playing altissimo without the high F#

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110
Location
Brazil
#1
Hey folks,

Well, I´m planning to start practicing the altissimo range on my alto.

However, every altissimo fingering chart I find uses the high F# key and my sax doesn´t have one.

So, is there an alternative chart of saxophones without the high F# key?

Thanks in advance,

Raf.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
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3,227
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Sweden
#2
Try:

Octave key, Bb side key, front F key, C key and F key.
Octave key, Bb side key, front F key, C key.
Octave key, Bb side key, front F key, F key.

All these three fingerings works on my Martins.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,227
Location
Sweden
#3
Fingerings for the F# 3. I have differnt fingerings on my saxes. Older saxes may have differnt fingerings.

Try:

Octave key, Bb side key, front F key, C key and F key.
Octave key, Bb side key, front F key, C key.
Octave key, Bb side key, front F key, F key.

All these three fingerings works on my Martins.
 
Messages
110
Location
Brazil
#4
Thanks Tom! :)

What do you mean by front F key? I think this is the one I´m talking about. Is it that one right above the B key?

Mine doesn´t have it.

Cheers,

Raf.

PS: My old Buescher stencil doesn´t have either the high front F key (that one right above the B) and the high F# key (that one close to the right hand palm keys).
 
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Messages
33
Location
Hong Kong
#6
the 2nd link posted by spike is a good reference. I went through the all the listed fingerings to find out what work for me. I use an old Martin Committee I alto, which does not have the F# key. It does have the front F key though.

the following fingerings work well for me and they are quite easy to be played chromatically:

F#: [FONT=Times New Roman, Times, serif]T 1–3|1––[SUB]Eb[/SUB][/FONT]
G: [FONT=Times New Roman, Times, serif]T 1–3|[SUB]Bb[/SUB]1––[/FONT]
G#: [FONT=Times New Roman, Times, serif]T 1–3|[SUB]C[/SUB]1––
A: [/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman, Times, serif]T –23|12–[/FONT]
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
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3,121
Location
leicester
#7
these links my be of some help -

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

http://tamingthesaxophone.com/saxophone-harmonics-overtones.html

http://everythingsaxophone.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/altissimo-crash-course-beginner-through.html

http://www.saxontheweb.net/SOTW_Arc...-boardid-altissim-thread-14-spec-4515707.html

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

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


I found fingering charts for altissimo of limited use and just experimented with opening different keys until I found the right nodal points in the air column. A lot of it's in the embouchure, shaping your oral cavity as if you're trying to sing the note. A good mouthpiece with an accurate facing curve will help. Lack of a front F may be a nusiance, but people were playing altissimo long before such things existed.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,352
#8
99% of pro's will use the above fingers even if they have a modern horn with the high F sharp keywork.Your not missing anything with a horn with no f sharp on it.
 
Messages
410
#11
Hey folks,


Well, I´m planning to start practicing the altissimo range on my alto.

However, every altissimo fingering chart I find uses the high F# key and my sax doesn´t have one.

So, is there an alternative chart of saxophones without the high F# key?

Thanks in advance,

Raf.

Bingo!
More reinforcement to my theory that fingering charts should be ditched for good (oh my god, what do I do without that top F#? Can't do altissimo!!).

Yep...you have a great alternative: chuck away all those fingering charts and focus more on mastering the harmonics - then you'll find at least 60% of the altissimo you need are already there in your harmonics by just using the conventional fingerings (meaning no need to learn new fingerings) and the other 40% it's up to your ability and experimentation (I've already pointed out a very useful trick in one of my previous discussions...(that trick seems to be universal as it work on all my 15 odd saxes...more on request).
In the end you'll succeed in achieving the same (as if you were using the fingering charts) only; you'll have a more productive and streamlined way of accessing an extra octave (and you'll avoid getting cramps in you hands).

Controversial Zannad (don't read if you are easily offended by lateral thinking):
Altissimo fingering charts don't work in an universal way - each sax is different and each has it's own peculiarity - there should be an altissimo fingering chart for each sax and for each setup - and dare to say, for each player (as each of us has different anatomic traits - some resonaces work better in one mouth's cavity and others harmonics for another...).
Fact is that if you go up there in the altissimo range you can easily find 4-5 notes with a single fingering...in fact the higher you go the more notes are there at your disposal (you pick and choose)...all the fingering charts do is to fool you into thinking that you are doing something right with your fingers to get that note, while in fact you are training your throat to find a note - the fingering here are practically irrelevant - they are just a gimmick to reinforce an association with your throat (the one that really matter) - Instead, you can find alternative associations which are more fluid and instinctive e.g. normal fingering + harmonics (and a few adjustments) - isn't that more natural?.
Be smart...
 

