Saxophone Transcriptions for Improvised Jazz

Using saxophone transcriptions is a method that is useful in learning to play jazz music on the sax. Jazz, of course, is a style of music that is characterized by improvisation. That is, the performer invents the tune more or less while he or she plays. A transcription is a written record of the improvised part. A sax player can buy transcriptions of solos played by famous saxophonists, or he can listen to recordings and attempt to write the transcriptions himself.

Beginning jazz musicians need to listen to a lot of jazz music, and it is particularly helpful if they choose a favorite performer to emulate. Writing sax transcriptions from recordings is challenging, but can be a very useful step in learning how to improvise. This may seem like "copying" another musician, which might seem to be at odds with the whole idea of jazz as showcasing the individual's style and artistry. However, a beginner can learn more listening to and studying his favorite players than he can simply trying to improvise.

Here are a few sites you can check out for free saxophone transcriptions:

  1. CharlesMcNeal.com
  2. ScoobySax.com
  3. MichaelBreckerLiveRecordings.com 

Improvisation is an art and a skill that takes years to master. Trying to duplicate the style of a master jazz saxophonist can only improve one's playing. When new players learn a few of these solos from transcriptions, preferably by heart, they can begin to branch out into making up their own improvisations.

Saxophone music makes it possible to nail down these great solos. Written jazz transcriptions can be purchased from music stores, and in some cases they can be downloaded free online. If a beginner listens carefully, trying to imitate the inflections, dynamics, and articulation of a great solo, he or she will be well on their way to learning the challenging skill of playing the jazz saxophone. Taking the time to write down sax transcriptions is a great way to learn.

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