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So I've been trying to add altossimo to my playing and have been trying to get G out and have tried every fingering I've heard of and keep overshooting it and getting an altissimo D. How can I prevent this from happening? It happens on both my Lebayle Studio 8 and Meyer 5M so I know that it's me and not the horn/mouthpiece. Any help would be gladly appreciated.

P.S. I know this follow up question is not super relevant, but I've noticed that on the Lebayle, any time I use the front F key to play anything (F3, E3), it wants to squeak. Any tips on how to get that under control? I can do it on my Meyer fine, but I know that the Lebayle is a high baffle piece and therefore is harder to control, so any help with that would be gladly accepted.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Just to specify I am talking about alto.
 

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There are a lot of finer points that people will talk about like voicing, approaching it from different intervals (including from A above, which is a much easier and more stable note), and making sure you can play the matching overtone cleanly and with good tone. I'm learning all these things the right way now, so I'll give you the advice people tried to give me for about five years while I played lots of semi-fluent altissimo notes in mostly rock, blues, and funk bands: Stop biting!
I know there are lots of books for getting those 'off the horn' notes, but I'm having good results using the Lang Book. It stresses smooth approach using simple melodies and common interval patterns.
Good luck, and have fun...hope your neighbors like the sound :)
 

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How long and what have you been doing as far as overtones?

I had to work for at least 6 months on overtones every day before I was able to get just the first few altissimo notes. 10 Years later I still work on them every day. And they are only marginally better :)

Overtones can be boring at first. But once you start getting used to them there are a lot of cool things you can do with them that work your chops as well as your harmonics.
 

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There are a lot of finer points that people will talk about like voicing, approaching it from different intervals (including from A above, which is a much easier and more stable note), and making sure you can play the matching overtone cleanly and with good tone. I'm learning all these things the right way now, so I'll give you the advice people tried to give me for about five years while I played lots of semi-fluent altissimo notes in mostly rock, blues, and funk bands: Stop biting!
I know there are lots of books for getting those 'off the horn' notes, but I'm having good results using the Lang Book. It stresses smooth approach using simple melodies and common interval patterns.
Good luck, and have fun...hope your neighbors like the sound :)
Good you please be more specific about that book and give it's title and the author's full name? Also where did you buy it?

Regarding the OP's question, I have found that there are a lot of quirks to getting altissimo notes on different horns and with different mpc/reed combos. For example, on my Martin Comm III tenor I can get a really good G3 but only with certain mpcs and reed combos and not others. I have no insight into why that is, but generally it requires the hardest reed I can play for the specific tip opening. The other thing is that the finger that works best sometimes is Front F + G# and sometimes Front F + Bb side key + Alt F#. However, on my newly acquired R&C Vintage Deluxe I can't get it at all no matter what fingering I have tried from the long list of fingerings on that chart published by the Woodwind organization.

The other quirk is that on the Martin, the E, F and F# fingerings with the front F are actually louder and clearer if I don't use the octave key. I have no idea why that is, but on the R&C that doesn't work at all. The trouble is that I need it for the G, and of course for D on down so often I just play it with the octave key to not have to keep switching from using to not using it up there. Of course I suppose I could just play everything without the octave key at all and just play everything as the first overtone since I often do that for the second octave anyway, mainly to get more fluid in jumping back and forth between octaves within the same run.
 

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So I've been trying to add altossimo to my playing and have been trying to get G out s
Don't start with G, it's possibly the most difficult 9along with G#) Work on A and D. If necessary (and I may well be be shot down for this) put your teeth on the reed. It's wrong but if it lets you get the notes and (importantly) the sound of the notes in your head, then you ASAP do it properly without the teeth.

That method worked for me - wrong technique initially but I gained the confidence and ability to hear in my head the altissimo notes I could then get with the correct technique.
 

