#72 How To Play Us And Them (Pink Floyd) On Sax

sax hall of fame May 31, 2020


Us And Them by Pink Floyd is a song that I'm constantly being asked to cover on Get Your Sax Together. Quite simply it's one of the most iconic and famous sax tracks of all time. However, it's almost eight minutes long! After a lot of thought I decided just to throw all my chips on the table and breakdown ALL the solo sections that Dick Parry plays through the whole song, although I can't deny, I spent the next two weeks of work regretting that decision! lol

Although the original is on tenor, the free PDF sheet music for Us And Them has all the notes for alto and tenor sax. Also, I'm constantly being asked for the backing tracks for my videos, so this week you can play along with the Us And Them backing tracks!

Here are the Q&A topics covered in this lesson, with video time stamps (min:sec). Clicking on the time stamp will take you straight to that portion of the video on YouTube (in a separate tab). Full Time stamps for the video and a complete transcript are at the bottom of the blog.


Who plays the sax solo on "Us And Them" by Pink Floyd? (0:51)

  • the tenor sax solo on Us And Them is played by Englishman Dick Parry
  • Dick Parry is a long time friend of Pink Floyd band member David Gilmour


What sax is used for the solo on Us And Them by Pink Floyd?

  • the solo on Us And Them is played on tenor sax by Dick Parry


What key is Pink Floyd's Us And Them in?

  • Us And Them is in concert D major, which is E major for tenor sax and B major for alto


What are the chords for Pink Floyd's Us And Them?

  • in concert pitch, the verse chords are Dadd2, D6, Dmin/maj 7 (or A+/D) and G/D
  • in tenor sax pitch the verse chords are Eadd2, E6, Emin/maj 7 (or B+/E) and A/D
  • in alto sax pitch the verse chords are Badd2, B6, Bmin/maj 7 (or F#+/B) and E/B
  • in concert pitch the chorus chords are Bm, Gmaj7, C
  • in tenor sax pitch the chorus chords are C#m, Amaj7, D
  • in alto sax pitch the chorus chords are G#m, Emaj7, A


What are the alto or tenor sax notes for the solo on Us And Them by Pink Floyd? (4:06)

I've broken the whole track into the separate solos. For full details go to the free PDF sheet music for Us And Them. (* means second octave,** means third octave, - means low note, __ means a held note)

Intro Solo (6:51)

  • Intro solo - phrase 1 tenor (4:06): E  B  B__E  F#  G#  A B  B__B__G# B  B  C#  B  B C#___
  • Intro solo - phrase 2 tenor (4:39): E___C#__G#  E  G#__E
  • Intro solo - phrase 3 tenor (5:04): G__G__G__D#__B-___
  • Intro solo - phrase 4 tenor (5:24): D#  G  B  G*  G*  D#*  B  B__
  • Intro solo - phrase 5 tenor (5:41): A  C#__E*__
  • Intro solo - phrase 6 tenor (6:08): A  C#  E*  G#*__F#*  E*  B*__G#*  E*  B  G#__D#*__G#*___


  • Intro solo - phrase 1 alto (4:06): B  F#  F#__B  C#  D#  E  F#  F#__F#__D#  F#  F#  G#  F#  F#  G#___
  • Intro solo - phrase 2 alto (4:39): B-___G#__D#  B-  D#__B-
  • Intro solo - phrase 3 alto (5:04): D*__D*__D*__A#__F#___
  • Intro solo - phrase 4 alto (5:24): A#-  D  F#  D*  D*  A#  F#  F#__
  • Intro solo - phrase 5 alto (5:41): E  G#__B__
  • Intro solo - phrase 6 alto (6:08): E  G#  B  D#*__C#  B  F#*__D#*  B  F#  D#__A#__D#___


Fill 1 (8:50)

  • Fill 1 - phrase 1 tenor (8:13): C#*  (C#)  C#*  A*  A*  A*__E*__C#  A  A  B___D#*___
  • Fill 1 - phrase 2 tenor (8:31): B  D#*  G#*__G#*__D#*  E*  F#*__D#*__B___


  • Fill 1 - phrase 1 alto (8:13): G#*  (G#)  G#*  E*  E*  E*__B__G#  E  E  F#___A#___
  • Fill 1 - phrase 2 alto (8:31): F#  A#  D#*__D#*__A#  B  C#__A#__F#___


Fill 2 (9:58)

  • Fill 2 - phrase 1 tenor (9:26): C#  E*___
  • Fill 2 - phrase 2 tenor (9:36): C#  E*  G#*__F#*  E*  C#  B___B*___D#**  B*__G#*___


