I had asked this question on SaxOnTheWeb a while ago, but I'm still battling with this problem, and it makes certain pieces (like The Beatles' "Come Together") virtually unplayable.
- In case size matters, this is a tenor.
- I started having this problem after a few years of playing saxophone. It had not been an issue beforehand (except, perhaps, during my first 1-2 lessons on a different horn, but back then it was low G and G# splitting/going up).
- This happens on all of my mouthpieces.
- This happens on all my reeds (even more often and pronounced on synthetic).
- Most of the time, slurs from C and C# are involved (both middle and high) or tonguing a few G's/G#'s in succession.
- It doesn't appear to be an issue with the horn itself, as the problem didn't go away after (properly conducted) maintenance.
- I haven't had any major dental or medical work done on the oral cavity, and there haven't been any structural changes from other sources either. The only change I can think of was growing a beard, but it's not like it grows on my lips or inside my mouth.
The only reason I can think of for the problem is a change in embouchure, but I have not been able to qualify it, as it's rather sporadic. Pulling my cheeks in a bit (restricting the width of the airstream inside my mouth) while opening up the throat seems to help most of the time, so does "thinking" of the note before playing it, but I still don't understand why I have to be doing that when everything used to be fine with those 2 notes before.
Having played the instrument without the octave key could be related.
What is going on? Are there any exercises I could do to make sure it never happens? I've been doing everything I can daily, including but not limited to:
- Playing large jumps (2 or more octaves) slurred.
- Playing harmonics on the low-end notes and "matching" proper fingerings with them.
- Playing with and without the octave key.
I'm at my wits' end at this point.