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Discussion Starter #1
At first, I was happy just to get alitissimo notes to play reliably and with a decent tone, and I feel I can do that (to a certain point anyway). My use of them so far was as kind of the long high note screams when appropriate, but hadn't really made them start to feel like just another note in my reportoire, mainly because the fingerings felt awkward.

Lately I have been playing a lot of alto, and am doing a song which requires me to go E3-F#3-A3-F#3-A3 in quick succession. Going from palm F# to altissimo A was impossibly clunky. But I remembered seeing lower altissimo fingerings for the palm notes (I suppose they were used more before palm keys were around?) and found some suitable fingers that make that transition a lot smoother. What works for me is fingering E3 like its a G2, but holding down the front F key. F#3 is similar, but I use the fingering for a Bb3. And its works great. The notes a re a bit more unstable, but I have gotten used to it. And now I feel like the lower altissimo (up to Bb at the moment) are starting to feel as useful as any other notes. But this only works for me on alto, my attempts to do it the same way didn't work on tenor or bari.

So I am thinking about how to expand my comfort zone higher on the alto, and also catching up on my other horns. Its all fine and good finding a fingering that works on a particular horn, but finding a series of fingerings that work well together seems like a much bigger problem. And it seems I will have to go through this process separately on each of my horns.

Are there ways to make it easier on myself? Are there series of fingerings that work well together for particular reasons? Given that I now have the chops to make these notes sound, what should my expectations about playing in this range comfortably be with respect to fingerings? Is it a fools errand to strive to think of these notes as just another note in my range, not harder to use than any other?

Also, mechanically speaking, why so much variation in fingerings that work form horn to horn?

Thx!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
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Altissimo fingerings are relative. Two different people can play the same altissimo notes on the same horn with different fingerings. They can also play different altissimo notes using the same fingering.

Altissimo is a state of mind.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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16 count long tones soft to loud to soft on all notes above F sharp. I used to do that every day up to High D (octave about palm D) This is on Tenor. I took a lesson from Al Garth of the Eagles band and he said he couldn't do what I did. Really gives you control and ease up there. You want them to feel like regular notes? Just my 2 cents. K
 

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SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Going from palm F# to altissimo A was impossibly clunky.
Best fingering I've found for altissimo F#:

octave key, x/o/x, x/o/o + low Eb.

It is a very easy transition from there to altissimo A:

octave key, o/x/x, x/x/x

That's on tenor, but I assume it would work on alto (I rarely play alto anymore).
 

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On alto and tenor my high F# to Altissimo A fingering:
F#: 8va, Front F, O/X/O, side key A#. Altissimo A: 8va key, O/X/X. (I think that is about 20 cents flat on myvtwnor though. Maybe closing the right hand table keys would help)
 

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Different fingerings are useful in different contexts. As in, i'll use one fingering if I'm approaching an altissimo note linearly vs if I'm approaching it by leap. Learn as many fingerings as you can...and then practice melodies up there to see what works when.
 
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