Writing for alto sax

Larris

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#1
Hello. I compose music and want to know if the note F over the system is considered very high for alto sax or "normal"/common. I not want to challenge the normal register but in this piece this note should be there if possible.
 

MandyH

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#2
The F above the stave is within the “normal” range of a sax (assuming we are talking sax pitch here, ie Ab concert pitch) for a competent sax player.

A modern sax would “naturally” play to F#, before harmonics and obscure fingerings are needed.

I suspect a beginner to intermediate player would struggle to pitch it well, however, but would succeed with practice.
 

Pete Thomas

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#3
Hello. I compose music and want to know if the note F over the system is considered very high for alto sax or "normal"/common. I not want to challenge the normal register but in this piece this note should be there if possible.
Are you talking concert pitch or transposed?

Concert pitch F is top D, easily within the accepted ranged.

Concert pitch Ab (ie alto saxophone F) is the "conventional" top note but that has been extended by manufacturers making F# and are recently G keys. However notes above F (aka altissimo) using various overtones and fingerings have been around and accepted as mainstream technique for many years.

Soloists should have no problem at all, the only issue is if you write for the very high notes (F and above) in an ensemble, either unison or harmonised tutti.

I would avoid that as in the context of ensemble parts it really is best to stick within the traditional range, the more you get into altissimo the more wayward intonation can get.
 

nigeld

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#4
As said, it depends on what level of expertise you are expecting.
For a professional or good amateur player, a top F on a saxophone is not a problem, but for an intermediate amateur it might depend on the context. For example, starting on a high F, or playing one right after a low note might be a problem.
 

Larris

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#6
Thanks for the answers. This is part of a march. From the letter G to H alto sax 1 lays one octave over alto sax 2 and the F horn section, and euphonium. Sounds great, but still worried about the hight ;)
 

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GCinCT

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#7
Thanks for the answers. This is part of a march. From the letter G to H alto sax 1 lays one octave over alto sax 2 and the F horn section, and euphonium. Sounds great, but still worried about the hight ;)
I don’t know if this helps, but I am an intermediate alto player and I wouldn’t have any problem playing that passage. With practice of course.
 

Larris

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Europa
#9
Every comment helps a lot, thanks everyone. I play brass myself, it`s difficult to make an opinion without asking when it comes to questions like this. I mean... it`s not possible to know without asking the players self I think.
 
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