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I suspect you guys already know about the Woodwind Fingering Guide website, but here is a link:
www.wfg.woodwind.org
It shows many alternate fingerings for altissimo G (and everything else).
I'm just beginning, but it helps me to try the various fingerings and listen the differences in pitch, tone.
 

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Here you go. I have a photocopied version that a teacher gave me when it was out of print, but it seems it's been re-issued with a few updates. http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?126928-Rosemary-Lang-Altissimo-Book-Back-in-Print

I wish I had given it more then a token read-through when I started playing again in 2005.
Thanks so much for that link Mr. Perry. I really appreciate it and now am going to order the book. All I've really used to date has been the the woodwind charts of altissimo fingerings and blowing harmonics on as many notes in the lower register as I can. Also playing the upper register without the octave key, and harder still....and not yet mastered....playing the lower register with the octave key depressed.

Often times when I play G3 and can't get it because the mpc/reed is just not exactly right I get the D above quite beautifully. It happened to me at the blues jam I go to near the crescendo of my solo and it drew applause, which was great, but it was of course a fluke because I had gone for G. LOL. What they don't know won't hurt them when it works out well. :badgrin:

So I think for awhile I'm going to go for the D instead of the G and perfect that note and then work my way down. If I can get the fifth above I should be able to get the root equally as easy too, shouldn't I?
 

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Well, lets see.

Finger xox/xoo plus side Bb, Or xox/xox plus side Bb. Don't forget the side Bb.

Now.. think to give a little more lip and think to be applying that little bit of lip forward on your embouchure. Not talking of changing it... just think to do that (you'll find what I mean... somehow a little more lip is going to happen).

Blow taking care of do not bringing any sound.... but do not relax your embouchure. Increment your blowing..... slowly... it will pop.
 

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I've tried those fingerings without the Front F (but with the octave key) and can never get anything but the note of the fingering. In the case of this one, I'll get a Bb, and I suppose if I overblow, the F a fifth above that.
 

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Thanks so much for that link Mr. Perry. I really appreciate it and now am going to order the book. All I've really used to date has been the the woodwind charts of altissimo fingerings and blowing harmonics on as many notes in the lower register as I can. Also playing the upper register without the octave key, and harder still....and not yet mastered....playing the lower register with the octave key depressed.

Often times when I play G3 and can't get it because the mpc/reed is just not exactly right I get the D above quite beautifully. It happened to me at the blues jam I go to near the crescendo of my solo and it drew applause, which was great, but it was of course a fluke because I had gone for G. LOL. What they don't know won't hurt them when it works out well. :badgrin:

So I think for awhile I'm going to go for the D instead of the G and perfect that note and then work my way down. If I can get the fifth above I should be able to get the root equally as easy too, shouldn't I?
No problem! There are a lot of books for getting into the altissimo range, and this one seems to be helping me. I don't use a lot of the fingerings she recommends, but just use what works for you. I'm not sure any one of the books is better or worse than any others, just finding a method that speaks to you is important. There's no substitute for time on the horn.
 

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Forgot... it has to be with the octave key.... and of course, no front f on this.


Well, lets see.

Finger xox/xoo plus side Bb, Or xox/xox plus side Bb. Don't forget the side Bb.

Now.. think to give a little more lip and think to be applying that little bit of lip forward on your embouchure. Not talking of changing it... just think to do that (you'll find what I mean... somehow a little more lip is going to happen).

Blow taking care of do not bringing any sound.... but do not relax your embouchure. Increment your blowing..... slowly... it will pop.
 

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Is this alto or tenor? For me, xox/xox only works on alto. It will not come out in tune on tenor. That said, front F and side Bb, or just plain front F, both work beautifully on both horns.

My advice is to keep practicing overtones on low Bb, B, C, and C#, slowly, taking special care to only use your throat and airspeed to get the note, not embouchure pressure. If you really feel the urge, you can go above those. Really take some time (15 minutes to a half hour) to do this. Within a couple weeks, you'll notice improved control of every note across the horn, altissimo included.

