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altissimo notes

zannad

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Altissimo for me is a mixture of fingerings and the use of the throat to get the notes i want,but the fingerings are important to get the right run of notes and it is just as important to use the right equipment,like some mpc's are better than others and some prefer harder reeds but i get better results with the softer reeds i play.

The reason there are fingerings for altissimo is for choice,some players get better results with different fingerings.
Although altissimo is important for tone and control of your horn,i find i am using it less and less mainly due to the fact some of the gigs i get are in eating environments where the audience much prefer lighter music.
Sonny Rollins on friday night on BBC hardly used altissimo at all and he was still great,although that might be down to his advanced years or maybe just choice.

Brian

Sensible post...
See the Altissimo fingerings might be relevant but (as you rightly point out) these should be tailored to each setup - therefore the fingering charts aren't that useful. Each player should take care to find the right specific fingering for himself...and these often aren't even listed in those charts.
Even when the right altissimo fingering is found...then one has to be careful to keep the set up constant or some altissimo wouldn't play as expected or would break too easily - a trusted and constant setup is very desirable indeed but very difficult to obtain as there are so many variables out there which play against our expectations (ambient temperature, humidity, reeds, mouthpieces). In brief, one spends hours/days/weeks finding the right altissimo fingerings and then in a certain situation these don't work = total waste of time.
It's much better relying on overtones and learing to think the note ahead so that the throat muscles work faster and faster = more reliable. You can have very fast fingers but these can't give you the right note if the setup or the throat aren't in sync.
 

Nick Wyver

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Yes, that's what everyone has to do. I'm not sure what you think you're doing that's different to everybody else.
 

saxnik

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Sorry Zannad, seems to me like you're talking yourself around in circles here!


You are quite correct to say that overtones and throat are the way forward, but you can't discount fingering systems that certainly do work and are transferrable.
I see both sides of this - the 'usual' fingerings are way simpler than the altissimo ones in Rascher's Top Tones, but then you are overblowing the horn with 'advanced' throat and embouchure technique to get up there.

The whole point about Rascher's system is that the fingerings do not do the job for you, it is essential that you do the practice to get your ears, brain and air column in sync to imagine the sound before it happens and then be able to play it. The fingerings just facilitate this, and by and large his patterns are easy enough fingerings to use to play tunes but do transfer between models and makes of sax. You have to do a bit of diligent practice on the scales you want to use in order to get fluent, but that's the same with anything new.

By contrast just overblowing the first and second octave fingerings to get a third octave isn't acceptable. It isn't too nasty on my tenor, but sounds terrible on my alto, really out of tune and horrific tone. Using Rascher's fingerings is not a perfect solution but it's a lot closer to universal than other systems I've seen because the emphasis is in training the mind and technique not in training your fingers to follow patterns. I only change a couple of fingerings on alto from tenor to alter intonation, and then only if I'm holding a note not playing a run. It makes the tone of the sax in altissimo easier to achieve with 'usual' embouchure, so that I'm not having to put a lot of throat/chops effort in there to get the notes. Learning extra fingerings is really like any other instrument - sax IS easy in comparison to some woodwind instruments, in terms of the fingering, hard compared to brass maybe, but that's another reason to be practicing your scales. Clarinet players have to practice 3 octaves including 'altissimo', I don't see why sax players should be different!!




Nick W and Morgan are quite right though, and as you say Zannad, the real work is in the throat, but I can't agree that altissimo fingerings are a waste of time.


Good luck with it all,

Nick
 

zannad

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Yes, that's what everyone has to do. I'm not sure what you think you're doing that's different to everybody else.


Ok Nick....here's what I do differently - please promise me to buy me a beer if this trick work for your G - because in my case it always works and I'm testing about 15 saxes right now (no wonder I got no time for silly fingering charts).

now play your G...get the next octave without the octave key (sure you can do that).
Then get the 5th above that using overtones - should be easy in any sax without much trouble.
Then try the octave (so the 3rd G) which of course you get with the altissimo fingering...only try with the conventional G - if it breaks then close the bottom D and E together - (or only one of these - try experimenting)...check how clean and easy your altissimo G sounds :welldone.
In fact this can be called an alternative fingering but is linked to the conventional and to be honest depending on the setup you won't need much of this extra trickery.

Now the same principle apply for other troublesome altissimo played conventionally closing some of the bottom keys (not only the D and/or E but also the bottom Bb and B - that's all I need) alters the physics of your sax slightly so that certain altissimo notes can be played without much trouble -...having say that with my cheap Venus and a couple of Conn I can play an entire octave above the normal range without any trick.

Boy, it's not Christmas but I feel like I gave you a very useful gift...(now for that pint).

