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Problems with Altisimo

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,910
OK, Firstly a happy new year to everyone on the forum from me.

Now my problem, trying to work out a couple of solos and want to include the odd altisimo note here and there but the problem, as always for me with altisimo is not the actual playing of the notes but the getting back down to the lower notes afterwords, lets say for example I'm playing an A3 and know the next note i want to play is going to be a D2 i just can't seem to get back down there without what seems like a very long pause......i am not biting or puckering up to get the higher notes so am at a loss as to know whats wrong, can anyone help?

On the other hand i can happily run up and down the chromatic scale from Bb1 up to G4 and beyond (sometimes) all day without any breaks, the problem lies when I'm descending and missing a few notes or an octave...:confused:
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,312
OK, Firstly a happy new year to everyone on the forum from me.

Now my problem, trying to work out a couple of solos and want to include the odd altisimo note here and there but the problem, as always for me with altisimo is not the actual playing of the notes but the getting back down to the lower notes afterwords, lets say for example I'm playing an A3 and know the next note i want to play is going to be a D2 i just can't seem to get back down there without what seems like a very long pause......i am not biting or puckering up to get the higher notes so am at a loss as to know whats wrong, can anyone help?

On the other hand i can happily run up and down the chromatic scale from Bb1 up to G4 and beyond (sometimes) all day without any breaks, the problem lies when I'm descending and missing a few notes or an octave...:confused:
Its just the old word of practice,practice.For me i tend to very slightly grip more as i'm in the altissimo range then when returning back down i just relax my lip again,only tiny tiny bits though.Try and hear the lick as you play it.Repetition and being bold is the key.
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,030
Play all your scales/arpeggios/patterns up into altissimo as part of your daily practice (that's the only thing that has begun to really improve transitions up and down for mine :thumb: )
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Try dropping your tongue lower in your mouth to drop down to the lower note. Where to place it will depend on how low you want to go (vocalisation).
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,149
I know this is going to sound strange, but you have to HEAR the note you want to play. If you are a practiced player your embouchure adjusts to make each note, whether you realize it or not. If venturing into altissimo and making that adjustment for a harmonic note, then it takes making an equal adjustment to lose the harmonic. This happens most easily if you can hear the note you want to play. Too many of us just think and act as though fingering = notes. Not so. Practice your altissimo note and a set note, back and forth, so that you have BOTH notes in your ear. Then change the notes by a known interval so that you can still HEAR the notes you want to play. Hopefully this will help, but if reading and just relying on finger positions it will always be difficult. As a player you should strive to hear EVERY note you are playing whether reading or improvising.
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,910
Think you may be on to something there Wade, thing is, i learned to play altisimo by visualizing or hearing the sound of the note i wanted to play a millisecond before i actually played it, but i take on board your suggestion of practicing intervals like that, thanks....it's almost as though my mind/body just want to hang on to those notes and just don't want to let go! Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,312
Think you may be on to something there Wade, thing is, i learned to play altisimo by visualizing or hearing the sound of the note i wanted to play a millisecond before i actually played it, but i take on board your suggestion of practicing intervals like that, thanks....it's almost as though my mind/body just want to hang on to those notes and just don't want to let go! Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
The more you do it the less strange it becomes.Your aiming at not even thinking your in a false register on your horn.Just keep plugging away at it.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
In Pete's Taming the Sax Vol1, there are some good interval exercises. Start off dropping a semitone, then a tone and so on. If you combine this with Wade's comments I'm sure you'll get there. Me - I'm still trying to get up there...
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,030
I know this is going to sound strange, but you have to HEAR the note you want to play. If you are a practiced player your embouchure adjusts to make each note, whether you realize it or not. If venturing into altissimo and making that adjustment for a harmonic note, then it takes making an equal adjustment to lose the harmonic. This happens most easily if you can hear the note you want to play. Too many of us just think and act as though fingering = notes. Not so. Practice your altissimo note and a set note, back and forth, so that you have BOTH notes in your ear. Then change the notes by a known interval so that you can still HEAR the notes you want to play. Hopefully this will help, but if reading and just relying on finger positions it will always be difficult. As a player you should strive to hear EVERY note you are playing whether reading or improvising.
I think that's why scales, scale pattern exercises, interval exercises etc are so important to play everyday as part of your practice - the more you do them the more automatic they become, so that when you think of the sound of the note you want to play and your finger muscle memory automatically takes you there :thumb:
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,910
I think that's why scales, scale pattern exercises, interval exercises etc are so important to play everyday as part of your practice - the more you do them the more automatic they become, so that when you think of the sound of the note you want to play and your finger muscle memory automatically takes you there :thumb:
I agree, but are we starting to cross the fine line of hearing/knowing what note we want to play....or simply relying on finger memory?
 

Mike

Senior Member
Messages
559
What ArtyLady says is the absolute truth in understanding how to approach and encompass
altissimo technique. If we treat the altissimo as the 'foreign' part of the horn the player will always
feel an intimidation towards those notes/fingerings and thus treat the altissimo as a separate part of the horn, which it's not.
In other words if the practice of scales stop with the palm keys, and simply practicing some 'chosen' altissimo notes separately may very well get the player no where. Naturally, it may work for some but as a practice I wouldn't recommend it.

What Wade said is also very true about needing to hear
how the note will sound. Naturally, what daveysaxboy says (practice, practice, practice) is 'required' if 'extension' of the scales/modes exceed two octaves.

Here is a video that emphasizes exactly what ArtyLady exemplified. Some may have seen it....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05EciyL8lxU
 
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