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Overtones

Sue

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I've just had my first 'proper' sustained playing session, since the outbreak of summer. I've been reading lots of good advice and articles including the David Liebman book about overtones and tone development (including the wardrobe).

I've never really attempted these seriously since it 'didn't work first time' or mouthpiece only practice, despite some very strong hints from people who know much better than I do! Lol.

Well today I discovered, that with some perseverance, I can achieve the fundamental and 1st & 2nd overtone on bottom Bb, B, C & C#. From bottom D to middle D I can achieve fundamental and 1st overtone only. Above that only the fundamental. As for mouthpiece only I can blow 6 half tones from G# to C# (the dogs don't much like it)

So my question is, if I just keep trying these as often as possible, will the other overtones be achievable?

Incidentally, I also realised that when playing patterns from a book (Taming the Saxophone - digital patterns) I am much better descending than ascending. Is that because I'm wired oddly?

Sun's coming out again so off back to the garden :)
 

jbtsax

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Yes and yes. :D
 
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Ivan

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Incidentally, I also realised that when playing patterns from a book (Taming the Saxophone - digital patterns) I am much better descending than ascending. Is that because I'm wired oddly?

I don't what the norm is... I'm better on the ascent but I'd say being better on the descent is wired differently rather than oddly
 

Sue

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Yes and yes. :D

Thought so

What sort of tone does your wardrobe produce?

I imagine it'll be a woody timbre, unless it's IKEA which might play flat(pack)

It's the gateway to Narnia so quite whimsical really

I don't what the norm is... I'm better on the ascent but I'd say being better on the descent is wired differently rather than oddly

That's kind - my friends would say odd!!

You're just special Sue ;}

Hahaha - so everyone tells me :)
 

Marcello

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Hi, jumping here I also would like a piece of advice.
I have been practicing my overtones regularly starting on lower Bb, I can reach to the top one, 2 octaves above (I need to blow it 2 or 3 times to get it though).
Starting on B, I can "eventually" get the upper one, and to be honest on this week I still did not get it...
I read a lot and saw a few tutorials on youtube about it and people generally say "do not change your embouchure", "change your throat", "change your tongue position", "raise the back of your tongue", "increase the air speed", etc...
For me, no matter what I do inside the mouth, getting that higher B is a daily challenge that some-days gets me really frustrated and questioning the importance of this exercise (though I keep on doing it...).
I didn't dare yet to move on C and C#... I rather get the others done properly before that...
After telling you this little dilemma, I would like to ask, is it really on inside your mouth that the pitch change shall happen? Is there any additional tip that you guys can share?
@jbtsax, even being unsuccessful (most of the times) so far in getting that high B, just continuing it will really "make it happen" one day?

Any piece of advice or comment will be much appreciated.
Cheers,
Marcello
 

kevgermany

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Lots of good overtone stuff in Taming the sax, vol 1.
 
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jbtsax

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One technique that might help is to play the high B with the regular fingering but without the octave key fortissimo and then quickly switch to the low B fingering. This will work with other overtones as well.
 

jimmylh

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Same problem here. I can never get up to the high Bb with the low Bb fingering. I can sometimes get it using JB's method but not the normal way. Another thing I don't get is, altissimo A is supposed to be the easy one to speak and G the difficult one. I'm backwards. I can barely squeak out an A and G speaks quite easy in comparison. Then there's D which can come at anytime with almost any fingering. Yes, I've studied lots of fingering charts that show up on the web. My conclusion is at my age I might as well face the fact I'm never going to be an altissimo wizard.
 

jbtsax

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Usually the reed vibrates at the frequency determined by the resonance of the body tube of the saxophone which changes depending upon its length. When playing overtones or altissimo notes, the oral cavity takes over from the body tube and dictates the reed's frequency. Tests by Joe Wolfe at the University of New South Wales have shown that the resonance of the player's oral cavity is slightly higher than the overtone or altissimo note being played.

Therefore. . . . blowing the pitch of the note you want to play first on your airstream like an air whistle helps to tune your oral cavity and helps to produce that note on the saxophone when you blow with the same feeling.
 

aldevis

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One technique that might help is to play the high B with the regular fingering but without the octave key fortissimo and then quickly switch to the low B fingering. This will work with other overtones as well.
This, but start from Bb.

I showed it at the Manchester meet. Seeing it in person makes a difference.
The point is that using the double fingering relaxes the embouchure, while forcing the overtones (like in Rascher's book) can make it tense.
 

David Dorning

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Another thing I don't get is, altissimo A is supposed to be the easy one to speak and G the difficult one. I'm backwards. I can barely squeak out an A and G speaks quite easy in comparison. .

Yes I recently ventured into altissimo and found the same thing (on tenor). I've recently started a piece on alto with a high F# and my alto doesn't have an F# key so I need to use altissimo. After a couple of weeks I only occasionally hit it cleanly, but so far slurring up from F natural is the only way to be sure of hitting it. But overall I'm aware of slow but steady progress in getting the feel for it. I may be a way off but much further on than 2 weeks ago. It just takes time.
 

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