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Topic: First JABB attempt !

  1. #1

    First JABB attempt !

    Users of the JABB forums have had to put up for a while now with my idiotic questions about CCs and my search for the right tenor sax... well, I think I'm getting the hang of JABB now but I'd very much appreciate all comment, criticism and suggestions on my first attempt - which is here -


    As it says, it's JABB's Tenor Sax 4 and a lot of CCs, plus a small touch of reverb but not much else. The piano is also JABB. I'm a pianist - not (as you will be able to tell) a saxophonist ! The piece itself is based on the music I wrote a long while ago for one of the songs - Come Away Death - in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, for a production set in the 1920s.

    As I said, all comment welcome ! And thanks again to everyone who's helped me get this far.

  2. #2

    Re: First JABB attempt !

    Hi Viv,

    I like your melody, but the sax is out of tune.... .
    "Music is the shorthand of emotion." Leo Tolstoy

    Listen to me, tuning my triangle http://www.box.net/shared/ae822u6r3i

  3. #3

    Re: First JABB attempt !

    Hi Viv,

    Thanks for offering your music. I have two principal comments. First, the sax is really out of tune with the piano. Have you altered the random pitch controller? If so, I'd reset it to a minimal value or 0. At a ballad tempo like that, a good player will adjust pitch immediately and never be so far away from the piano's pitch for more than a few milliseconds.

    Second, the range of the tune is too high for the tenor sax you've selected. With a real player, you'd be way into the altissimo register (above the written range) which would sound nothing like the apparent intention of your recording. The range you've chosen is more appropriate for an alto sax, and even then you'll be at the top of the instrument's common range. You might even try using a soprano sax, transposing the notes down an octave first, and see what you think of that timbre. Sopranos can be very effective on ballads. As a general rule, any instrument will be most efective if it's used in it's most common ranges.

    If you're unfamiliar with the natural ranges of sxophones, all good jazz arranging textbooks (Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Rayburn Wright, etc.) will have that information. That information will go a long way towards improving the "natural-ness" of your recordings. Range issues are a common characteristic of electronic music and a dead give away that you're not using real players.
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA

  4. #4

    Re: First JABB attempt !

    Aaarghhh - I can tell you what led me astray... it was analysing a MIDI file for sax that someone else put up on this site that had a lot of pitch-wheel movement. I have got carried away, and will have to carry myself back and stick closer to the note in future . Also thanks for the tips on the type of sax - I actually had a listen to most of them when I'd got the basic melody down, and concluded (wrongly) that tenor was probably the right range - as I say, I'm not a sax player and therefore tend to go by the available notes for a given instrument (and what I read in books), which isn't the same as the RIGHT range ! I will get back to work. Thanks again ! Viv.

  5. #5

    Re: First JABB attempt !

    Hi, Viv---A Big thing here, however, is that this is a Really nice piece. Ignoring the problems for a moment, the nitty gritty compositional stuff is So there. Nice piano!

    These guys have been very helpful, zeroing in on what the mistakes were. I can totally understand you studiously applying all the scoops on the Sax, like you saw in the MIDI file you analyzed. You just gotta kinda settle on the note after the initial wobbley attack.

    Choosing the wrong Sax is understandable too, since the instrument Does go up where you have it, but as was pointed out here, the Tenor Sax just isn't going to be staying in that range for that period of time. Thinking of the Sax family names and thinking of them as analogous to voices in a choir will help keep things straight.

    Once you get the notes in tune, and you swap out the Tenor for the Soprano Sax--this will be great.---Was the piece cut short though? I hope it's longer!


  6. #6

    Re: First JABB attempt !

    Compositionally, this is a nice ballad. I like the enterplay between the melody and the piano.

    From a sequencing point of view, I appreciate the suggestions provided by the previous posters. There seems to be opportunity for experimentation and refinement. It will be interesting to hear how you come along with the progression of the arrangement and sequencing.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rayzalaf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Re: First JABB attempt !

    It would be great if you redo this piece using Tenor Sax 3 which isn't so flat in this register. Tenor Sax 4 has a nice Stan Getz type sound but it is a little over the top around the pitch. While using it I found myself trying to use pitch bend at times to bring it back into line.
    This is a very well present piece apart from this sax issue so I look forward to hearing more from you and JABB.

    My Best



  8. #8

    Re: First JABB attempt !

    OK guys - try this one and see if it's any improvement:
    I tried the soprano but the range isn't adequate for my low notes ! - it would have meant transposing the whole piece up a few semitones, and I really like it in C minor... so I settled on alto sax 2 for the moment, although I'm not sure I've got the tone right yet. Still, at least it should be in tune now ! (I didn't see the post about tenor sax 3 before I changed it... will do some more experimenting !). Thanks for all your comments. Viv.

  9. #9

    Re: First JABB attempt !

    Aaaaaargh! You took the first version down before I could listen! Actually, I did want to hear the first version to see what the other folks were after.

    I'm with Randy on this: I hope there's more to the piece, or that you expand it. It has appeal, and draws me into listening. It's an intriguing melody.

    The Alto works, but I hope you'll experiment a bit with other horns. From the textbooks you'll find that saxes are "weaker" at their "bridge." Fingering charts can be helpful, because you can actually see where so-called "bridge notes" are: (fingered) A, Bb, C (C, Db, Eb concert). . . and note that there's less "horn" being played. In practical terms, this means that for fast passages a good player will go through and over the "bridge" with no perceptive loss of quality. For slower passages (particularly in ballads) there's less resonance for those notes (and the alternate fingerings above them) than lower/higher notes, and that can be useful for an effect. If you want those notes to resonate, though, you want to be judicious in the phrasing of the notes surrounding them. For Soprano saxes you've got a Bb and an Eb to choose from.

    I do find the Alto line very expressive, and (because I favor the Alto) would hope that further development would leave it with an Alto. You do show some of the real potential of JABB! (The piano lines aren't too shabby, either!!!) Phrasing is good: I can hear the Alto player breathing in good places. The mix is nice, too: I can see the horn player right next to the piano, keying off of the soundboard's resonance.

    Thanks for sharing this.


  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New York City

    Re: First JABB attempt !

    Hi Viv -

    I missed the first version of this, but I think the Alto sounds beautiful in this. One - I hope you build on this as I really loved the noirish melody and chords - absolutely beautiful. To really hammer this home, you need a bit more life in your saxophone. I do not have JABB, so unfortunately I cannot assist in a technical manner, but the sax is a bit rigid and doesn't have enough dynamics. Absolutely gorgeous melody, but just needs a more organic feel.

    Stunning beginngs, Viv and I look forward to hearing more.

    - Michael
    - Michael Fortunato

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