Alto Sax Fingerings vs. Clarinet Fingerings

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The fingering positions for the alto sax versus those of the clarinet have both similarities and differences. Learn about alto sax fingerings versus clarinet fingerings with help from a saxophonist in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: How to Play the Saxophone
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Video Transcript

My name is Mike Eyia. I am a saxophonist based in Los Angeles. I also play woodwinds. I play clarinet and flute and I perform all around LA as well as on the road and in the studio on sax, flute and clarinet. Today we're going to talk a little bit about the difference between clarinet fingerings and saxophone fingerings. On the clarinet if you want to finger a low C you'd put these three fingers down like this and instead of just being able to press an octave key in the back like you can on the saxophone it's a little bit different. So to go from a low C you actually have a totally different fingering for high C which is fingered like this. So it's a little bit different on the clarinet. You also have to make sure that you cover all these tone holes completely with your fingers. If there's anything not covered all the way like that, you will squeak. So you've got to make sure that you cover all the notes completely with your fingers. On the saxophone it's much more simple. All you have to do, press the buttons. If you want to play a low G on the sax use these three, one, two, three. If you want to make that jump up an octave you can just hit the octave key right here in the back with your thumb. It's as simple as that. So it's actually much easier to play in octaves on the saxophone than it is on the clarinet. Clarinets are much more difficult to get used to. Another thing to consider is with a clarinet you have to cover the tone holes completely. On the sax you just press a key and with a clarinet you need to cover these holes completely with your fingers or else you'll squeak. My name is Mike Eyia and that is comparing alto sax fingerings to the clarinet fingerings.

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