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Repetoire Duo Saxophone & Horn


Maarten Bauer
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Hi all,

Since this year I am doing the pre-study of the conservatory. For the people who do not know yet: I play alto (and soprano) saxophone (classical).
I met a hornist of the same age and we can get along with each other very well. We decided to form a duo. Until now I have transcripted (or transposed at sight) all our music (Mozart Horn Duets, Bach Inventions, Otto Nicolai duets etc.). 

The problem is that, although saxophone works ''fine'' replacing a horn, it is not comfortable to play music that is not originally written for this special duo. 
My question is if you know some saxophone (preferably alto) & horn duo repetoire. If so, please tell me the composer and title of the composition! 

We are both receptive to new compositions, so feel free to write for us. (Please post in the Upload Section).

Kind regards,

Maarten

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Hello,

Some guidelines for writing for saxophone would be helpful, since you have already mentioned that "although saxophone works ''fine'' replacing a horn, it is not comfortable to play music that is not originally written for this special duo".  Perhaps you can mention in what way it is not comfortable. Is it an issue of actual playing (perhaps the limitations of the saxophone), or more a psychological discomfort that the piece you are playing is not specifically composed for saxophone?

Regarding the horn, what type of horn is it? Wikipedia says " The double horn in F/B (technically a variety of German horn) is the horn most often used by players in professional orchestras and bands." That still does not single out one type. And my Sibelius program lists more than twenty different types of horn.

 

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2 hours ago, luderart said:

Hello,

Some guidelines for writing for saxophone would be helpful, since you have already mentioned that "although saxophone works ''fine'' replacing a horn, it is not comfortable to play music that is not originally written for this special duo".  Perhaps you can mention in what way it is not comfortable. Is it an issue of actual playing (perhaps the limitations of the saxophone), or more a psychological discomfort that the piece you are playing is not specifically composed for saxophone?

Regarding the horn, what type of horn is it? Wikipedia says " The double horn in F/B (technically a variety of German horn) is the horn most often used by players in professional orchestras and bands." That still does not single out one type. And my Sibelius program lists more than twenty different types of horn.

 

 

Hi Luderart, 

Thank you for your response.
Comfortable as in: The music is not written for the saxophone, so there are many technique issues that cannot be solved (for example awkward jumps of intervals bigger than an octave). It is furthermore almost depressing to always play music that is not written for your instrument. 

If you mean the characteristics of the saxophone with ''guidelines'', this is the basis. I hope this helps.

  • Transposes in Eb (minor third lower)
  • Range: Written: Bb below staff --> F#** above staff.
  • The instrument has the agility of the flute and the dynamic variance of the clarinet.
  • Bends well with brass (horn) and woodwinds.
  • The saxophone's register can be divided in three parts:
  1. Low register: (Bb - G). Very rich and full sound. Hard to play pp.
  2. Middel register: (A - C**). Smooth and delicate. Sounds very horn-like. Alle dynamics can be played.
  3. High register: (D - F#**). Bright and clear. More generic-sounding. Intonation can be a problem.

The type of horn is the horn in F, the most common one in these days.

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Just googling around a little, I've managed to find a few examples, although I have no idea if the music is of any quality. It is a somewhat unusual duet, so there don't seem to be any "important" pieces for it yet. I may try to write something for you, if I can manage it.

http://www.jwpepper.com/5878376.item#.WHvbTRsrKUk

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/dark-passage-duet-for-alto-saxophone-and-f-horn-digital-sheet-music/19816011

Arrangements: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Saxophone+French+Horn+duet

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Thanks Maarten for your clarifications and guidelines, I was working on a piece using the Bb Horn. So I changed to the Horn in F. Fortunately there were no notes that didn't fit.

Do the characteristics of the saxophone that you give apply to the Alto saxophone or the Soprano (I assume it's the former)? I am asking since I am composing for the Alto Saxophone and the characteristics you gave don't seem to apply (insofar as the Sibelius program handles the change to the transposing score: the transposing score for middle C is showing it as the A above it, i.e. a minor third lower but in the octave above. Is this correct?). To avoid any confusion, I would like to ask you also for the concert pitch range (not the written as you have provided).

