A Beautiful Sound On Soprano Sax: Part 2

It’s no mystery how to get a beautiful sound on soprano sax.

Of course, we all have different ideas about “beauty” and what it may be for us. The same is undoubtedly true about a “beautiful sound”. We know it when we hear it, but how do we understand it or how do we identify the “why” of its beauty?

What makes that sound “beautiful” to us?

Well, that is the beginning of the unfolding path of getting a beautiful sound on soprano saxophone.

Too many players jump on the “random search” path, with no real way of knowing what is happening or which way they are headed. And that “random search” has no guarantee of success. It is completely dependent upon good fortune, and nothing more. If you are successful, you have been very lucky. That method usually involves a lot of time, a lot of failure, a lot of effort and a good deal of money. Add to that a large portion of frustration.

So, what can be done to point the way to a “better path”?

It’s pretty simple, actually. Let’s identify the qualities that we hear or sense in that “beautiful sound”. What are they? How can we describe them? What words can we use that won’t sound silly or pretentious?

Well, the chances are pretty good that the words will sound silly or pretentious or weird or imprecise.

So what, if it works.  And it will work, guaranteed.

What might those words be?

Here are some of the ones that I’ve heard or used before, in no special order and with no particular explanation attached to any of them:

Bright, dark, warm, edgy, full, round, rich, deep, loud, quiet, big, small, alive, crisp, sultry, sexy, textured, glowing, radiant, woody, oboe-like, alto-like, hot, cool, west coast, soft, even, simple, complex….. you get the idea.

All by themselves, those words can have a different meaning to different players, of course. But, when they are combines, and when they are used in both a positive sense ( “sultry”) and also in a negative sense ( “not bright” ), they begin to take on a sharper meaning.

But that is just the beginning. Add to those words (and any others used) the thing we use all the time: our ears. Ask yourself this:

What player has a sound that is similar or close to what I consider beautiful? It need not be a soprano player either. How can that be? Well, we are trying to identify “qualities” of an idea about “beauty” and anything that might demonstrate that quality is useful. I’ve had a well known pro player spend time talking about a “Sarah Vaughan” quality, and that helped a lot. I’ve had folks use colors as well.

The point is this: the first step onto a productive and guaranteed successful path is to “think” deeply about what is “in” or “behind” that “beautiful sound” you are “hearing”.

Don’t think that this is not an important step to take. It is extremely important and it is not easy, although it is quite simple.

It is a simple thing to do, of course, but the difficulty is in committing yourself to being as ‘clear” in your ideas as you can be. It is a lonely feeling, but it pays big rewards.

And, most importantly, it is not a static or fixed collection of ideas, nor does it have to be consistent in itself. In other words, don’t “judge” your effort; just be committed to doing an honest and thoughtful job.

Because it is only the beginning, although it will catapult you a long way down the road to “your” beautiful soprano sound.

Read what hundreds of players have said about their successes on the path with SOPRANOPLANET.

It’s true.



Joe Giardullo