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John Harle: The Saxophone

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THE SAXOPHONE<br />

This seminal work by master saxophonist <strong>John</strong> <strong>Harle</strong> offers players of all levels the most in-depth approach to<br />

playing the saxophone ever published. In this beautifully presented, two volume-boxed set, <strong>Harle</strong> reveals his<br />

ground-breaking techniques for encouraging fluent and natural playing – transforming the musical experience<br />

of students and professionals alike.<br />

Every aspect of playing is explored, from resonant tone production, breathing and fluent articulation through to<br />

techniques for building ease and flow in performance. Practical, clear and universally relevant, <strong>The</strong> <strong>Saxophone</strong><br />

discloses <strong>John</strong> <strong>Harle</strong>’s secrets to playing with individuality, fluent technique and a powerful musical presence.<br />

“It’s a beast of a book. It will take prime position in my teaching studio forever!<br />

A new perspective – wonderful!”<br />

JOHN HARLE<br />

SNAKE DAVIS<br />

George Michael, Culture Club, Take That, Pet Shop Boys, Motörhead<br />

“<strong>The</strong> <strong>Saxophone</strong> is a work of art, combining scientific research with a balanced and<br />

poetic presentation. <strong>John</strong> gives fantastic advice on learning methods<br />

which can be adapted to any age, level and need - musicians, amateur or<br />

professional will find the answers to all their questions here.<br />

I would like to thank <strong>John</strong> for his gift to the saxophone world.”<br />

CLAUDE DELANGLE<br />

<strong>John</strong> <strong>Harle</strong> is one of the world’s leading saxophonists. He has worked with everyone from Michael Nyman<br />

and Sir Harrison Birtwistle to Elvis Costello and Sir Paul McCartney. He is also an Ivor Novello award-winning<br />

composer and record producer with chart-topping successes over many years. Credited with having created<br />

an original school of saxophone playing, <strong>Harle</strong> has produced many of the leading players of today and is Visiting<br />

Professor of <strong>Saxophone</strong> at <strong>The</strong> Guildhall School, London.


2<br />

NEW<br />

WAYS OF THINKING<br />

<strong>The</strong> saxophone and you – new ideas and understanding<br />

• <strong>The</strong> three elements of saxophone playing – what happens inside your body<br />

as you play<br />

• <strong>The</strong> three elements explained – abdominal support, the embouchure and<br />

resonance<br />

• <strong>The</strong> three elements working together – the equal importance of all three elements<br />

• <strong>The</strong> mirror patterns of the saxophone – how the saxophone and your playing<br />

connect<br />

• Mirror mechanics – how the saxophone defines your playing technique<br />

• <strong>The</strong> aura of reed vibration – making sense of the vibrations of the reed<br />

• <strong>The</strong> Reed Fan: the key to the saxophone – the patterns of the reed’s vibrations<br />

• <strong>The</strong> method – moving from generalized to detailed playing.<br />

<strong>The</strong> three elements of saxophone playing<br />

An audience experiences two things when they see and hear a great saxophonist<br />

perform. Firstly, the saxophonist takes a breath, and secondly, that breath<br />

changes into a musical, resonant sound coming from the player’s instrument.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se are both external<br />

actions of playing. To the audience, the inward breath<br />

is the cause, and the sound exiting the body of the saxophone is the effect. Both<br />

happen outside<br />

of the player’s body.<br />

But between these external actions,<br />

three internal<br />

processes happen.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se are:<br />

1 <strong>The</strong> engine room This is where raw<br />

breath energy<br />

is made – the inward<br />

breath is propelled upwards from<br />

your lungs to contact the reed.<br />

2 <strong>The</strong> contact centre Your breath is<br />

transformed<br />

into vibration here –<br />

breath contacts the reed and causes<br />

it to vibrate in your mouth.<br />

3 <strong>The</strong> Cathedral of Resonance Your<br />

personal sound<br />

is made here – the<br />

vibrations of the reed resonate high<br />

in your throat and simultaneously<br />

in the open spaces of your skull.<br />

• A ground-breaking new<br />

exploration of the cornerstones<br />

of saxophone technique,<br />

introducing revolutionary new<br />

concepts such as the Reed<br />

Fan, the Power Lines and the<br />

Cathedral of Resonance.<br />

• Step-by-step instructions and<br />

simple exercises provide a clear<br />

introduction to these innovative<br />

new principles.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Reed Fan: 3/4 view – artist’s impression of the length, width and depth<br />

