Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
how do you produce altissimo. i have been told it is just controlled squeaking, but im not sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
184 Posts
Most players get lousy altissimo because their mouthpieces are upside-down. The reed should always be facing up. Apply your top teeth directly onto the reed. The tone is especially rich and full if you finger a low Bb or C. Excellent controlled squeaking.

Next, turn the mouthpiece around. Finger a low Bb or C and work at it until it sounds as high as with the mouthpiece facing up.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,487 Posts
doug lange what are you talking about?!?!?!?

try working on internal harmonics before altissimo, so you can get 5 or 6 overtones off of low Bb or low b and then try an A
play the correct note onn the piano and use the fingering 23 LH, 123 RH
and 'redirect the air' through the mouthpiece until you find it, it is likely you will hit a top D the first few times but keep trying that and practising internal harmonics until you can get it all sounding really clean, and then find a harmonics fingering chart on the web and let rip, try loads of fingerings, find what works for you and don't forget long tones ;)

enjoy.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
Joined
·
8,322 Posts
SearjeantSax said:
doug lange what are you talking about?!?!?!?
It's a joke. Responding to the joke in 3#. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
432 Posts
Yep. Overtones.

Start with the first few off of low Bb through D or so. At first you'll be experimenting with how to hit the overtone initially. Eventually you'll figure out how to stabilize those notes and play them at will. Try to hit overtones off of progressively higher notes. I found it particularly useful to practice all of the overtones off of the lowest notes until I could go from the first overtone into altissimo range. By then it's just a matter of looking up and figuring out the best fingerings that lend themselves to both the altissimo you want to play and the speed you might need to play it at.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
25,993 Posts
SBramblett said:
how do you produce altissimo.
You change the way you blow, basically. You'll want to squeeze the air flow a bit by raising your tongue slightly towards the roof of your mouth as you blow.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
Joined
·
8,322 Posts
Demolisher_2000 said:
Your advice in 3# is a joke, isn't it? If not, it seems like a pretty bizarre and unreliable way to produce true altissimo notes as opposed to some random squeaking. I suppose "random squeaking" might be fun in some contexts but I wouldn't rely on it much for normal playing. Or am I missing something here? :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,302 Posts
Pick up any or all of these resources:
Rousseau-Saxophone High Tones
Rascher-Top Tones for Saxophone
Dabney/Sinta-Voicing
Try amazon or eble.com
It's a large and fairly complex subject to address on the board--approach your teacher about it, assuming that you're studying. If you're self-taught, it makes the above resources all that much more important. The advice about working on overtones is right on target--fingerings are secondary to control of air speed via voicing.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
5,076 Posts
SBramblett said:
how do you produce altissimo. i have been told it is just controlled squeaking, but im not sure.
Everything is relative, I suppose. If altissimo is controlled squeaking, then so are all the notes on the instrument!

just tried that upside down mouthpiece thing: wow. didn't help my altissimo, but my sinusitis is absolutely cured!:shock:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
184 Posts
I was half-wit, er, half-right with fingering a low Bb, which was a very veiled reference to developing the control necessary to play the higher partials.

Study the books mentioned by drakesaxprof. If you don't have a private teacher, try to get a few lessons. The technique can be difficult to conceptualize without someone demonstrating and helping you through the process.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
you can play a b flat major scale with just the low b flat key, b key, c key, c sharp key, d key and d sharp key. Using overtones of course.
 

·
The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum
Joined
·
27,650 Posts
WOW! That's all I've got to say about all the help he's getting. wow.

Steve - the key to developing an altissimo lies in getting a good foundation playing the overtone series and then taking it from there. And there are preparatory exercises to do this, as well. I find the first few pages (read them very carefully) in Rascher's "Top Tones" book (as mentioned by drakesaxprof) very helpful in this regard. Do these preliminary exercises and then start working on playing your overtone series.

You could supplement that by playing Bb2 with a bis key fingering and then quickly switching to the low Bb fingering but continue sounding the same Bb2 pitch. Do this back and forth for each of the notes, say from Bb to D. You could also get used to playing without the octave key in the middle to upper register where you usually would use it. This is to get your air stream and embouchure to used making finer adjustments.

Next I would play F#3 with an altissimo fingering. That seems one of the easiest to play. Go from a front F to the F#. See grumps' post about the tongue and airstream. I personally relate it to "tasting" the notes. For me there's a certain shape in the mouth, throat, tongue etc that I have so that I "taste" the tone a certain way.

Of course, now you need to find a set of altissimo fingerings (there is not one golden set) which work well for your horn. And primary to it all, you have to be able to hear the altissimo notes you want to play. You can't just hold the right keys down and blow and hope the right notes come out, like you almost can in the lower registers of the sax.

Hope this helps you out a little. BTW this is a long process for some, so don't get discouraged. Just work consistently at it.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
4,046 Posts
Grumps hit an important point. The tip of the tongue must pull back to get the need pressure to accelerate your air stream enough to hit the altissimo.

And you need to hear the note in your mind before you actually attempt it. Rascher calls it tone imagination I believe. At any rate you can't fly on auto pilot and ever have any hope of adding overtones and eventually altissimo to your bag of tricks.

First thing first though. Make sure your intonation is dead on. Make sure you've got a nice even pitch when you play long tones. Make sure you hear in tune and not just using an electronic tuner. Also learn how to bend pitches using your throat and not your lower jaw/lips, this is critical because certain overtones and altissimo notes are going to be way out of tune and you have a far greater ability to swing them back into tune using your larynx then you do using your lower lip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
Get John Laughters book Rock & Roll Saxophone. It will do wonders for your playing.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top