Sax Fingerings

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Re: Sax Fingerings

Post by admin » Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:13 am

Hi folks,

I’ve had several requests for various sax-based fingerings, and I’m not sure which approach to take as they’re all different and I don’t have much space for more charts. As sax is already a bit beyond the originally intended use, it would be great if I could limit the sax fingering to one chart. If there’s any way to come to a collaborative consensus here on a “universal” sax chart, that would be ideal, otherwise I’ll have to make an executive decision at some point about which one to keep. However, having close to zero knowledge of sax, I’m probably not the best person to make that decision ;)

As for a universal “WARBL” fingering chart, that was kind of my intent with the chromatic whistle chart, which uses standard whistle/simple system fingering but can also use the right pinky to flatten any note, giving you two chromatic octaves.

I’ll be shipping the next batch next week. Thanks for your patience!

2Dog
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Re: Sax Fingerings

Post by 2Dog » Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:06 pm

I am going to stick with the one we developed and that I have been using. I would like to see the other suggestions.

ubizmo
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Re: Sax Fingerings

Post by ubizmo » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:51 pm

I picked up an iPad mini 4, in preparation for playing WARBL. I've also had a chance to print out the sax-like fingering chart. My first thoughts are:
1. The diatonic C major scale should be linear, as it is on a sax. That is, start with seven holes covered, then lift one at a time for each successive note until "middle C", which is O|OXO|OOOO, where the first 'O' is the uncovered right thumb (RT) hole. This scale is almost identical to Baroque soprano recorder fingering, with the exception of Fnat.

2. The rationale for keeping RT "open" in the first octave is to emulate the sax, where the right thumb presses a key to open a hole, to kick the pitch up an octave. If you were going for a recorder emulation, you'd do the opposite.

3. The sax-like fingering chart uses O|OXO|OOXO for low C. The reason for this is that it uses O|XXX|XXXX for Eb. That is, it uses the D fingering plus the L4 hole to drop the pitch a semitone. I get the motivation for this fingering, since low and middle Eb fingering on a sax uses seven fingers, but even so I think this would be hard to adjust to.

4. As I've argued above, I think there's simply no way to achieve a "natural" sax-like feeling for most accidentals (with the exception of middle and high Bb) on a keyless instrument, so I prefer to try for a somewhat arbitrary, but consistent, set of cross-fingerings. On a sax, you normally play Bb with a side key, but you can get an acceptable Bb with either O|XOO|XOOO or O|XOO|OXOO. That is, you have the fingering for B and you flat it using either R1 or R2. Given that, it would be consistent to apply the same principle to Ab/G#, which requires a pinky key on the sax. So I propose to allow both O|XXO|XOOO and O|XXO|OXOO to get Ab/G#. It would even make sense to add a third option for both, namely to allow both R1 and R2 together to drop B or A down a semitone.

5. The chart has the expected fingering for F#, which is O|XXX|OXOO. That's consistent with the fingerings I've just suggested. R2 is being used to drop G a semitone. So at least the notes B, A, and G follow a consistent pattern.

6. The remaining accidentals are on the left hand notes, and the above system won't work. This is why I proposed using the uncovering of a left-hand hole to raise pitch a semitone. Since any hole chosen for this purpose would be arbitrary, it doesn't really matter which one. I think I'd go with L1, so low C# would be O|OXX|XXXX and low D#/Eb would be O|OXX|XXXO, but someone might have a reason why a different left-hand hole should be used. This system, plus the thumb hole, gives you two consistent octaves from C1 to C#3. Then the question is how to get lower and higher notes. But since overblowing gets plenty of higher notes, it's really just about the low ones. There's no "natural" way to do it without pinky keys, so again it's a matter of choosing an arbitrary. For this, I think it's reasonable to use the regular middle B, Bb, and A fingerings, and add R4.

If anyone's interested, I can compile these suggestions into a complete chart of some kind.

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Re: Sax Fingerings

Post by 2Dog » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:07 am

Yes I would like to see a fingering chart. This thread has had over 7k views and I would like see input from others also. Anybody using sax fingerings?

Took my WARBL to rehearsal for first time using sounds from my MAC and it went well. I use it in bag mode along with my AE10 so I am learning how to switch back and forth. Counting the TEC B&B I use with the WARBL for vibrato, now have 3 wind controllers wired to the Mac and on my person. Prefer the Mac sounds for the type of music I play. I tend to layer sounds. Working hard on playing pentatonic scales fluently and learning guitar riffs, of all things. Use the AE for layered horn section.

