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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm just about to enter my second year at university as a saxophonist, and during my second year my university will be holding soloists auditions for musicians to perform a concerto the following year. I aim to audition so I'll be playing the concerto in my third year, but upon researching some great pieces I've discovered that I just can't seem to find any substantial concert works that don't use altissimo? I have plenty of strengths as a saxophonists, but one of my weaknesses is most definitely altissimo. I can only hit a G about 50% of the time I try and haven't gotten any higher than that; and i've been trying for a while. Since I have to audition at concert standard during my second year, I know I won't be zipping around there perfectly by that time.

SO my question is, does anyone know of any concerto works which aren't all up in the stratosphere and perferrably don't use any altissimo at all, and aren't like *ridiculously* fiddly? I play alto, soprano and tenor, although sop and alto would be preferred, and I can audition to play a piece with our wind orchestra, our University Philharmonia, our society Sinfonia or our string orchestra. I am by no means a crazy virtuosic player but my teacher has definitely reassured me that I have the skill to do a concerto and has encouraged me thus; I just didn't realise there are soooo few substantial works which aren't so frickin high :( I realise this might seem like an odd ask to all you sax veterans who have probs been shredding the top notes for decades, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! :)
 

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If you've got a couple of years, you might as well just get the first half dozen altissimo notes under control. That G is the tough one. Everything else will come pretty quickly. Sadly, you have to devote about 20% of your practice time to altissimo so you can use it tastefully in about 2% of your playing, but it's not all bad news. The learning of it, improves your playing across the instrument, and once you start improvising, knowing you have those notes in your arsenal expands your playing.

PLease use it sparingly though - I absolutely hate hearing smooth jazz cats battling it out mostly playing altissimo, but hey - maybe that's why they call them cats...it sure sounds like it.
 

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Please use it sparingly though - I absolutely hate hearing smooth jazz cats battling it out mostly playing altissimo, but hey - maybe that's why they call them cats...it sure sounds like it.
Love that!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I can get the G out with maybe 50% reliability, and when I can it doesn't sound too awful? Honestly, that was not too difficult; my teacher showed me the fingering and it took me less than five minutes of puffing and huffing before I could get it out! But the rest of the notes completely elude me however much I try, despite having seen in several places that like you say, the G is the hardest note to get out! Guess i'll just keep trying to get up to that A :eek:
 

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The fingerings are different for different brands of horns. The ones usually printed are for Selmer and Selmer clones. What do you play?

Glazunov is altissimo free but there are some fast passages. But it will be hard to find a concert without a
fast passages and altissimo. Maybe you should direct your attention to your weaknesses for a while? :)

Altissimo is not difficult once you understand how it works. The G is a bit tricky (assuming we're talking altos here).

Try A3 (finger a D#2 and lift your left index finger) or C4 (finger D2 and lift both long fingers). You could also try playing the palm key notes and try to find the sixth above (D3->B3, E3->C#4) by pushing your lower jaw a bit forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The fingerings are different for different brands of horns. The ones usually printed are for Selmer and Selmer clones. What do you play?
I play a Yangagisawa 901. Thank you for the suggestions! I've been working on my altissimo and gotten up there a little now, but it's super ropey lol. Guess I've gotta just deal with it lol and try and get good enough for the concerto.
 

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As others have said, it depends on your setup. I have found it sometimes simply takes a while to find the right fingering. My high G is one of my easiest altissimo notes: 1, 4, ta, high F#, besides the teachers who taught it to me, I've never come across anyone else who uses this fingering, and it's by far the best one for me. I can squeeze it out with just the 1+high F# if I have to (most people I know use this one), but it's more difficult.
 

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Hi MusicMadtm

I have written a concerto for woodwind doubler and string orchestra which propably might interest you. I'll premiere this piece in 6 weeks with a local orchestra. It has 5 movements, the first is for tenor sax (up to f#) and the fourth for soprano sax (up to d). The other movements (originally bassoon, clarinet, flute) can be adapted/arranged for saxes of the players choice.
I don't know if that fits the bill of a "substantial work", but you can can have a little impression here (internal sibelius sounds):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi2ipvyaSYc (there are some minor changes in the actual version)
I you'd consider playing the piece I could send you the orchestral material and the solopart arranged for sax.

Best regards!
 
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