of the reed’s vibrations<br />

38 THE SAXOPHONE: VOLUME 1<br />

• Stunning visualisations present<br />

unique analytical models that<br />

aid understanding of the new<br />

concepts introduced.<br />

• Quick insights offer tips,<br />

technical advice and extra<br />

information.<br />

<strong>The</strong> vibrations of the reed also mirror the width and<br />

depth of the corresponding position of the note on the<br />

body of the saxophone. <strong>The</strong> changing angles of the<br />

vibrations reflect the expansion rate (about 7%) of the<br />

conical bore. As you progress through the chapters<br />

you will train your body to mirror the patterns of the<br />

saxophone and reed in each of the three elements of<br />

playing, and so complete the mirror system of your<br />

saxophone, your reed and your body. <strong>The</strong> Reed Fan is<br />

the key to making an in-tune, powerful and flexible sound<br />

with minimum effort. Approaching musical phrases with<br />

an intuitive precision that reflects the patterns of the Reed<br />

Fan creates confidence and releases your personal sound<br />

and musicianship.<br />

QUICK INSIGHT<br />

<strong>The</strong> bore of the saxophone is conical and therefore angled. This produces acoustic and<br />

technical patterns throughout the playing system that are also angled, mirroring the<br />

saxophone itself. <strong>The</strong> angles of the Reed Fan are our first encounter with this wonder of<br />

art and science.<br />

CHAPTER 2: NEW WAYS OF THINKING 45


• Unique anatomical colourcoded<br />

diagrams clarify new<br />

concepts such as the Cathedral<br />

of Resonance in Volume 1.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Cathedral of Resonance –<br />

soprano saxophone<br />

• Colour-coded throughout to<br />

connect the resonating areas<br />

of the head to the ranges of<br />

the instrument and point of<br />

vibration of the reed.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Cathedral of Resonance<br />

– alto saxophone<br />

136 THE SAXOPHONE: VOLUME 1<br />

<strong>John</strong><strong>Harle</strong>_vol1_2PP.indd 136 07/10/2016 11:21<br />

Root<br />

EXERCISE 3 Blending tongue movements in root and tilt 1<br />

and 2 positions<br />

Perform this exercise with a continuous motion of the root of your tongue,<br />

making the transition between root and tilt 1 and 2 positions smoother, and the<br />

sound more supported.<br />

root of tongue forward<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Tilt 1<br />

root of tongue forward<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Tilt 2 tongue forward tongue back Tilt 1 tongue back<br />