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Re: Sax Fingerings

Post by ubizmo » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:10 pm

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2Dog
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Re: Sax Fingerings

Post by 2Dog » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:45 am

Thanks. There are many similarities but I think where we differ is that since we are not encumbered by the acoustic limitation of a Sax I went for consistency between the octaves. As far as accidentals, where I couldn’t replicate the sax I used the 7nth hole for the rest. Your C0 is closer to how a Sax is fingered but I took the opportunity to finger like the other octaves and used the 6th hole as sort of a lower octave key that is used for all the lower notes down to G. You only go down to A, which is fine as it is the lowest note on some Baritones. Without actually using your accidental fingerings I don’t know if they are easier than just using one hole for all that aren’t like a sax. There would be a learning curve for both ways. It would be nice if we could just use the config tool to set our own cust fingering but I don’t think that is possible. Nice work. Using over blow creates glitches in bag mode so I turned it off and will get back to it when I get fluent in the other 2 1/2 octaves.

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Re: Sax Fingerings

Post by admin » Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:27 am

Thanks both of you for this conversation. I've been busy making WARBLs so I haven't had much time to look at this, but if there's any way to come up with a single system that is mutually agreeable that would be ideal. It would indeed be nice to be able to make a custom fingering chart in the Config Tool, unfortunately the storage on the part of the microcontroller that can be rewritten by the user is much too small, so the fingering charts have to be hard-coded in the software.

If the overblowing using the bag is tricky you can try setting the "threshold" higher, so you have to squeeze hard to overblow. That way it's there if you need it but it but you won't trigger it accidentally.

2Dog
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Re: Sax Fingerings

Post by 2Dog » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:13 pm

Going to create a spread sheet so you can see where we agree. There will be a learning curve for most accidental fingerings and the lower partial octave no matter what you select. I am going to adopt his way of illustrating the fingering as it is easy to follow. Since I have already gotten through my learning curve I most likely will stay with the bata, if you change it. I will still try silently working with his to see how it feels. Still like to see the other suggestions you mentioned. Keep building WARBLS I just my get another for backup. I also considered how wind controllers finger when they have extra octave keys so it should be Vaguely sax & wind controller- like fingerings.
Last edited by 2Dog on Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ubizmo
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Re: Sax Fingerings

Post by ubizmo » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:06 pm

As you say, there's no substitute for actual experimentation. I guess I feel like my "basic instinct" as a sax and recorder player (amateur!) for over 50 years is first to nail the C major scale, from C1 to C2, and then work from there. My system is also very consistent across the octaves, with the exception of the notes below C1, and even they differ only in the use of R4 as a "down octave" key. And there's no reason why those low notes couldn't be extended all the way down to E without breaking the system. I stopped at A because, as you pointed out, that's the lowest note on a (bari) sax. It would also be possible to extend the range up to G4, by adding an uncovered L2 to the overblown third octave fingerings. So, for example, D4 would be overblown X | XOX | XXXO, D#4 would be overblown X | OOX | XXXO, and so on. So this fingering would support a range of three octaves plus a minor third, from E0 to G4, with pretty solid consistency.

As a player of recorders and ocarinas for many years, I'm very accustomed to cross-fingerings. In fact, there's nothing to prevent merging sax and recorder fingering into my system by the addition of just a few more alternate fingerings, for Bb, Ab, and F#, assuming that the software can accommodate this. The Baroque recorder forked Fnat could also be added, without breaking the system -- although that fingering is generally regarded as a necessary evil on actual recorders (It's why the German recorder fingering was eventually developed, even though German fingering introduced even worse evils, but I digress). It's fascinating to see what's possible without the acoustics getting in the way.

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Re: Sax Fingerings

Post by 2Dog » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:41 pm

Please let me know if I made any errors. The fingerings with ? are other possibilities but I would not suggest implementing the ones with OB. The lower ones would be useful to me as I trigger chords using the notes not in Sax range on a per song basis. There are "unintentional" alternative fingerings in the Bata as if you put fingers on certain lower notes or open up upper notes it may or may not have any effect and some have an effect that you would not have with an acoustic sax. For example, righ now if you finger the lower notes with the ? you get the next octave up note, an unintentional alternative fingerings. It's not a bug, its a feature! Bottom line is, that this truly a new instrument and is in no shape or form a sax or even other wind controllers that I have played in the past. All of those had side keys of sorts. All I wanted was to reduce the learning curve, given my background in both acoustic and electronic instruments and I am happy with my progress and the WARBL's control of certain sounds that I passed over with my other wind controllers. It is amazing how the brain and the muscles adjust to using a bag for note attack as opposed to breath. Using the instrument out of the scope of it's design. Unintended consequences. I find that if I jsut play fast I only play the notes that are easy. Suggest practicing scales and chords to get use to the unique fingerings as quickly as possible. No different that learning any new instrument. Playing songs lets you know quickly what you need to work on also. Update 8/22/19 -
Sax Fingering Compare 1.jpg
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Last edited by 2Dog on Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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