Also, as you're doing this, keep trying to "hear" altissimo G in your head. Not just the pitch, but the tone quality you want. In the altissimo range, that has a large impact on what actually comes out of the horn. Your sound imagination needs to be quite vivid. Simply trying to play altissimo G every day will also help. When I was learning, trial and error of that particular note served to be the only thing that would work.

Good luck, this isn't easy to do, but you'll be glad you put in so much effort.

Craig
 

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With all due respect to Rascher there is no need for tone imagination or any of that BS.

Just play a lower regular range G and then that's what to aim for an octave up.

What's needed, is to feel out the Altissimo G using oral manipulations (voicing) and then once the G starts happening to sound it will probably be a bit shaky and the chances of instantly hitting it again are probably not that high, so the player just has to keep at it for say 10 minutes a day and then eventually they will register in their mind/physical coordination how to play the note more predictably and can then prepare their oral physical coordination (voicing) ahead of sounding the note and can then reproduce the note at any time.

Jazz Is All brings up a very good point about different reeds and different mouthpieces and different saxes resulting in different Altissimo note success outcomes, and that comes about when a player has only a limited or not very good oral and airstream control (voicing ability) and can't adjust very well to a new setup.

The technical terms would be that the player can't match their own oral impedance (voicing) to the note/overtone impedances associated with a particular reed/mouthpiece/sax combo very well, whereas another player with experience might be able to.

When I was trying to do Altissimo for the first time, I would be able to get a Front F based Altissimo F# note after trying for a couple of weeks but I had about 6 different Saxes and various mouthpieces and reeds, and I would move to a new reed/mouthpiece/sax setup and the Altissimo F# would come out like a mouse fart or some strange multiphonic or something else, and I tried adjusting the Front F key vent height and all of that and it helped in some cases a bit, but eventually all of these problems between different setups went away because I just practiced every day for 10 minutes and ended up with more oral/airstream control (voicing control) and more predicting power about how to hit the various Altissimo notes on various setups, so it takes practice and technique adaptation.

Altissimo G on Tenor is well known as an awkward unstable note and if someone is overshooting it and getting a D, then their airstream/oral voicing is not right for that particular reed/mouthpiece/sax combo and so they need to adjust some part of their airstream/oral voicing, but it's a feel thing and it can't really be calculated, so more practice is needed.

Softer reeds are generally harder to voice than harder reeds and it's because of impedances.

The player has an oral impedance (which they can vary to tune into a particular Altissimo note) and the reed/mouthpiece/sax has varying impedances for every regular note and every overtone and the high overtones have lower gear impedance than the regular range notes do (which is why Altissimo is harder to play than regular range) and every sax note needs a certain level of impedance to exist before the note can sound (that's why the Altissimo range overtones are hard to play, because they don't have enough impedance for a note to sound easily, as regular range does), so the player has to increase their own oral impedance for the higher overtones to sound and that's called voicing.

Voicing an overtone means that the player is trying to tune their own oral impedance (voicing) to the overtones impedance (gear impedance) so that the note will sound.

Softer reeds make the reed/mouthpiece/sax combo gear impedance level lower to some degree, which means that the player has to make up for the missing impedance by using more fine control of their own oral impedance and increasing their own oral impedance (voicing).

High mouthpiece baffles tend to increase the gear impedance, so if a player switches from a high baffle piece to a lower baffle piece or vice versa, then they will need to adjust their own oral impedance (voicing) for Altissimo.

It's pretty easy for a low baffle player to overshoot the lower Altissimo overtones when first using a high baffle, because the gear note and overtone impedances have changed to some degree due to the high baffle mouthpiece.

A new vs old reed changes the gear impedance to some degree and so do different reed types, so if the player can get Altissimo happening on a wide variety of different gear setups, then they have pretty good voicing (oral impedance control) abilities, otherwise they might tend to hang onto certain gear setups that might work for them in some way and might tend to be very finicky about reeds and mouthpieces etc etc, because if the reed or mouthpiece was changed then they might have trouble adjusting to the new gear impedance because their voicing ability (oral impedance control) is on the weaker side.

