Are you interested in learning how to play Careless Whisper on the saxophone? Look no further, we got you covered. This article will teach you how to play Careless Whisper on your sax!
Why Is Careless Whisper Such a Popular Saxophone Piece?
George Michael took the 80s by storm upon releasing his alto masterpiece Careless Whisper. The song quickly rose on charts and became an all-time favourite, its legacy continues even to this day.
Many components gave this song the success level it has, and below are a few reasons why Careless Whisper is so popular.
- The saxophone riff gives this song an instant groove. To this day, many songs fail to capture the kind of groove that Careless Whisper has.
- The hook is catchy, and one of the key components of having a good song is having a memorable hook.
- Careless Whisper is a mood setter, especially great for people who are looking to create a romantic atmosphere for their special someone.
- The song arrangement is very well-thought, the production goes extremely well with George Michael’s soft tone of voice.
- Careless Whisper isn’t your average romantic tune. When you take a closer look at the lyrics, you will see that this song is actually about cheating and the remorse it brings.
The song is in a minor key, giving it the element of romance that makes all the listeners swoon.
How Does Playing Careless Whisper on the Saxophone Compare to Other Instruments?
The Careless Whisper chord progression is fairly easy, allowing it to be played across various instruments. You can find a comparison table below to see how it’s different for each.
[table id=20 /]
As you can see from the comparison table, learning Careless Whisper on the saxophone is easy. There are a few chords and fingering patterns that you are going to need to get used to, other than that, you should be fine.
How Was the Saxophone Solo in Careless Whisper Created?
We’ve talked about how Careless Whisper is a uniquely amazing song that’s also very easy to learn on the saxophone. Now let’s go a step further and learn how this solo was created!
Being a pop star on the road is never easy, you have to think on your feet and do all your songwriting in unlikely places like a bus, which is where George Michael wrote the sax line.
The late pop star claimed that the sax line just came to him while he was on a bus and handing money over to the person in charge. He waited for the guy to move away and continued to write.
It was on that very bus ride that Careless Whisper was completed.
How Steve Gregory Got the Sax Solo in Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper was George Michael’s first solo single, and even though he had been in the industry for a while with his lead role in the boy band Wham! — he had some learning to do.
Working as a solo artist was more different than being in a boy band and making collective decisions. Which is why it took George Michael 10 auditions with sax players to find the one.
In the end, Steve Gregory was selected thanks to his ability to hit so many notes in one breath. He was playing so fast that the sound engineer, Chris Porter, had to slow the tape.
With the help of our lessons, you can become a speedy saxophonist too! Get in touch with us for more info!
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The Importance of Minor Keys in Careless Whisper
Minor keys are used to build up the emotional value of a song, which is what we see here.
Breaking Careless Whisper Down Into Two Parts
Careless Whisper is easy for many reasons, but one of the most prominent reasons why is that it can be broken down into two simple parts.
These are the arpeggios and the Phrygian mode. Let’s go over them together!
Careless Whisper Arpeggios
There are four phrases in Careless Whisper, but we can categorise them under two parts. The first part encompasses the first three phrases. These phrases are made up of arpeggios.
An arpeggio occurs when you break a chord into notes and play these notes one at a time.
You can find a list of the arpeggios for each of the three phases below.
- Phase one arpeggios: D, F, A, C, and E (Dm9)
- Phase two arpeggios: G, B-flat, D, F, A, C (Gm11)
- Phase three arpeggios: B-flat, D, F, and A (B♭maj7)
Careless Whisper Phrygian Mode
Phrygian Mode is represented by the diatonic scale in its natural form.
It contains the following: minor 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th.
This means that you will be playing A, B-flat, C, D, E, F, G, and A. The Phrygian mode has a half-step interval that makes the tune sound so magical.
How to Play the First Phrase of Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper is on the B minor scale, so you can expect to see lots of F sharps and C sharps.
You’ll first encounter a big run-up that ends with a high C-sharp. This might remind some of you of the D Minor scale.
But there’s a twist to this little scale.
It goes, D, E, F sharp, G, A, A sharp, B, C, C sharp.
So it’s reminiscent of a scale but also has a chromatic twist at the end to mix things up a bit.
To recap that, you’ll be playing D, E, F, G, A, A sharp (or B flat), B, C natural, and C sharp. The faster you go, the better.
How to Play the Second Phrase of Careless Whisper
This half might take some practice. But soon, you’ll be able to get to C sharp without hassle.
The first half of the melody opens with a C sharp, followed by B, F sharp, D, C sharp, B, F sharp, and D.
Let’s put it together with the run-up
How to Play the Third Phrase of Careless Whisper
The second section follows a similar pattern, this time, starting on A.
So you’ll be playing A, G, D, B, A, G D.
Followed by the third phrase, starting on G.
The chord progression will be G, F sharp, D, B, G.
How to Play the Final Phrase of Careless Whisper
The fourth phrase looks like a rising scale at first glance: F sharp, G, A, B, C sharp, D, E, F Sharp.
After completing this section, you will be done with the first half of the solo. Try to play it all together. You might need to do this for a few times to get in the swing of things, but be patient.
How to Play the Second Half of the Careless Whisper Sax Solo
The latter half of Careless Whisper is almost identical to the former half. You have two options, you can either run a scale from F sharp to C sharp or play B, C and C sharp for a quicker alternative.
Then you’re going to repeat the melody section again.
C sharp, B, F sharp, D, C sharp, B, F sharp, D
A, G, D, B, A, G D.
G, F sharp, D, B, G.
Then you go back to the longer scale, starting on F sharp: F sharp, G, A, B, C sharp, D, E, F Sharp.
This time, you will be switching up the last note. You’ll be finishing on a B. So it’s time to do a little run-up to the B using A, A sharp (or B flat), then B.
Once you get the hang of each section individually, you’ll be ready to put them all together!
You can access the Careless Whisper sheet music alto sax right here and start practising now!
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