EdJ

New Member
Messages
16
#12
He meant no "front F" as I call it

These were missing from pan-americans and some other makes in the 1920-30s and more earlier. ie the key on the front above the normal one the first finger of the left hand uses most (the one that sounds as B), typically a round pearled key on older instruments and a funny shaped metal one without a pearl on newer ones

I was looking at 2 C melodies in a local shop which had been there for ages. A Conn with a front F shown in the picture on their website and a Pan-American (Conn's budget range on which I have never seen a "front F") which in the picture shows the back of the instrument only so you can't see the keywork for £200 cheaper.

I decided to go there this Saturday looked at the website before setting off and after years the Conn had sold. I rang and confirmed this asked if the Pan-American had a front F key but the assistant in the specialist woodwind shop told me they weren't sure what I mean.

I also saw one on eBay with a picture of the instrument between an alto and a tenor on their sides so I couldn't see the keys. I asked the seller if it had a front F key they suggested I should come and see them demonstrate it.

I am useless with altissimo I make a series of squeaks thankfully usually luckily in the correct harmonic series but not very targeted (in fact I haven't even tried recently). I think without "front F" I would be even worse.

What is the correct name for the offending key?

Can you do meaningful altissimo without it?

Ed (at risk of making a hasty foolish choice having procrastinated so long about the Conn C melody)
 

jbtsax

old and opinionated
Subscriber
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6,591
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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
#13
This saxophone patent for a new front F key design invented by the tech I apprenticed with at Summerhays Music in Orem, Utah contains a brief history of the "front F" key. I know this because I helped to research and write the "background" section of the patent application. His invention of a "new" front F/G touch enables the player to press one side to open the F palm key fully to play high F and E natural, or to press the other side and open the F palm key a minimal amount to facilitate playing the altissimo G.
 

Guenne

Senior Member
Messages
815
Location
Austria
#14
Hi,

I started working on playing the transitional register to top tones (from E-F#) using flute fingerings offset one semitone.
I simply got tired of playing this fingering now and and different fingerings then and never getting real fluency.
Meaning I play E like Eb on flute, F like flute E and so on. This works great on Tenor (I'm practicing scales and arpeggios up to alt. C for now, it's no problem to go much higher), and at least for E, F, F# and G on Alto. You can really push if you want.
I've made a short video to show you:


Cheers
 
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Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Cafe Moderator
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#15
This saxophone patent for a new front F key design invented by the tech I apprenticed with at Summerhays Music in Orem, Utah contains a brief history of the "front F" key. I know this because I helped to research and write the "background" section of the patent application. His invention of a "new" front F/G touch enables the player to press one side to open the F palm key fully to play high F and E natural, or to press the other side and open the F palm key a minimal amount to facilitate playing the altissimo G.
That's interesting as it is commonly believed the F key when acting as a vent (as with aux F) only needs to be open a crack for it to function bets, whatever the note. (See Eugene Rousseau Hight Tones pages14 - 16) he even recommends an alteration to the F aux lever to make the F open less wide.

Also interesting to note is that the aux top F can work best without the octave key, as the octave vent is in conflict with the F vent.
 

Pete Thomas

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#16
Another cool exercise from "Euge"

use an old reed to hold the top F keycap open just a crack (a gnat's crotchet will do).

Finger A (without octave key and it should sound a nice top F. As above it's the vented F that cases an overtone (don't ask my why it is a minor 6th overtone)

Then finger Bb (bis) B C C# and the top F will (or should) sound accordingly F#, G G# A nice altissimo notes.

In practice not so useful as you'd need the palm F open ( which can be done with your LH ring finger - see my "fake" aux F article ) but normally open too much if it's set for normal palm fingering.

Still, interesting.
 

jbtsax

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#17
That's interesting as it is commonly believed the F key when acting as a vent (as with aux F) only needs to be open a crack for it to function bets, whatever the note. (See Eugene Rousseau Hight Tones pages14 - 16) he even recommends an alteration to the F aux lever to make the F open less wide.

Also interesting to note is that the aux top F can work best without the octave key, as the octave vent is in conflict with the F vent.
A student of Rousseau, Dr. Ray Smith teaches at a local university and would send students to the shop I worked in all the time to have the front F adjusted to the small opening to help the altissimo G. The same students would often come in again and have the adjustment reversed so they could play a classical piece that requires the front F or E fingering. This got us thinking if there was some way to "have your cake and eat it too" hence the invention of a single key that could achieve both openings without having to adjust it each time.
 

Pete Thomas

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#18
The same students would often come in again and have the adjustment reversed so they could play a classical piece that requires the front F or E fingering
I think that's all going to be up to the individual and the instrument. I prefer a smaller gap for both F and G. But I applaud anyone who actually bothers to get a patent, sounds like a good idea if possible a bit niche.
 
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