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It's not a slur because it doesn't connect to any other notes, so what is it?

2 Answers 2


It's called a fall. It's sort of like a glissando; it means to bend the note downward. Searching YouTube for "saxophone fall demonstration" will provide tutorials for how to do it and what it sounds like.

  • Also sometimes found in vocal music.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 20:40
  • 1
    Ideally it's a portamento (continuous pitch change) rather than a glissando (discrete pitches, like doing a smear on a piano keyboard). Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 11:57

Since you're asking specifically about sax: yes, it's a fall. But what's a fall consist of? A few bits and pieces. the most effective isn't just falling from the note shown, but playing that note, then slurring to the note above - a semitone or tone, depending on where you are works best.

A rough chromatic scale downwards is good, rather than just the diatonic scale notes, down to an octave below the written note. Fingering sometimes prohibits this, so a couple can be missed out - after al, the fall is so fast, no-one will hear!

The other factor is that the fall is a decrescendo, going from the note above the written one down to the lowest played, which will be hardly audible. Like you've run out of breath. In the example shown, the note value is a crotchet - a quarter note - we don't see what follows, but the fall shouldn't last longer than that crotchet anyway. At which point the player will probably need to inhale for the next phrase - a fall often comes at the end of a phrase.

  • (not the DV) Slurring above?
    – Tom
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 15:44
  • @Tom - slurring the note played, the note above, and every note on the way down - one breath.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 7:10
  • I'll never learn how to produce a good answer if the downvoters don't tell me what I'm doing wrong.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 16:00

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