  • Fill 2 - phrase 1 alto (9:26): G#  B___
  • Fill 2 - phrase 2 alto (9:36): G#  B  D#*__C#  B  G#  F#___F#*___A#*  F#*__D#*___


Fill 3 (11:16)

  • Fill 3 - phrase 1 tenor (10:29): C#  E*  C#__B  C#  D#*  E*___
  • Fill 3 - phrase 2 tenor (10:41): C#  E*  F#*  G#*__F#*  B___E*___B*___
  • Fill 3 - phrase 3 tenor (10:58): B  E*  F#*  G#*  B*  D#**__B*  B*__G#*  G#*__E*


  • Fill 3 - phrase 1 alto (10:29): G#  B  G#__F#  G#  A#  B___
  • Fill 3 - phrase 2 alto (10:41): G#  B  C#  D#*__C#  F#___B___F#*___
  • Fill 3 - phrase 3 alto (10:58): F#  B  C#  D#*  F#*  A#*__F#*  F#*__D#*  D#*__B


Main Solo (16:35)

  • Main solo - phrase 1 tenor (11:55): B*__G#*__E*  G#*  B*  C#*  B*__G#*  B*  G#*  E*
  • Main solo - phrase 2 tenor (12:19): C#*__E**  E**  C#*  G#*  B*  C#*  B*  G#*__E*  F#*  G#*-G#*-F#*  E*  C#  B__
  • Main solo - phrase 3 tenor (12:48): C#  D#* D#* D#*__G*__D#*  G*__B*__D#**  B*  B*  G*  G*  D#*  D#*  C#  B  C#__
  • Main solo - phrase 4 tenor (13:09): C#  E*  F#*__C#  E*  G#*__E*  F#*  G#*  A*__B*  C#*  D#**  C#*  E**___B*___G#*___
  • Main solo - phrase 5 tenor (13:53): E*__B___G#  A  B  C#  D#*  E*  F#*  G#*  A*  B*  C#*  D#**  E**__C#*__G#*  B*  G#*  E*
  • Main solo - phrase 6 tenor (14:20): E*  B*  B*   C#*  C#*  D#*  E**  E**  E**  E**  E**  E**  C#*__G#*  G#*__
  • Main solo - phrase 7 tenor (14:51): E* F#* G#*  G#*__F#*__E*  F#*  F#*__E*  F#*__E*  F#*  F#*  F#*  F#*  E*
  • Main solo - phrase 8 tenor (15:40): C#*/E** [Trill]__E**  C#*  C#*  E**  C#*  B*  B*  C#*  E**__C#*
  • Main solo - phrase 9 tenor (16:10): C#*__B*  B*  G#*  G#*  E*  F#*  G#*__E*  F#*  G#*  F#*___


  • Main solo - phrase 1 alto (11:55): F#*__D#*__B  D#*  F#*  G#*  F#*__D#*  F#*  D#*  B
  • Main solo - phrase 2 alto (12:19): G#*__B*  B*  G#*  D#*  F#*  G#*  F#*  D#*__B  C#*  D#*-D#*-C#  B  G#  F#__
  • Main solo - phrase 3 alto (12:48): G#  A# A# A#__D*__A#  D*__F#*__A#*  F#*  F#*  D*  D*  A#  A#  G#  F#  G#__
  • Main solo - phrase 4 alto (13:09): G#  B  C#__G#  B  D#*__B  C#  D#*  E*__F#*  G#*  A#*  G#*  B*___F#*___D#*___
  • Main solo - phrase 5 alto (13:53): B__F#___D#  E  F#  G#  A#  B  C#  D#*  E*  F#*  G#*  A#*  B*__G#*__D#*  F#*  D#*  B
  • Main solo - phrase 6 alto (14:20): B  F#*  F#*   G#*  G#*  A#*  B*  B*  B*  B*  B*  B*  G#*__D#*  D#*__
  • Main solo - phrase 7 alto (14:51): B C# D#*  D#*__C#__B  C#  C#__B  C#__B  C#  C#  C#  C#  B
  • Main solo - phrase 8 alto (15:40): G#*/B* [Trill]__B*  G#*  G#*  B*  G#*  F#*  F#*  G#*  B*__G#*
  • Main solo - phrase 9 alto (16:10): G#*__F#*  F#*  D#*  D#*  B  C#  D#*__B  C#  D#*  C#___


Fill 4 (19:20)