• Diagrams, music and practice<br />

wheels interlink with the unique<br />

colour-coding.<br />

• Practice wheels help to<br />

develop a structured and<br />

relaxed practice routine.<br />

• Reminders reinforce key<br />

points essential to all exercises.<br />

Root<br />

tongue back<br />

<br />

<br />

! REMINDERS<br />

• Start notes with the<br />

breath only, no tongue.<br />

• Relax your jaw.<br />

• Alternate between<br />

resting your top<br />

teeth lightly on the<br />

mouthpiece and raising<br />

the top teeth 1mm off<br />

the mouthpiece on<br />

each repetition.<br />

• <strong>The</strong> top rear of your<br />

tongue should remain<br />

anchored to the midback<br />

top teeth.<br />

• Use a tuner to check<br />

how intonation<br />

improves.<br />

• Memorize the exercise,<br />

and then only use the<br />

practice wheel.<br />

QUICK INSIGHT<br />

Directing your breath<br />

upwards towards the<br />

reed from below will<br />

improve the sound of<br />

the middle and upper<br />

registers and ensure<br />

they are more in tune.<br />

Root Position<br />

Breath above reed<br />

Root of tongue<br />

moves back<br />

Relax your jaw<br />

Tilt 1 Position<br />

Breath below reed<br />

Root of tongue<br />

moves back<br />

Relax your jaw<br />

Avoid biting<br />

Root of tongue back<br />

on descent<br />

Playing Body<br />

Power Start-up<br />

Pulling down along<br />

the line<br />

Lift top teeth 1mm<br />

alternately<br />

Blending<br />

Root to Tilt 2<br />

Position<br />

and back<br />

Tilt 2 Position<br />

Breath just below reed<br />

Root of tongue<br />

moves forward<br />

Relax your jaw<br />

Root Position<br />

Breath above reed<br />

Root of tongue<br />

moves rorward<br />

Relax your jaw<br />

Tilt 1 Position<br />

Breath below reed<br />

Root of tongue<br />

moves forward<br />

Relax your jaw<br />

CHAPTER 5: TILT 71


!<br />

REMINDERS<br />

• Play the exercise at<br />

60 bpm.<br />

• Do not use your tongue<br />

to start the exercise.<br />

• Relax your jaw.<br />

• Alternate between<br />

single- and full doublelip<br />

embouchure with<br />

each repetition.<br />

• Use the practice wheel<br />

to change focus as you<br />

practise.<br />

Register 3 upper power lines Alto<br />

• Referring to the diagram, pull an imaginary elastic line back inwards towards<br />

the point of primary resonance.<br />

• Simultaneously focus on the lowest part of your abdomen pushing outwards,<br />

compressing your lungs with the muscles of your back, ending at the point of<br />

primary resonance.<br />

• <strong>The</strong> point of primary resonance should feel active, soft and powerful.<br />

• Sense changes in the vibrations at the back of your head and undulation<br />

in your low abdomen in a wave-like movement as you move through the<br />

chromatic note changes.<br />

• Repeat the exercise, ‘placing’ the first note correctly as you become familiar<br />

with the sensations of the power lines in the upper part of register 3.<br />

• Clear instructions and<br />

annotated exercises guide<br />

the player through each<br />

new technique.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Prepare<br />

Power<br />

Start Up<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

• New techniques and concepts<br />

are accompanied by balanced<br />

explanations, clear analytical<br />

diagrams, annotated exercises<br />

and summarised in practice<br />

wheels.<br />

Repeat,<br />

focusing on<br />

placement<br />

of first note<br />

Alternate<br />

single- and<br />

double-lip<br />

embouchure<br />

Focus on:<br />

Point of Primary<br />

Resonance<br />

Register 3<br />

(High)<br />

Power Lines<br />

Pull in low<br />

back of head<br />

and push out<br />

lowest<br />

abdomen<br />

Focus on:<br />

Undulation in<br />

low abdomen<br />

Focus on:<br />

Vibration<br />

changes in<br />

back of head<br />

EXERCISE 9<br />

h = 96 INCREASE GRADUALLY TO h = 112<br />

TA TU TU TU KU TU KU TU KA TA KU (sim. ...)<br />

<br />

<br />

58 THE SAXOPHONE: VOLUME 2<br />

• Volume 2 features Daily<br />

Practice Exercises, focussing on<br />

transforming players’ register<br />

changing, legato-staccato,<br />

altissimo fingerings, sonority and<br />

flexibility.<br />

<br />

<br />

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TA KU TU TU KU TA (sim. ...)<br />

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3<br />

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3<br />

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3 3 3<br />

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3 3<br />

3 3<br />

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3<br />

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• <strong>The</strong> exercises are annotated,<br />

colour-coded and specifically<br />

designed to build stamina, speed<br />

and technique in players of all<br />

standards.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

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3<br />

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3<br />

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(TA)<br />

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INFORMATION<br />

116 THE SAXOPHONE: VOLUME 2


16<br />

PERFORMANCE<br />

Transcending the ordinary<br />

Chapter outline<br />

This section touches briefly on some general aspects of performance, analyzes what happens<br />

as we perform, and gives strategies for preparation and performance:<br />

• Performance vision – ideas for creating personal models for your performance<br />

• Performance style – some practical thoughts about our role as instrumental soloists<br />