Impedance levels can also effect the intonation of the note and it's tone to some degree, and so softer reeds tend to be harder to intonate when playing higher overtones (Altissimo).

The players own oral impedance (voicing) can influence how an overtones intonation and tone will turn out to some degree, because impedance levels can have an effect on intonation and tone.

The mouse farts and strange multiphonics and unstable notes and animal sounds are all a result of the players own oral impedance (voicing) not being the right match for a particular reed/mouthpiece/sax overtones impedance (if the sax is working ok).

If an overtone has the right impedance associated with it (done by the player getting the right oral impedance match for the particular gear overtone impedance) then the overtone will generally sound and be stable.
 

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With all due respect to Rascher there is no need for tone imagination or any of that BS.
It's fine if you disagree, but you could be more civil about it than just calling it "BS." I happen to find it a very helpful technique, not only for pitch, but for tone.

I should add:

Most things in life are purely mental. If you think about something the right way, the body adjusts for you, without you even trying. This is true in every aspect of the performance of music. The more confident you are about what you hear, the more confident it will come out.
 

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Hmm, Saxpiece, could you define precisely what you mean by "the impedance of the reed/mouthpiece"? I'd be very interested to know...
The bore of the saxophone has a linear reponse and so it is convenient to use Fourier analysis to describe its reponse (this descrition is exactly the impedance as a function of the frequency) On the contrary the reed/mouthpiece is a non-linear device(*) so it can not be studied by Fourier analysis in a useful way -for a non-linear equation a sum of solutions is not a solution.

(*) This non-linearity is what allows a stable regime of oscillation to exist!

Added later: you may think I'm being pedantic but if you want to have a scientific discourse, it has to be meaningful and accurate.
 

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I can see what Rascher means (it does seem to come from Rascher).

Rascher seems to be saying that this "tone imagination" helps in voicing the note, and I say it's basically BS IMO.

I say it's BS because if someone is going for an Altissimo G or whatever then there are lower G notes to reference from and "tone imagination" doesn't come into it, because it's a case of zeroing in on that Altissimo G or whatever note using oral manipulation.

I think that Rascher's way of putting it is too simple and doesn't really explain what is required for a beginner.

All someone has to do is get the G note in their head from a lower G note, and then say to themselves "I'm going for the Altissimo G note" and I will have to do something orally to get it, and then if someone understands that they need to raise their oral impedance and force their airstream though a smaller oral opening by doing things like raising the back of their tongue (voicing) then they will be on their way.

Rascher has hardly anything about voicing in his book and I'm afraid that "tone imagination" doesn't explain much.

Having said all of that, I have nothing against Rascher and I think he was a superb player, it's just that his "tone imagination" stuff leaves something to be desired IMO.
 

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I can see what Rascher means (it does seem to come from Rascher).

Rascher seems to be saying that this "tone imagination" helps in voicing the note, and I say it's basically BS IMO.

I say it's BS because if someone is going for an Altissimo G or whatever then there are lower G notes to reference from and "tone imagination" doesn't come into it, because it's a case of zeroing in on that Altissimo G or whatever note using oral manipulation.
Okay, this makes sense. Although my answer to that is that EVERY note in every range should be voiced, and heard vividly in your head before it is played. That's how you develop a capacity to manipulate tone colors. I know we're probably getting off topic here, so let's leave this for another day or for another thread.
 

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Tone imagination is just another phrase for hearing what the note would sound like an octave up without being able to play it. Is that BS? Cause that's how your supposed to do it.....

I could (and am) certainly much more confused by the impedance remarks. If I was an engineer it might do me some good. I think there's something there. I'm not going to argue it. But IMO is useless for a beginning/ intermediate saxophone player. Maybe I subconsciously mapped out the impedance of my altissimo range with years of long tones, while paying attention to embouchure and air speed.
 
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