  • Fill 4 - phrase 1 tenor (18:01): B  B  B__F#  B___
  • Fill 4 - phrase 2 tenor (18:12): E*__F#*__G#*  E*  F#*  G#*__F#*  E*  C#  E*  F#*  C#__
  • Fill 4 - phrase 3 tenor (18:37): C#  D#*  E*__F#*__G#*__B*__G#*  B*  B*__
  • Fill 4 - phrase 4 tenor (19:00): D#**  D#**__B*  B*  B*___G#*___


  • Fill 4 - phrase 1 alto (18:01): F#  F#  F#__C#  F#___
  • Fill 4 - phrase 2 alto (18:12): B__C#__D#*  B  C#  D#*__C#  B  G#  B  C#  G#__
  • Fill 4 - phrase 3 alto (18:37): G#  A#  B*__C#__D#*__F#*__D#*  F#*  F#*__
  • Fill 4 - phrase 4 alto (19:00): #A*  A#*__F#*  F#*  F#*___D#*___


Is it easy to play the Us And Them sax solo?

  • most of Us And Them is fairly easy, but it goes quite low near the start and there's a fast run in the main solo which is hard
  • as with all solos, the devil is in the detail - attention must be paid to the phrasing, groove, sound (growls etc) and articulation if you want to sound good


So that's it for this week, I hope you enjoyed learning how to play another classic sax solo. Don't forget to get your free sheet music for the Us And Them sax solo and I'll see you next week for something that you're ALL gonna love - Gerald Albright's funky tenor solo on Forget Me Nots by Patrice Rushen. Jamie :-)


Video Time Stamps


0:00 - INTRO PERFORMANCE (Intro Solo)

0:51 - intro and titles

1:24 - how to get your free PDF sheet music for Us And Them

1:49 - how to get your free one hour Saxophone Success Masterclass

2:43 - my shameful confession about this type of sax

3:53 - what “cut common time” is

4:06 - INTRO SOLO (phrase 1)

4:25 - how to play with subtone

4:39 - INTRO SOLO (phrase 2)

4:51 - how to do bends and scoops on sax

5:04 - INTRO SOLO (phrase 3)

5:24 - INTRO SOLO (phrase 4)

5:41 - INTRO SOLO (phrase 5)

6:08 - INTRO SOLO (phrase 6)

6:51 - •••PERFORMANCE (Intro Solo)••• 

8:13 - FILL 1 (phrase 1)

8:31 - FILL 1 (phrase 2)

8:50 - •••PERFORMANCE (Fill 1)••• 

9:26 - FILL 2 (phrase 1)

9:36 - FILL 2 (phrase 2)

9:58 - •••PERFORMANCE (Fill 2)•••

10:29 - FILL 3 (phrase 1)

10:41 - FILL 3 (phrase 2)

10:58 - FILL 3 (phrase 3)

11:16 - •••PERFORMANCE (Fill 3)•••

11:55 - MAIN SOLO (phrase 1)

12:19 - MAIN SOLO (phrase 2)

12:48 - MAIN SOLO (phrase 3)

13:09 - MAIN SOLO (phrase 4)

13:53 - MAIN SOLO (phrase 5)

14:20 - MAIN SOLO (phrase 6)

14:51 - MAIN SOLO (phrase 7)

15:40 - MAIN SOLO (phrase 8)

16:10 - MAIN SOLO (phrase 9)

16:35 - •••PERFORMANCE (Main Solo)•••

18:01 - FILL 4 (phrase 1)

18:12 - FILL 4 (phrase 2)

18:37 - FILL 4 (phrase 3)

19:00 - FILL 4 (phrase 4)

19:20 - •••PERFORMANCE (Fill 4)•••

20:09 - BACKING TRACK (Intro Solo)

20:49 - BACKING TRACK (Fill 1)

21:09 - BACKING TRACK (Fill 2)

21:29 - BACKING TRACK (Fill 3)

21:49 - BACKING TRACK (Main Solo)

22:53 - BACKING TRACK (Fill 4)

23:33 - sign off and teaser

24:19 - end titles and blooper reel


Video Transcript


Hi, I’m pro saxophonist Jamie Anderson and you’re watching Get Your Sax Together, where I sax up each and every Sunday for you with free online saxophone lessons for alto AND tenor sax. On this week’s show - by popular demand - you’ll learn how to play “Us And Them” by Pink Floyd.