• Unlocking performance – what happens as we perform?<br />

• <strong>The</strong> performance system – practical aspects of preparation and performance<br />

• Music as words – pacing your playing to engage your audience<br />

• Practice and performance strategies – how to practise specific pieces for performance<br />

• Adrenalin and performance anxiety – how to cope under pressure.<br />

• <strong>Harle</strong> offers expert advice<br />

on all aspects of performance:<br />

dealing with fear, nerves and<br />

adrenalin, developing a strong<br />

psychological approach and<br />

setting goalposts for success.<br />

Performance vision<br />

Taking charge<br />

Taking charge of your own playing and performance style is more important<br />

today than it ever has been. As many of the old certainties about careers in<br />

music evaporate, the shifting goalposts of the modern musical world require<br />

today’s successful saxophonists to be focused and flexible. This new musical<br />

landscape provides opportunities for saxophonists with a vision of their own and<br />

an approach to performance that will fulfill your musical and personal goals,<br />

perhaps even more easily than in the past.<br />

<strong>The</strong> musician as magician<br />

From an audience’s perspective, a first-rate professional saxophonist can perform<br />

miracles. A breath is taken from the air and is transformed immediately into the<br />

warm and generous sound that comes from the player’s instrument. That sound<br />

represents a world of magic to the audience, who have come to a musical event<br />

to be transported into an realm of enchantment and fascination. But how can we<br />

begin the adventure that could lead us to be that player?<br />

Having a vision of what you want to achieve as a performer is essential. Stylistic<br />

and musical choices are individual to you, but the closer you get to your personal<br />

vision of what constitutes a great performance, the more authentic and enjoyable<br />

your experience will be.<br />

Here are two tips to help clarify your personal vision. <strong>The</strong>y are:<br />

• How to perform – the style and sound of your ideal performance<br />

• What to perform – the music or genre that will inspire you to perform at your<br />

best.<br />

Performance vision 1 – how to perform<br />

6<br />

This is very simple advice. Put yourself in the audience’s place. Try this exercise:<br />

• Close your eyes and imagine yourself<br />

in an audience, hearing and seeing<br />

yourself playing in an ideal performance ten years from now.<br />

• This ‘fantasy’ performance deeply moves and impresses you.<br />

• Don’t limit this vision in any way by relating it to your current technical or<br />

performance standard.<br />

• Volume 2 also looks at great<br />

players and their influences and<br />

examines the links between the<br />

saxophone and the voice.<br />

THE FULL REED FAN<br />

Playing in all three registers – for good intonation and centred sound<br />

122 THE SAXOPHONE: VOLUME 2<br />

• Inspiring photography and<br />

images are included throughout.<br />

• <strong>The</strong>se exclusive full-colour<br />

editions come in a beautiful<br />

boxed set; they are produced<br />

to the highest standards and<br />

are designed to open easily on<br />

music stands.


INFORMATION<br />

TITLE:<br />

AUTHOR:<br />

FORMAT:<br />

EXTENT:<br />

<strong>John</strong> <strong>Harle</strong>: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Saxophone</strong><br />

<strong>John</strong> <strong>Harle</strong><br />

Cased, 2 Volumes<br />

336 Pages<br />

PRICE: £48.00 / €64.49<br />

ISBN: 0-571-53962-9<br />

EAN13: 978-0-571-53962-8<br />

“<strong>John</strong>’s scholarly and artful scientific method is marked by formidable research and a<br />

passionate commitment to new and revolutionary techniques that open the door to a<br />

truly symbiotic relationship with your saxophone.”<br />

TOMMY SMITH<br />

Leading Jazz saxophonist/composer and Director of Jazz, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.<br />

“<strong>John</strong> is a consummate musician and saxophonist, and all the expertise and experience<br />

gleaned from his forty-plus years as a student of our instrument is encapsulated in this<br />

book. It is a must read for all professional and aspiring musicians LTERIA – I will be learning<br />

from <strong>John</strong> for years to come.”<br />

BRANFORD MARSALIS<br />

Three-time Grammy award-winning saxophonist and composer.<br />

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