If you love the sound of saxophone tunes and want to learn how to incorporate growling into your playing, this blog post is for you! The saxophone can be a versatile instrument that allows players to make interesting noises with simple techniques.
For many saxophone players, expressing their emotions through the instrument is difficult. To unleash your inner musician and show off your skills on the sax, mastering the art of growling can add an extra level of expression to your playing.
Whether you’re trying to cue in an audience or take them on a rollercoaster ride that captures all your feelings, deep-toned bent notes provide countless opportunities for exploration.
In this post, we’ll explore how to growl on sax and how it can bring some exciting new layers to jazz improvisations – so buckle up and let’s start revving up those horns!
What is Saxophone Growling?
Saxophone growling is a vocal-like sound created with the vocal cords on an alto saxophone. To achieve this effect, the saxophonist must use a flutter tongue to produce airy vocal-like sounds that are the same pitch as spoken words.
The mouth plays an important role when creating this growling effect because humming and singing to a certain pitch while playing the saxophone produce a unique sound that can be heard on any saxophone, particularly in the alto sax.
This technique creates a natural distortion pedal, giving it a unique vocal-type growling sound. Saxophone players can also experiment with vibrato and articulation to create different tones and effects. Growling adds another dynamic vocal layer to jazz music and has become an iconic part of the genre’s sound.
Why Do Sax Players Love To Add Growl To Their Sax Performance?
Saxophone players have been incorporating growl into their playing for centuries, as this technique adds great depth and texture to their sound. Although the exact origin of this powerful effect is unknown, some believe that it may have come from jazz musicians seeking ways to add dynamic contrast to their music.
5 Techniques To Enable Growl Sound On Saxophone
Growling on the saxophone can add a new dimension to your playing. Whether you’re looking for a unique jazz sound or want to add some growls and swells to rock or funk tunes, this technique will give you plenty of options. So here are the five simple techniques to enable a growling sound on the sax.
1.) Tonguing Slowly
This is the most basic technique for growling on the saxophone. To start, ensure your reed is nice and wet to vibrate more easily. Then, use your tongue to slowly articulate each note as you play it.
The slower you tongue each note, the more pronounced the growling effect will be. This technique works best with long notes, so use it in legato passages whenever possible.
Overblowing is another great way to get a growling sound on the saxophone. To do it, start by playing a note at a comfortable volume level and then gradually increase the pressure of your lips while sustaining the note.
You should hear an increase in volume followed by a buzzy tone as soon as you overblow past the instrument’s normal range. Experiment with various amounts of air pressure and see what kind of sound you can get!
Vibrato can create subtle growling effects on any wind instrument, including the saxophone. Move your lower lip in small circles around your mouthpiece while sustaining a single note.
Make sure not to move too quickly; otherwise, you may sound like an asthmatic duck! With enough practice, vibrato can add interesting complexity and emotion to your playing without sacrificing control over intonation or dynamics.
4.) Alternate Fingerings
When playing certain notes on the saxophone (especially higher notes), it’s possible to produce different sounds by using alternate fingerings instead of open-note fingerings – that is, fingerings that don’t involve pressing down any keys at all.
Using these alternate fingerings while also adding air pressure from your lungs as you play each note makes it possible to create subtle yet effective growls in specific spots throughout your music.
5.) Tongue Slurs
These are another great way to get a growling sound on saxophone – especially if you’re looking for something more intense than vibrato or alternate fingerings can provide.
With tongue slurs, start by articulating each note with your tongue (as if you were tonguing slowly). Then, quickly transition into slurring between notes instead of articulating them one by one with your tongue again and again. Again, experiment with different amounts of air pressure until you find what works for you!
Growling can effectively add character and depth to any style of music – whether jazz or rock – when played correctly on the saxophone! We hope these five simple techniques have given you some inspiration for how to incorporate growls into your playing style in creative ways!
With enough practice and experimentation, who knows what kinds of unique sounds and textures could come out? So don’t be afraid – just let go and have fun exploring all that growls offer!
For more tricks and tips on how to improve your saxophone playing, be sure to check out Sax School Online. We offer a variety of lessons and courses that can help take your playing to the next level. Visit our website today for more information.