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Beginner High Notes on the Soprano

Connor Lee

New Member
Messages
12
There is a trumpet solo from a song I used to listen to all the time as a young child that I'd always wanted to learn on the saxophone. I understand the alto and tenor have, "altisimo," ranges, and I was wondering if the same could be said for the soprano. I doubt it, considering it's not necessary, but I only need to get like- 3 halfsteps higher than the current note range. :(
Thanks,
Connor Wee
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,953
That would make a very high trumpet solo.

Yes, there is an altissimo range for the sop. It isn't easy.

Can't you transpose the solo?
 

Connor Lee

New Member
Messages
12
Well the solo goes from the highest octave and eventually hits the lowest note the trumpet can, so it's only natural I would do the same, or close to the same. :p Thank you though. I need to get a harder reed; I'm on 2's right now and I can barely hit the highest 'taught,' note, yet the lowest notes are barely ever a problem to me. I'll hit up some 3's, and see if I can hit the altissimo notes. Thank you. :)
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Definition of a gentleman?
Someone who can play altissimo on a soprano sax, but choses not to.
 

SopJob

Member
Messages
78
Hello Connor,

the standard work on high notes is still, I dare say, Eugene Rousseau's "Saxophone High Tones" (1978). Rousseau's book includes the soprano. He even suggests special fingerings here and there.

The advanced exercises are absolutely frightening. In one (and many other) places, you find a note on the 4th auxiliary line (G) and after that, it parentheses, it says: 8 VA for that and all the notes that follow. I've been the owner of the book for more than 20 years. When I first got it, I quickly came to the conclusion that I would not do it in this life. Yet still, Rousseau talks about "successful students". (He used to teach as a professor at the University of Indiana). He admits that arriving at the high notes is hardest for soprano players.

None the less, I'd still recommend that you take a look because it gives very useful hints at airstream techniques and alternative fingerings, and teaches you how to get the ordinary high tones right (those that you still have keys for). The preparatory exercises (closed tube exercises) are useful not only for developing high notes, but also for arriving at a better tone in general.

Hope this helps.
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Easier to contact Joe Giardullo at Soprano Planet about getting one of his mouthpieces, get some Marca Superiere reeds or just learn the trumpet! :thumb:
 

SopJob

Member
Messages
78
Easier to contact Joe Giardullo at Soprano Planet about getting one of his mouthpieces, get some Marca Superiere reeds or just learn the trumpet! :thumb:
I actually have a mouthpiece from Joe. It's great, but I can't see how that would help with the problem at hand. Anyway, I could ask Joe to do a refacing job on one of my bicycle valves.
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
altissimo on the soprano sax isn't easy, but here's a few links that may help -

http://www.mobetterblues.altervista.org/didattica/pdf/altissimo_fingerings_for_soprano_sax.pdf

http://www.bestsaxophonewebsiteever.com/11-tips-for-improving-your-altissimo/

http://www.wikihow.com/Hit-Altissimo-Notes-on-the-Sax

http://www.bobrk.com/saxfaq/2.6.html

http://www.bobrk.com/saxfaq/2.5.html


from Steve Lacy's book 'Findings' -
"The high notes are there. They will come with time. Go slowly. Take your time. If you can't play high, play as high as you can and stay there long enough to tire your lip out, then go back down. Rest and then go back up. Repeat until you can go higher.
Each harmonic overtone demands it's own formula of diapharagmatic pressure, lip position, wind direction, tongue placement and hearing conception. It is necessary to determine all of these elements, one by one, over the course of the years, until they become internalised and automatic.
This work should be done in isolation, it is excruciating to listen to.
In addition to the usual high note fingerings, there are many other possibilities. Experiment with all the side, top and bottom keys, which all have an effect on pitch and colour of the note. 4ths, 5ths, octaves are possible on many fingerings."
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I actually have a mouthpiece from Joe. It's great, but I can't see how that would help with the problem at hand. Anyway, I could ask Joe to do a refacing job on one of my bicycle valves.
A lot of soprano mouthpieces are not that well made (lack precision etc.) and a high quality mouthpiece will play more accurately over a wider range. Hence it would be easier to play altissimo on a soprano with a better mouthpiece. I thought that Altissimo was the problem which I am trying to address in a straightforward and clear way!

Kind regards
Tom
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,667
I have several of Joe's mpces. I don not believe there is anyone else on the planet who understands soprano mpces and sopranos like Joe.

he does a lot of altissimo stuff...I have one of his CDs called Falling Water if memory serves ...there is a lot of altissimo sop in a duet in an old church. Playing altissimo well, with good tone and in tune is verky challenging indeed.

Monik Nordine, the leader of our sax quartet is a sop specilaistnnd she can rip out the next half octave easily...I think she plays a super session but I will tey and remember to ask her at rehearsal tomorrow. I know she is playing Hemke 3's at the moment cause I gave em to her. Lol
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,287
Courtney Pine also plays great altissimo on sop and it is very difficult to master but under most circumstances its not needed.
 

jrintaha

Senior Member
Messages
283
Easier to contact Joe Giardullo at Soprano Planet about getting one of his mouthpieces, get some Marca Superiere reeds or just learn the trumpet! :thumb:
The trumpet may not be a bad suggestion at all. After taking up the flugelhorn (almost the same as trumpet, as you all probably know), I've unlocked half a dozen additional altissimo notes on the tenor sax. The super tight (and super precise!) embouchure needed on brass has helped me reach higher overtones with better accuracy on the sax as well.
 
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