Some of these studies include triplets and sextuplets and exercise 32 and 33 uses thirty-second notes as well.
Exercise 30 is designed to be workout for some of the alternate fingerings available only on an Evette and Schaeffer System saxophone. The Evette Schaeffer saxophone could play Eb by way of a right handed bis key, so that the saxophonist could play fingerings going to and from Eb without having to slide the right hand pinky between the low C and Eb keys. While these exercises are clumsy on a conventional saxophone, they are worth doing as the professional saxophonist will see many of the fingering patterns again.
Exercise 31 is more of the Bb workout. De Ville could have suggested more alternate fingerings as in line three, where the Bb side key can be left down for all of the sixteenth notes. At the top of page 77, fourth measure, the side key C can be used in the triplets and sextuplets.
Finally in exercise 32 we cross the break. The first portion of 33 is really a C to D trill exercise, but De Ville neglects to indicate the trill fingering.
The same is true in exercise 33, which is a C# to D trill study but with no mention of the trill fingering.

As always, your observations and comments are welcome.
Thanks,
Neal Ramsay

Published in: on May 12, 2010 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pages 71 – 74

These pages contain exercises 20 through 29 of the “Fifty Exercises from low Bb to F Above the Staff”. Gradually these exercise work up the range of the saxophone, beginning on second space F# through third space C. These are more small, focused snippets that attempt to solve one technical awkwardness at a time. Paul de Ville frequently suggests fingerings found on the Evette and Schaeffer System. Fortunately, many of these have become standard fingerings on all saxophones. Exercises 20, 21, and 22 uses the articulated G#. Exercise No. 22 is also an excellent workout for improving the independent movement of the ring and pinky fingers.
Exercises 24 through 29 are very important as they present the four different fingerings for Bb. (side key, one and one, one and two, and bis) I find it common to meet students that only know one Bb fingering (usually the one and one) and try to use it for everything, with poor results. Exercises 24 through 28 systematically introduces each fingering, followed by exercises for its appropriate use. I find that the least used and most misunderstood fingering is the bis Bb. Bis is Latin for twice or two referring to the fact that one finger is used to play two keys simultaneously. To properly use the bis key the left hand index finger presses both the B key and the small key (bis) that is located between B and A. This is a powerful fingering that makes many arpeggio type passages easier to play.
Exercise 29 incorporates side key C and has more work on improving pinky and ring finger coordination.
As always, your observations and comments are welcome.
Thanks,
Neal Ramsay

Published in: on May 10, 2010 at 1:44 pm  Leave a Comment