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Altissimo fingerings

IanLT

New Member
Messages
4
By using the palm keys on my soprano sax I can get the altissimo E, F & F# notes. However, when I try to get any of those notes using the simpler fingerings all I get is a muffled sound with an indiscernible pitch!? E.g. to get altissimo E using the alternative simpler fingerings, I press the following 4 keys: front F key, Octave key & the left-hand 2nd & 3rd finger keys.
I would be most grateful for any advice.

Atb. Ian.
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
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1,710
I don't play the Sop (yet) but I can tell you it's the same for me on Tenor. Palm keys now come out nice and strong, but it's taken me a while to get E F and F# from the alt fingerings. F and F# are OK now, but if I start on E, without running up or down to it, it's a pain. Lots of practice. I've not attempted to go any higher yet!
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
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13,265
By using the palm keys on my soprano sax I can get the altissimo E, F & F# notes. However, when I try to get any of those notes using the simpler fingerings all I get is a muffled
Can you explain which exact notes and simpler fingerings you mean.

Altissimo E F and F# are very difficult, presumably you mean E4,F4 and F#4 - one octave above the palm key notes E3,F3 and F#3

So I wonder if you just mean the high notes of the regular range, ie E3, F3 and F#3.
 
D

Deleted member 6182

Guest
When i first started to learn to play the sax,
i started learning to play in the altissimo range 6 months later.

I bought this online course, and within a month i was hitting
altissimo G , the guy who wrote it is a top canadian rock sax player,
even played with the rolling stones.

The best thing about his course, is he teaches you altissimo fingerings
that flow together. ie when you play an altissimo scale, you dont
tie your finger up in knots as on average theres at least six different
fingers positions for each altissimo key.

But, and a big but, make sure you can play 7 to 9 overtones on the
lower sax keys, otherwise doing altissimo is a complete waste of time.

Learn The Saxophone Altissimo With This Step-By-Step Video Course

no doubt, the wind up merchants will start up with their
self opinionated views.

All i can say is, this course worked for me, i did it in my own spare
time and didn’t need to pay for sax lessons with a teacher to
master it.

About a year later, i was fully playing up to the 2nd altissimo G.
 

JazzMatt

Member
Account Closed
Messages
375
When i first started to learn to play the sax,
i started learning to play in the altissimo range 6 months later.

I bought this online course, and within a month i was hitting
altissimo G , the guy who wrote it is a top canadian rock sax player,
even played with the rolling stones.

The best thing about his course, is he teaches you altissimo fingerings
that flow together. ie when you play an altissimo scale, you dont
tie your finger up in knots as on average theres at least six different
fingers positions for each altissimo key.

But, and a big but, make sure you can play 7 to 9 overtones on the
lower sax keys, otherwise doing altissimo is a complete waste of time.

Learn The Saxophone Altissimo With This Step-By-Step Video Course

no doubt, the wind up merchants will start up with their
self opinionated views.

All i can say is, this course worked for me, i did it in my own spare
time and didn’t need to pay for sax lessons with a teacher to
master it.

About a year later, i was fully playing up to the 2nd altissimo G.
What tune is that to? :confused:
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Café Supporter
Messages
13,265
no doubt, the wind up merchants will start up with their
self opinionated views.
You rang, sir? :)

But, and a big but, make sure you can play 7 to 9 overtones on the
lower sax keys, otherwise doing altissimo is a complete waste of time.
I'd like to point out (especially for beginners) that consistently and accurately playing 7 to 9 overtones is very very ambitious, especially on any notes higher than Bb, B and C. In fact in some cases the higher overtones (aka squeaks :)) can be easier than the lower ones.
For example 1st and 4th can be easier than 2nd and 3rd in some cases.
 
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Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,600
E4? On soprano? Are you sure it's not sounding? Play it next to a sleeping dog. If the dog wakes it's sounding, but is beyond the human hearing range. If the dog goes for you, check your tuning, it's obviously flat ;)
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,843
By using the palm keys on my soprano sax I can get the altissimo E, F & F# notes. However, when I try to get any of those notes using the simpler fingerings all I get is a muffled sound with an indiscernible pitch!? E.g. to get altissimo E using the alternative simpler fingerings, I press the following 4 keys: front F key, Octave key & the left-hand 2nd & 3rd finger keys.
I would be most grateful for any advice.

Atb. Ian.
Hi @IanLT It sounds to me that you mean "high E, F and F#" (i.e. top of the normal range, standard fingerings) rather than altissimo (i.e. a whole ocatve above that).

That's as high as I play on soprano, except for my Selmer Serie III that has a high G key.

