BC405 - Sax Expression using Dynamics

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Posted by Daniel Christian on 21 Mar 11:44

In this free online saxophone video lesson Dan shows you how to play Saxophone with expression by implementing dynamics into your playing.  

She's gonna blow cappin'!!  - Using Dynamics on Saxophone

Dynamics (or Volume) on the Saxophone are something that are going to make you sound really effective on the saxophone.  They provide emotion, attitude, power and expression - when used correctly.


I like to think of dynamics on a Scale with Loud being at the top, Moderately Loud below that, Moderately soft a little below that and Soft being at the bottom leaving a little room for maneuver at the extremes for Very Loud and Very Soft.  

We use Italian Terms for Dynamics in music namely:

Piano - Soft

Mezzo Piano - Moderately Soft

Mezzo Forte - Moderately Loud

Forte - Loud

Crescendo - Getting gradually louder

Diminuendo - Getting gradually Softer

with the extremes being Pianissimo - Very Soft and Fortissimo - Very Loud

Ain't no change in volume yet... Exercise 1

Lets take Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine when she's gone from Saxophone Beginners Course Lesson BC108.

Play the opening at mf(mezzo forte/quite loud) then try the response at piano and see what difference this makes.  You should hear a sort of call and response between the two parts.

Exercise 2 - Air to Infinity

Start a note, lets say B, and blow only air.  

Secondly, squeeze and blow slightly harder as you do a "crescendo" to as loud as you can. Then come back down and finish with air again.  This saxophone exercise will improve your intonation, control, technique and sound.  Try this on other notes - can you do it on low C?

Exercise 3

Take your scales on Saxophone and experiment with starting them softly and growing to loud by the time you reach the peak, then come back down the other way.  Try the opposite way around too.  Or 4 notes loud 4 notes soft.  

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