Major Scale Triads on Saxophone

Written by Greger Hillman, Saxophone teacher and music educator

learning the Major Scale Triads on Saxophone helps you become a more profound saxophone player. It develops both your technique and understanding when it comes to music theory.

Here are a few of my personal favorite Scale Triad exercises that I teach my students. In this example I've written them based on C Major, but this Triad pattern can be used on any Major Scale.

  1. Triad Ascending and Descending:
    • Begin by playing the root note of the C major triad, which is C
    • Follow this by playing the third, which is E, and then the fifth, which is G
    • Now, you've played the triad ascending: C-E-G
    • Next, play the triad in a descending manner: G-E-C
    • Keep your focus on producing a clear and even tone for each note using the correct embouchure
    • Make sure to make the the switch between the fingerings exact and smooth without any “false notes” or “half notes”. Precision is key in order to imrpove your sax skills
    • Repeat the sequence several times focusing on air support, fingerings and your overall sax sound
  2. Rhythmic Variation:
    • Play the C major triad using a rhythmic pattern. For instance, play each note as two eighth notes followed by a quarter note, giving emphasis to the quarter note
    • The pattern will sound like: C-C-E, E-E-G, G-G-E, E-E-C
    • This variation introduces a rhythmic element to your triad practice, aiding in timing, coordination, and musical expression
    • Continue to build on that basic pattern to move through the entire range of your saxophone
    • The extended pattern starting from low C:
      C-C-E, E-E-G, G-G-C, C-C-E, E-E-G, G-G-C, C-C-E

Once you dive deep into practicing Major Triads on your saxophone you'll notice that it opens up your sax sound in a new way compared to the basic Major Scale exercises giving you yeat another tool in your tool belt.

After you've mastered the basic triad exercises you can increase the difficulty level by doing inversions and rhythmic variations to further challenge yourself.

Saxophone teacher online Greger Hillman

Written by Greger Hillman

Greger Hillman is a saxophone teacher with +36 years of experience playing saxophone. 

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