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Altissimo A?

Saltosax

Member
Messages
59
Hello you saxy people!
I am curious as to how you fellow saxophonists achieved the altissimo A? My tutor said I should extend my jaw, use lots of air and blow that air upwards.
Any other tips to achieve this note?

Thanks,
B
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
7,474
It is a good idea to master the tone production in the normal range of the saxophone at all dynamic levels first, and then start to add to the range.
 
OP
S

Saltosax

Member
Messages
59
It is a good idea to master the tone production in the normal range of the saxophone at all dynamic levels first, and then start to add to the range.
I would, but I just need this one note as it is the finishing note of a song I’m performing
 

GJ77

Senior Member
Messages
664
Training the ear first so you can hear the note before sounding it; practice lots of overtones on bell notes.

I think that when I first hit it (I'm going back a good few years now, so could be mistaken), I did it by playing up on an A major arpeggio, ensuring that I had a good clear sound on the top e (front fingering) before completing the pattern with the final tonic (altissimo A).

Try a few different fingerings:
OXX I OOO
OXX I XXO
OXX I XOO

Hope this helps. What's the piece?
 
OP
S

Saltosax

Member
Messages
59
Training the ear first so you can hear the note before sounding it; practice lots of overtones on bell notes.

I think that when I first hit it (I'm going back a good few years now, so could be mistaken), I did it by playing up on an A major arpeggio, ensuring that I had a good clear sound on the top e (front fingering) before completing the pattern with the final tonic (altissimo A).

Try a few different fingerings:
OXX I OOO
OXX I XXO
OXX I XOO

Hope this helps. What's the piece?
This helps tremendously, I will try the arpeggio way once I’m home, going to see Neil diamond in concert!
The piece is “But Not For Me” by George Gershwin, the very last note is the A.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,506
There are a lot of fingerings for Altissimo A - I needed it for a piece last year. Look them up online. Then work out which one is best for you and your sax - you will hear a suggestion of the right note, mixed in amongst the general bad noise that happens at first.

Its worth coming up to it from below, and it will take lots of practice, and then suddently it will pop out and you'll wonder why it was so difficult.!

I'd recommend tackling it with a new reed, so you can't blame an old soggy one.

I had to hit altissimo A at the end of the 11 minute long "Saxo-Rhapsody" by Eric Coates.
I was afraid that, having exhausted myself playing the whole piece, it would never play, but once I'd cracked it, it just sang out every time!
I'm pretty sure the final notes were C (middle finger and octave), F (played forked fingering on the key above B, and the C key and octave) then A.

it will come, but practice it regularly.
 
OP
S

Saltosax

Member
Messages
59
There are a lot of fingerings for Altissimo A - I needed it for a piece last year. Look them up online. Then work out which one is best for you and your sax - you will hear a suggestion of the right note, mixed in amongst the general bad noise that happens at first.

Its worth coming up to it from below, and it will take lots of practice, and then suddently it will pop out and you'll wonder why it was so difficult.!

I'd recommend tackling it with a new reed, so you can't blame an old soggy one.

I had to hit altissimo A at the end of the 11 minute long "Saxo-Rhapsody" by Eric Coates.
I was afraid that, having exhausted myself playing the whole piece, it would never play, but once I'd cracked it, it just sang out every time!
I'm pretty sure the final notes were C (middle finger and octave), F (played forked fingering on the key above B, and the C key and octave) then A.

it will come, but practice it regularly.
thank you, I will!
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Messages
74
I feel a big thing once you get the actual notes of altissimo produced, is to practice them in nearly everything you do. All scales, triads, chords, intervals, licks, go as high as you can. Go as slow as you need to so that the time is always consistent no matter what and that you can produce a good sound as well. Good luck!
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,860
On tenor:
oxx/ooo + side C if I'm playing melodically.
oxx/xxx if I just want a screamer (more reliable when I'm really giving it some stick).
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,552
OXX/XXO gives me the best intonation and is straightforward on both Keilwerth alto and SML tenor.

Don't know how relevant, but they are both considered "big bore" horns
 

tzadik

Member
Messages
340
First you need to "imagine" the note.

All the old Rascher method (and the upgrade Robert Luckey) are based on the practice of the harmonics.
You need to voice the note as an harmonic tone.

Then there are the right fingerings to make the "tone" of note cleaner.

It's something it takes time and practice.

Some instruments are easy in the altissimo register... and as well some mouthpieces.
But, in general, you need to play comfortable (with reeds and tip opening) to get the altissimo easier.

Last but not least... the upper part of the horn should be setted properly to help with both tone and intonation of the altissimo.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,552
I have been playing on my 10Mfan Robusto 8 over the past few weeks (need a darker mpce than my PPT 11* for a new band) using Legere Signatures. I was using a 3 1/4 and was getting my altissimo notes but C and above were thin and required focussed thought. I switched to a 3 and 1/2 a voila back to the easy peasy full altissimo of my PPT.

I have not sorted out what lesson there is from this but the difference is truly amazing. I was beginning to think I had lost my chops somewhere. LOL
 
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