 

 

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18 hours ago, fishyfry said:

Just googling around a little, I've managed to find a few examples, although I have no idea if the music is of any quality. It is a somewhat unusual duet, so there don't seem to be any "important" pieces for it yet. I may try to write something for you, if I can manage it.

http://www.jwpepper.com/5878376.item#.WHvbTRsrKUk

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/dark-passage-duet-for-alto-saxophone-and-f-horn-digital-sheet-music/19816011

Arrangements: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Saxophone+French+Horn+duet

Thank you! 
I will take a look at the links.

Writing for me (us) will be very appreciated. If you will, please upload it in the Upload Section, so that we can try to play it and, if needed, give you feedback.

17 hours ago, luderart said:

Thanks Maarten for your clarifications and guidelines, I was working on a piece using the Bb Horn. So I changed to the Horn in F. Fortunately there were no notes that didn't fit.

Do the characteristics of the saxophone that you give apply to the Alto saxophone or the Soprano (I assume it's the former)? I am asking since I am composing for the Alto Saxophone and the characteristics you gave don't seem to apply (insofar as the Sibelius program handles the change to the transposing score: the transposing score for middle C is showing it as the A above it, i.e. a minor third lower but in the octave above. Is this correct?). To avoid any confusion, I would like to ask you also for the concert pitch range (not the written as you have provided).

You are welcome. I made a mistake: the alto saxophone sounds a major sixth lower... I am really sorry. Here is some information about transposing.

The ranges of all saxophones are written the same. However, the Baritone saxophone, can play a low A to be able to replace the cello in an arrangement from string quartet to saxophone quartet.

Actually the transposing system is quite simple, when comparing it with the clarinets and horn: Saxophone are transposing in either Bb or Eb. The most common species are from high to lower (Wikipedia, n.d.):

# Saxophone Key Sounds an octave lower than Sounds an octave higher than
1 Sopranissimo B ## Soprano
2 Sopranino E ## Alto
3 Soprano B Sopranissimo Tenor
4 Alto E Sopranino Baritone
5 Tenor B Soprano Bass
6 Baritone E Alto Contrabass
7 Bass B Tenor Subcontrabass
8 Contrabass E Baritone ##
9 Subcontrabass B Bass ##

The ranges of saxophones at concert pitch are different. 
With this table I only have to give you the range of one Bb instrument and one Eb instrument, because you automatically know the ranges of the other instrument (octave higher / lower):
See the attachments for sounding range of the soprano and alto saxophone:

I hope you understand it. I know, it is a lot information.

Kind regards and good luck!

Maarten

Saxophone soprano.JPG

Saxophone alto.JPG

Edited by Maarten Bauer
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Hi Maarten,

Here is the set of three short pieces that I composed in response to your call. I hope that you and your friend will like them and perform them. Certainly your opinion as well as that of your friend's will be appreciated. And it would be great to hear a recording of both of you performing them!

http://www.youngcomposers.com/t34646/three-sententiae-for-saxophone-and-horn-op-289/

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18 minutes ago, luderart said:

Hi Maarten,

Here is the set of three short pieces that I composed in response to your call. I hope that you and your friend will like them and perform them. Certainly your opinion as well as that of your friend's will be appreciated. And it would be great to hear a recording of both of you performing them!

http://www.youngcomposers.com/t34646/three-sententiae-for-saxophone-and-horn-op-289/

 

Thank you very much!

When we have practiced the pieces, we will certainly record them (although we do not have such a good recording apparature).

Thanks again. See your post for more information and feedback.

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On 19-1-2017 at 3:43 AM, pateceramics said:

I've got no ideas for duets unfortunately, but here's a kid I know, performing sax at her senior recital at Connecticut College.  She's off studying for her master's now.  There might be some solo repertoire pieces in here you want to try.  (:  For the duets... time to start writing?

http://www.emilyannevk.com/sounds

 

Thank you for the link. Very interesting! However, I have enough solo repetoire to play.

I am already planning to compose some music for this duet, but first I want to finish some other works.

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