I um-ed and ah-ed when researching this video, cos Pink Floyd’s Us And Them isn’t exactly your standard eight bar pop solo, is it? The original track, featured on the iconic 1973 album Dark Side Of The Moon, is just short of eight minutes and I couldn’t decide if the intro was more important, or the main solo, or even those gorgeous fills in the verses, so I’ve just gone ALL IN, and you’re gonna learn absolutely ALL the solo parts tenor saxophonist Dick Parry plays on the whole track! lol [exasperated] Why I do this to myself I do not know cos it’s a total Everest of an editing job! [slap forehead]

Anyway, before we dive into this, don’t forget to go down into the description for this video and click the link to get your free PDF sheet music for Us And Them, lovingly transcribed and copied for alto AND tenor sax by yours truly. Plus, a lot of you have been asking for the backing tracks for these sax lessons, so keep watching right to the end of the video as I’ve provided all the backing tracks for YOU to play along with.

Finally, if you struggle with an inconsistent thin sound, low notes and high notes that split to the wrong octave or you can’t play in time properly my Saxophone Success Masterclass might be of interest to you. It’s a totally free one hour lesson where you’ll get a bunch of my secret pro tips and tricks that aren’t on YouTube to take YOUR sax playing to the next level. Just click the link in the description or go to get your sax together dot com, forward slash masterclass.


We’re gonna learn ALL the solo bits that Dick Parry plays on Us And Them, in the order in which come in the track, so let’s get going with the 20-bar solo in the intro, before the first vocal entry. An important note before you start learning the notes though - Dick Parry has a loose and idiosyncratic approach with many of his phrases seeming to float over the time, making them challenging to notate. You’ll really have to listen to the original to get it. I’ll even peel back the kimono and give you guys a shameful confession - I’m not proud to admit it, but I’ve always been a bit of a sax snob when it comes to solos like this. I know, it’s awful, and you’re all massively gonna hate on me, but I’ve always had a problem with the whole wild, bwow bwow self-taught sax sound thing. HOWEVER - you’ll be pleased to hear - creating content for this this channel has been fantastic therapy for my little issue, and I’ve gotta tell you, having immersed myself in this track and others like it I’ve now got a whole new respect and appreciation for this un-schooled sax approach. It’s vibey man, and what more do you want at the end of the day if not vibe? For me, vibe is king - even at the expense of technical expertise. But what do YOU think? I’m genuinely interested if it’s solely my problem! Leave a comment below if you think I need to get my head out of my backside, or if certain unmentioned sax solos set YOUR teeth on edge!

Anyway, I’ve broken the intro solo into six phrases. At times it’s almost impossible to hear exactly what the notes are as they’re buried in the mix, and I’m sure there’ll be differences of opinion over notes and rhythms throughout, but, let’s just call this transcription my best artistic interpretation. lol By the way, to make it easier to read the whole solo is written in what we call “cut common” time, which means the crochets, or quarter notes, go past quite quickly and the feel of the music is half the written time. Here’s the first phrase, broken down nice and slowly for you…


If YOU wanna get that lush, jazzy subtone sound on the low notes like Dick Parry, go and check out my subtone video linked on the card above now. Many of these phrases just won’t sound the same without that fluffy tone. Here’s the second phrase now…


Throughout this track Parry uses a lot of bends and scoops and stuff - go to the video linked on the card above to learn how to do all that stuff. This third phrase goes to a low B on tenor, so I’ve taken it up the octave for alto as it goes off the bottom of the instrument…


Phrase four isn’t officially too low for alto, but it does start on the lowest note of the instrument, so you might wanna take this phrase up the octave if it’s too hard to get the low A# out…


Phrase five is where he steps up the intensity a bit. He really snarls off the last note!


To finish off the intro here’s phrase six. On the penultimate note, which is a D# for tenor, you could try using the side D#, which is like a high D# fingering except without the octave key, as it’s easier to slide down to the G#. This is one of these moments where it’s impossible to hear exactly what the sax plays without an isolated sax stem from the mix, but I think it might be this. lol


So that’s the whole intro solo covered. Straight after this solo the vocals enter with “Us…us…us….(us)” Here’s what this intro sounds like, performed with my backing track, at the actual tempo. Incidentally, when I was making the backing tracks I had to go on YouTube myself to learn how to play the guitar part for this song, so it’s not just you that uses free online music lessons! lol Here we go…



So, the vocal comes in with verse one and Dick Parry plays two fills in the gaps. I’ve divided the first fill into two phrases. This first fill has a bit of an odd start. My best interpretation of what I hear, is that he comes in on a long note in the second octave, but the note accidentally splits to the octave below, then he gets it back to the high octave. Not sure how you recreate this to be honest! lol In the free PDF that you can get from the link in the description, I’ve written the high note tied over with the low note beneath but you can either just play the long note and forget the octave split, or you can play the note in both octaves like it sounds. I think I just kinda fudge it between the two to be honest! lol This first fill comes after the lyric “ordinary men”…