(what I do differently? I find my way).
 
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Nick Wyver

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Yes, I can do all that. The notes don't sound especially nice and are terribly unstable. The fingerings I use produce nice sounding, stable, in-tune notes. No tricks involved - unless you think practice is a trick. Where's the advantage in your method?
 
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Yes, I can do all that. The notes don't sound especially nice and are terribly unstable. The fingerings I use produce nice sounding, stable, in-tune notes. No tricks involved - unless you think practice is a trick. Where's the advantage in your method?

He's right I've heard him play altissimo and it sound very nice
 

zannad

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Yes, I can do all that. The notes don't sound especially nice and are terribly unstable. The fingerings I use produce nice sounding, stable, in-tune notes. No tricks involved - unless you think practice is a trick. Where's the advantage in your method?

You stated this: "I think I would struggle to get G3 by fingering G1."...
Now by closing E or D (or both) you can see some dramatic improvements and with very little practice...surely isn't fair to compare a few minutes spent on this with the practice you spent on using altissimo fingering charts....oh, and by the way, you'll notice that after a bit of practice the G3 comes easier and easier even without the E/D trick!
The advantages of keeping a fluid fingering system are so obvious I won't even mention them...
Let's simply say that you get from A to Z as with the other method...only 3 time faster, safer and more enjoyable too?!
 

Nick Wyver

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What makes you assume that the fingerings I use are not fluid?

(Cheers Zoot! I didn't realise you were listening ;} )
 
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zannad

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What makes you assume that the fingerings I use are not fluid?

(Cheers Zoot! I didn't realise you were listening ;} )

Your competitive instincts are quite something...
To be honest - I don't care if you can make a tenor sounds like a Soprano (yawn) - I'm quite happy with my Altissimo - and if the opportunity arise I can make them to good use to create some fluid melodies up there up to and octave above normal range (but honestly, what for? To impress others?).
The best about my Altissimo? I've spent very little energies to achieve them - oh, and the fingering I use works in any sax - e.g. the low E/D trick....if you call that a trick then I wonder what do you call your altissimo fingering? A massive trick?
The point is that maybe you've spent quiet a lot of time and put a lot of effort (correct me if I'm wrong, but I get this idea) and are not willing and not liking much that an easier alternative was there for you all along (am I right?).
Beside I gave you a useful tip and I don't get my beer (not even a thank you?).
Some people when playing music focus more on their fingers and eyes - others prefer their ears and throat (that's all there is really).
As far as I'm concerned I prefer to use my BRAIN...then if I could make music directly from my brain without any finger nor throat nor eyes (not even ears)...well that would make my day.
cheers.
 
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kent
What makes you assume that the fingerings I use are not fluid?

(Cheers Zoot! I didn't realise you were listening ;} )

Oh yes i was listening (at the same time formulating a cunning plan to substitute a cleverly disguised Chinese horn for your tenor)
curses!! i didn't mean to send that bit.
 

Nick Wyver

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Oh yes i was listening (at the same time formulating a cunning plan to substitute a cleverly disguised Chinese horn for your tenor)
curses!! i didn't mean to send that bit.

If you made it as grubby as mine I probably wouldn't notice.
 

sixty-two E

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The Altissimo bible - is High Note Development for the contempory saxophone player - by - Robert A Lucky Ph.D. Unfortunately its written in German but compensates with full diagrams of all fingerings and alternate fingerings for the complete altissimo register for soprano, alto, tenor and baritone horns. It's a must to unravel the squeaks into pitch perfect notes. If you are struggling with the altissimo register its well worth buying.
 

Fraser Jarvis

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Just somehow came across this old thread, the guy seems to think he can finger a G3 by using the normal G fingering?....well amist this testosterone fueled debate i must admit i cant....you see, if i finger the conventional G fingering i get G4 but for the life of me i cant get G3 (using this fingering, i can easily get G3 using another fingering)...perhaps i don't know what I'm doing, maybe i haven't studied Mr Raschers book enough, am at a loss, someone help me!
 
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Studying the overtone series on the bass notes is essential to develop air stream/larinx control required to produce a consistent altissimo range.
The Rascher is surely a good method, and definetly not easy if practiced properly, overtones will also develop you a more bodied tone and control, with also intonation benefits
 

aldevis

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Thanks, good to know...

And assembling the reed correctly on the mouthpiece, will increase its response.
Remember that the the thin part of the reed goes towards the player, with the flat part in contact with the mouthpiece.

A reed-mouthpiece combo not correctly assembled, could affect your ability of playing a G3 fingering a G2.
A G7 is another story.

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings (William Blake)
 

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