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How do you bend Altissimo notes without losing them?

SaxinNZ

Member
Messages
76
Location
North Canterbury, New Zealand
After a few days of trying I am finding that I can get a few altissimo notes, I can start on A and work my way up, (the “G” I find hard as yet).

I was trying to get a sound similar to David Sanbourn (ha ha… yeah right!) on the Roger Waters “Pro’s and Cons of Hitchhiking” …. On track 2, I believe, he (David) starts a piece with a high “A”, and sort of bends the note before going down the scale…. My question is how the hell do you bend altissimo notes (A in this case)? I can just about hit the A if I concentrate and don’t change my breathing, but as soon as I even try to move either my tongue, throat or even “think” of changing the note, it screams into something that would give a bat a heart attack.

Anyone who has the album and could throw me a bone... thank you.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
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1,113
Location
United Kingdom
G seems to be the hardest altissimo note to play cleanly without it going thin for a lot of folks.

If you've just started hitting the altissimo range I would suggest plenty of long notes and some patience. Start hitting the range you want as easy as the first three notes you’ve ever learnt then think about bending them ;}
 

jonf

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3,678
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Betelgeuse
G seems to be the hardest altissimo note to play cleanly without it going thin for a lot of folks.

QUOTE]

I have thought so for years, until Davey the Sax Geordie maestro shared his brilliant fingering. Only works on a modern sax, but it works a treat. Finger normal high B and add the F# key. Dead easy. A is a good one to practice on too, usually voices very easily. Practice, practice, and maybe a redd slightly (but only slightly) harder than usual.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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Minster On Sea
If we're talking alto then I might suggest Jonf's fingering for G might be a tad sharp - if it is you could try bis Bb instead - it's good for tenor though. For alto I usually use alt F with side Bb and F (1st finger RH).

I've never had any bother with G, either. A is the one that sometimes croaks on me when I'm going for it too hard.
 
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jonf

Well-Known Member
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3,678
Location
Betelgeuse
Interesting point about the G fingering for alto. I was thinking about tenor - I've never tried it on alto, partly because I tend to use altissimo on tenor, but mainly because neither of the altos I regularly play has an F#

You second comment just goes to show that there's no 'one size fits all'. I struggled with alt G for years, but always found A the easiest of the alt notes. Hey ho.
 

SaxinNZ

Member
Messages
76
Location
North Canterbury, New Zealand
After much effort and lots of swearing I have started to get the hang of bending of some Altissimo notes,… it happened by accident, but I sort of pretend I’m whistling the note, and move your tongue exactly as you would when you whistle. Keeping the embouchure the same, and just a subtle tongue movement…!

Wow, a new high for me (literally)…. it just gets better.
 

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