Marcel Mule

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Marcel Mule

Marcel Mule (Aube, Normandy, June 24, 1901 – Hyères, Var, Toulon, December 18, 2001) was a classical saxophonist, soloist and French pedagogue, generator of the modern saxophone .

Composer of many basic pieces that are part of the repertoire of the classical saxophone, was instrumental in the development of this instrument. He is considered the founder of the French saxophone school and the most representative soloist of his time. He achieved a very high technique and prestige in his practice. Mule managed to finish the old vulgarity of the saxophone, turning it into an instrument with its own attributes, incorporating the vibrato and making it evolve.

Marcel Mule’s Biography

His father learned to play the sax while practicing military service and became director of the music band of Beaumont-le-Roger. At a time when Paris lacked saxophone teachers, having contact with music bands was the only way to access learning an instrument. His father introduced him to saxophone at the age of eight, in addition to violin and piano. He also taught him to play with a flat tone, without vibrato; that was the custom of that time. He graduated with the violinist Gabriel Willaume which was his greatest exponent, “who will have a huge influence on my musical learning”, and he worked “musical literature with the remarkable professor of the Paris Conservatory, Georges Caussade”. Although he demonstrated his musical skills daily, encouraged by his father, Marcel chose a professional career and enrolled as a teacher at École Normale de Évreux. He served only for six months before being called for military service. The First World War brought Marcel to Paris to serve with the Fifth Infantry. There he went back to music, playing in the regimental military band in 1921. During his stay in Paris, he continued his music studies in harmony, piano and violin.

When he finished his military career he devoted himself completely to music. In 1923, he joined the Music Band of the Republican Guard, of which he would be a soloist until 1936. He completed an exam to become a member; He became known for his beautiful sound, and became the saxophone soloist at the Garde, he began to be required to play in concerts with orchestras and also in the Opéra-Comique orchestra (although almost exclusively for Massenet’s Werther , since this was the only opera in the repertoire that asked for a saxophone for orchestra). It was during this period that he performed frequently with modern dance orchestras, and where his exposure to American jazz bands, with his vibrato treatment, inspired him to experiment and develop his classic saxophone vibrato brand. Musicalized films, and fashionable dance orchestras or, eventually, Opera and in Comic Opera.

Marcel Mule used to play without using vibrato in the theater as in symphonic orchestras; contrary to the dance orchestras in which he used. It was in the 1928-1929 season, when the ballet composer Édouard l’Enfant, proposed “to play solo with the vibrato that I had heard in jazz”. Suspicious, Marcel Mule accepted the proposal, enthused by his success and by the musicians of the orchestra. At the age of thirty-four he gave his first solo concert with orchestra; in the concerts of Pasdeloup, directed by Albert Wolf, he played the first audition of the Concerto de Pierre Vellones.

More Facts about Marcel Mule

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