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Fingering Diagrams

The note produced when your fingers are in the following position is known as 'B'. The fingering chart for this is as follows:

B: 1-- | ---

In this fingering diagram, the vertical line in the middle separates the left hand (on the left) from the right hand (on the right). The 1 here represents the first finger of your left hand. The dashes represent the other five fingers, which are not pressed down.

If you try to play along with anybody else, you will find that what you call B is not the same as what they call B. The saxophone has different names for all the notes from the piano, because it is a transposing instrument. Don't worry about this for the moment.

Left Hand Notes

Now it's time for some more notes. The first ones to master are the ones which use only the fingers of the left hand.

C: -2- | ---

The above means that the left-hand second finger is pressed down, but all the others are up.

A: 12- | ---

G: 123 | ---

With these notes, you can play some simple tunes in the key of G. The notes G A B C form a sequence of the major scale: 'do re mi fa'.

Suggested tune:

'Merrily We Roll Along'/'Mary Had a Little Lamb': B A G A B B B, A A A, B B B, B A G A B B B, AABAG

Right Hand Notes

When you are happy with the notes using only the left hand, you can learn some notes using the right hand too.

F#: 123 | -2-

The # sign is called 'sharp' so that F# is called 'F sharp'. It means the note is higher in pitch than F, but since you haven't encountered F yet, don't worry about it for the moment.

E: 123 | 12-

D: 123 | 123

With these new notes, you should be able to play some tunes in the key of D.

Suggested tunes:

'When the Saints Come Marching In': D F# G A, D F# G A, D F# G A F# D F# E, F# F# E D D F# A A G, F# G A F# D E D

'This Old Man, He Played One':

A F# A, A F# A, B A G F# E F# G, F# G A D D D, D E F# G A, A E E G F# E D

'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star': D D A A B B D, G G F# F# E E D A A G G F# F# E, A A G G F# F# E, D D A A B B D, G G F# F# E E D

'Oh Susannah': D E F# A A B A F# D E F# F# E D E D E F# A A B A F# D E F# F# E E D G G B B, A A F# D E D E F# A A B A F# D E F# F# E E D

The Octave Key

You are still somewhat limited in what you can play, because you don't know enough notes yet. The next stage is to add some higher notes. The D you have been playing up to now is called 'first octave D'. It is played with all six fingers down. You are now going to play second octave D.

Beside your left thumb you will see a curved metal key called the octave key. You should position your thumb so that the end of it is sticking out slightly beyond the thumb rest and is over the octave key. You can press the octave key by rocking your thumb slightly. It only needs to be pressed a small amount. You do not lift your thumb off the thumbrest for this.

Play a D, then press the octave key. The note should jump upwards an octave to 2nd octave D. It will still be recognisably the same note but higher up. The fingering diagram for this uses 'T' to show that the thumb has pressed the octave key. There is also a little tick beside the name of the note to show it is in the second octave:

D': T 123 | 123

'Amazing Grace': D G B A G B, A G E D, D G B A G B, A B D', D' D' B A G B, A G E D, D G B A G B, A G.