I find that those palm notes on soprano can be more temperamental than on alto, tenor or bari. On some of my sops they speak easily and cleanly and on others they need more coaxing to play properly. What soprano and what mouthpiece are you playing ?

Rhys
 

Ivan

Undecided
Subscriber
Messages
7,073
If you ignore the potentially misleading word 'altissimo', it sounds to me that @IanLT is referring to the alternative fingerings for
Sax range.png

As I understand it the palm keys work but the Front F fingerings don't

Is this a technical issue with the sax or a playing technique problem?
 

Attachments

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
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Messages
13,265
If you ignore the potentially misleading word 'altissimo', it sounds to me that @IanLT is referring to the alternative fingerings forView attachment 12376
As I understand it the palm keys work but the Front F fingerings don't

Is this a technical issue with the sax or a playing technique problem?
Could be either but I suspect it's playing technique - more breath support. Some overtone practice would help also.

I'm so glad we aren't actually talking about the altissimo E,F and F# on soprano - nobody should be allowed to play those.
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,843
Is this a technical issue with the sax or a playing technique problem?
@IanLT says that he can play them OK with the palm keys, so presumably the embouchure and voicing technique are OK.

If the front F key isn't set right it won't open the F palm key the correct amount and can make the "alternate front fingerings" harder to speak.

Rhys
 

scotsman

Member
Messages
330
Correct Rhys..As soon as I realised that my front F was WAY too open and reduced it Alissimo G and the rest of the front F fingerings spoke really clear.. It s just a matter of adjusting till they open up tonally . One way of checking is to just slightly open the front F when you play them.. Its an easy check.. However of course then comes the rest!! Just my two p worth.. Wot Larks Eh!!! .. Regards
 

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
619
.....I'm so glad we aren't actually talking about the altissimo E,F and F# on soprano - nobody should be allowed to play those.
Let's get this straight, top E, F, F# are not officially altissimo. G is altissimo if you have a soprano without a top G key (courtesy Snr, Pedanticus Maximus)
Altissimo E and above are mere squeaks and are mainly accidents :eek:.
I can reliably play an altissimo C (3 octaves above bottom C), but I have much more trouble with the Bb and B just below which are much more sensitive to reed and embouchure. However, I do something very weird in my throat that I can't very easily describe when I play that alt C.

By using the palm keys on my soprano sax I can get the altissimo E, F & F# notes. However, when I try to get any of those notes using the simpler fingerings all I get is a muffled sound with an indiscernible pitch!? E.g. to get altissimo E using the alternative simpler fingerings, I press the following 4 keys: front F key, Octave key & the left-hand 2nd & 3rd finger keys.
I would be most grateful for any advice. Atb. Ian.
There could be two or more reasons for this problem.
1) Your sax is out of adjustment. So get it checked out.
or
2) When you play top E and above with the front fingerings, in order to obtain them you are 'exciting' (leveraging) a different partial within the soprano's tube from that of the normal fingering.. Thus, you need to make a fairly radically different larynx shape to obtain these notes. You only really learn this by doing long tones in that register, because it's difficult to explain in any meaningful way what actually goes on inside the throat. What I can say is that for the most part it is NOT all about using more pressure from the embouchure, although I don't entirely rule that out. It's all about VOICING.

With the front fingerings (which use the top F key as a vent key, like an octave key), top E is generated from a fundamental of G, F from A, F# from Bb etc etc. So you have to encourage those fundamental fingerings to give you a higher partial. This happens in the larynx.

But as you might have noticed, what I just said does not make entire sense! If G (vented by the top F key) produces E, why does A (a tone higher) give an F (only a semitone up)?? Well in fact you will notice (once you can produce these notes) that the Front E is a bit flat and the front F is a bit sharp. If you play the front E with the G# key open and relax the throat cavity a bit, the two notes start to fall in line as a'a bit sharp', so you can relax for both notes.
Top F# is less sensitive to the opening of the G# key but will again require a different larynx shape.
Top G (altissimo or keyed) is a different matter and will require a considerably different larynx shape to produce in tune with either fingering.
And so on and so forth up into the altissimo proper. There was a period in my life when I could reliably play chromatically up to top C and beyond, but you really have to be a top playing fitness to do it and I decided that life is too short....but it was cool for a while.
 
D

Deleted member 6182

Guest
the main point is, learn to play overtones first,
if you cant play all the overtones alto, tenor etc...
you cant play altissimo properly to get higher up the altissimo
range, you actually play an overtone on the altissimo
key. so the same fingering position can be used to
blow two separate altissimo notes, one an overtone higher.
 
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