Here’s the second phrase of the first fill…


So let’s put those two phrases together and this is what the first fill sounds like with the backing track…


The second fill in the opening verse comes just before the big chorus. When it gets to the chorus there might be some sax long notes or something back in the mix but as it’s not really a solo I’ve ignored those bits. I’ve divided the second fill in the first verse into two phrases again. Here’s the first phrase, which happens after the lyric “we would choose”…


Here’s the second phrase of the second fill…


So now we can put those two phrases together into the second fill at the end of the first verse section of the song…



After the massive chorus it drops back down again for the second verse and we get another fill. This third fill comes after the lyric “who is who” and I’ve divided it into three parts. Here’s the first phrase…


Now phrase two of the third fill…


The third phrase of this fill is pretty loose, so check out the original for the exact timing…


So that completes the third fill. Let’s put it together now, with the backing track. Here we go…



Okay, so after another big chorus and a twenty bar piano solo we get to the main event - the main sax solo. This one really builds as it gets into the big chorus section. Super intense! I’ve divided this solo section into nine different parts. Like I said in the intro, this lesson was always gonna be on the epic side! lol Here’s the first phrase…


The second phrase is pretty loose. The last measure seems to start with a triplet that’s really just a lip bend. Again, check the original to see what YOU think it is…


The third phrase finishes with these triplets that have lip bends. I say lip bends - I wouldn’t really ever do lip bends like this myself - I would use my throat - but it sounds like they’re played as lip bends…


Now the fourth phrase of the main solo…


Phrase five is arguably the hardest thing to actually play in the whole solo. Parry plays this triplet run straight up to the big chorus section. It’s just a concert D major scale, but it’s fairly fast. If you wanna get your scales together for moments like this but don’t know how best to do it, go and check out my video linked up there on the best way to practice scales without wasting your time. Here’s phrase five…


The impassioned wailing continues into phrase six…


Phrase seven has actually got a pretty tricky rhythm in it. At first I thought it was just a loose thing, but on closer inspection it’s actually a really tight double time rhythm. You might need to work this one out slowly and gradually increase the tempo until you’ve got it down…


Phrase eight is really fun! If you’re playing tenor you just trill your fingers as fast as you can from C# to E. Normally I would do this trill with the front E, but I doesn’t sound like he does that to be honest. If you’re on alto you can keep your G# key down for the trill and just trill fingers two and three of your left hand, or, you could be really flash and trill those two keys by bringing your right hand over the top. If you wanna see what I’m talking about check out the video linked above. This part of the solo is really full on and wild, but here it is broken down in a rather more sober way…


Finally, here’s phrase nine. This one tails off into reverb at the end and I couldn’t really hear what it does but I think it’s just a final long note that fades out.


Jeezy peeps man, that’s a lot of stuff to learn lol. Anyway, we’re now ready to piece together the whole main solo, so here it is with the backing track…



So we’re almost there now. After the big sax solo it comes down again for a last double verse, verse three, and there’s fills in the second half of this verse. Really it’s two fills with six bars in between, but I’ve just treated it as one fill divided into four phrases. Here’s the first part of fill four then. This comes after the lyric “with” and it’s super quiet and buried in the mix…


The second phrase is also very mellow…


Phrases three and four are one phrase and join straight into each other but I had to divide it in two as it was too long, so here’s phrase three of that fourth fill section…


As I mentioned, this final phrase of the whole thing flows straight from the end of the previous phrase. Here’s phrase four, the very final phrase in the whole thing! Yay!!


Now we can string together all those parts into the second half of verse three and perform them with the backing track. This is the final bit of sax solo in the whole track.



As promised, here’s all the backing tracks now for you to play along with. As always, it’s super important to go and carefully check out the original lines to really get the vibe and feel right. Have fun! 








Wow. It’s been an epic! Between this one and last weeks deep dive video into the blues I think I need a holiday! But of course, I couldn’t possibly deny you your Sunday fix of Get Your Sax Together. In fact, spoiler intended, next Sunday we go from the wild and loose sax work of Dick Parry to the other end of the spectrum - the flawless technical precision of Gerald Albright on Patrice Rushen’s Forget Me Nots - one of my favourite sax solos of all time. As usual, you can help me out by subscribing to the channel, ring the bell to be notified of new uploads, give me a thumbs up and a comment, and check out the socials - Instagram and my new Facebook page. As always, thanks for watching and I look forward to seeing you next Sunday for more premium YouTube sax content. See ya later!


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