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Jazz Sax Lessons: Dynamic Changes: Rippin' & Runnin'

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So, now let's talk about
using dynamics when you play.
For this lesson,
I'm using this chart from the library
of Gordon Gillian's Big Fat Band.
And this tune is Ripping and Running.
I chose this tune partly because I
got the track without me from Gordon.
And for him I am greatly appreciative,
as should you be.
The thing about this particular tune,
especially from
the end of the solo section is that there
are so many different dynamic changes.
And so it's really evident when you listen
to music how important the dynamics are.
And so it is from our side, from the
playing side, it's incredibly important
not only to use dynamics,
but to know how to use them,
and where they come up, and
where the different dynamic changes occur.
So just be super aware as we go
through all of this to make sure
that you're seeing all the different
dynamics, whether it's an actual mark
like the fifth bar after rehearsal number
176 down here, where it says mezzo forte,
or the staff below it, where it
starts at mezzo forte and crescendos.
Where a crescendo begins and
ends is obviously very, very important.
By the time you're looking here at
the bottom of this first page of ours,
it's so small I can barely even see it,
but I believe it says about 185?
That's why I'm wearing my glasses.
You know, at any point on a crescendo
you want to make sure that the composer
definitely wrote the crescendo to
a certain point, meaning that he wanted
the crescendo to be at its maximum at
the point where the crescendo is finished.
And everything else.
So, I want to point all of those
things out after I play it, so
I'm going to play it along.
You got the music there,
you got the lead alto part.
You got the track.
So you're more than welcome to
either play it on your own.
Well, you're more than more than welcome,
you're encouraged.
That's why I got them there for you.
And I would love it if you could
also play along with me too.
And again, like anything else,
this is pretty tricky, this one's not for
the squeamish, so it's going to take it
a little bit of work to get it going.
But you know again for the purposes
of this lesson I really want to make,
you know,
make you aware of all the dynamics and
make sure we're hitting those and
playing them correctly.
Okay, so, just so
you know the track is edited so
that it comes out the solo section and so
the first big indication of where we
are in the music is this big loud lick,
the measure, the pick ups
going into the bar before 176.
I'll count you in, just follow me.
So here we go, Ripping and Running.
Okay, so before I start talking about what
I did there, and the use of dynamics,
I want you to make sure
you take note of the fact that now I got
my mouthpiece cap back on my mouthpiece.
We want to make sure we're protecting
our reed, we're protecting our.
Mouth piece and
by keeping the reed nice and wet.
But, whenever you're not
playing get that cap back on.
It's so often that I see
students just leaving your
reed exposed and
I've seen many a reed crunched.
And I've seen a few mouth pieces smashed
[LAUGH] because it wasn't being protected,
so, mouth piece gap on the horn.
So, with regards to our
[INAUDIBLE] lesson.
In all these, I hope as I was playing,
and as you were playing along,
and as you're playing on your own.
That you're, number one,
hearing the dynamic differences.
From rehearsal number 176 all
the way through to the end.
I didn't count, but there are a large
number of dynamic changes.
And so in certain spots where
you wouldn't expect it either.
For instance, at rehearsal,
two bars after rehearsal number 212,
you have this sforzando in
the middle of this section that
is basically all mezzo piano as indicated
here, so and then it happens here again.
So, and then after that
remember that a sforzando is
a dynamic that's nice and loud.
It's always an accented note,
and then it returns back to
the original dynamic that you were
playing prior to the sforzando.
So you've got three more notes and
suddenly that dynamic changes
from mezzo forte to mezzo piano.
Yeah from mezzo piano to mezzo forte.
So you can hear in the track that
there is a dynamic difference there.
So it's those dynamics that really
makes the music come alive.
Otherwise music is just gonna flatline.
So as a music listener you wanna make sure
that you're paying attention to that.
As a music player,
you want to make sure that you're really
bringing those dynamics that
the composer had in mind to life.
So the accents too,
like down here at this is so
small at 237, these guys.
It's part, an accent in a section that
is marked mezzo forte, for instance.
Take note of this, is gonna be different
than an accent that's in a section
in mezzo piano like these guys up here and
Because they have to be relative.
Just because you see an accent doesn't
mean you hit it super hard at the same
volume as no matter what the dynamic that
the rest of the section is indicated in.
So make sure you're aware of that.
Just be aware that this is
an abbreviation for crescendo.
And so generally, what that means, and
it should always be indicated by at
some point by a dynamic point of
resolution where you're aiming for.
So here, this crescendo it's so
gradual that it would be silly to write
a crescendo like over here at the bottom
of the first page across all this and
all the way to this eventual
dynamic indication of the forte.
So, just be writing crescendo here,
Gordon meant that this entire section
should gradually get louder, and
louder, and louder until he wants
it to finally end up at forte.
Whenever you have something like where I'm
pointing here, the third bar from the end,
it's just a crescendo.
It doesn't say where to start from,
doesn't say where to end up
dynamically at the end of the bar.
But, you just have to
take into consideration
the overall dynamic of the song.
Obviously, if this were like
a really quiet ballad in general,
you wouldn't be ending up at
fortissimo here at the end.
You'd want to keep it relative to
what makes sense from the music.
So this case the song is
obviously quite aggressive.
It's moving in so you wanna start
quiet enough so that you have a nice
crescendo and nice place to start from but
not so quiet that it's inaudible.
The rhythm section is still playing so as
saxophone players we wanna make sure that.
Yeah it's at a good starting point so
we can grow our crescendo here but not so
soft that it's not gonna be
heard over everybody else and
then we're gonna finish up with our last
five marcato notes a nice loud fortissimo.
Great okay so
I hope this is a good indicator for
you of the importance of dynamics.
This is gonna be a fun one to work on.
I'd love it if you would send me
a video of you playing this one and
I mean there's plenty of things here
in my school to read absolutely, but
this is one of the ones where the dynamics
are really the important thing and so
I wouldn't mind in your practice and
hopefully in your eventual
video that you really
exaggerate these dynamics.
They're pretty exaggerated on
the track that you're playing with.
But to bring them out even more so
you just know the difference.
Be aware too that dynamics don't mean that
you're changing your tone necessarily.
A lot of times when we play
louder our sound might get,
I hate to say distorted,
but might get a little bit,
when we play too hard on the saxophone,
sometimes bad things happens.
So don't let your sound get bad,
and especially during a crescendo.
Don't allow your pitch to change either.
So the support here with your
embouchure doesn't change,
it's just a matter of
the speed of your air.
I've mentioned this kind of thing before,
but it bears repeating that the,
your amount or volume of air that
you're creating and that you're driving
through your horn,
creates a sound of the instrument.
That's what's the foundation of our tone.
But it's the speed of that air that
determines our dynamic, loud or soft.
Slower the air, obviously,
the softer you're playing.
So as you're playing louder, or softer.
Don't let anything in
the structure here or the throat or
with your diaphragm change whatsoever.
It's just a matter of speeding or
slowing down the air.
That's how we create our dynamics.
Alright, enjoy working on this one.
I'll look forward to hearing it.
Take it easy.
Have fun.