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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
drakesaxprof - When you add a note at a time with your students, do you treat them as regular notes, nothing special? Do you get them to go through the whole harmonic thing before adding a new note? Or just straight into it?
 

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phYx said:
drakesaxprof - When you add a note at a time with your students, do you treat them as regular notes, nothing special? Do you get them to go through the whole harmonic thing before adding a new note? Or just straight into it?
It varies--sometimes an individual note will come up in the context of a piece, say the G in the Creston Sonata Mvt. III, and I'll show the student a couple of fingerings, making no big deal about it. Most often, though, I lay the groundwork through overtone studies. When they can reliably hit high (palm) D and F from the low Bb fingering without biting or altering the embouchure, then they're ready to deal with some fingerings. Rousseau's book is particularly good, as it has many fingering options for each note, and provides a number of useful exercise for connecting registers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Thanks again everyone. I took perhaps another step in getting good harmonics and altissimo today and dropped off my tenor at the repairers. I knew it was in poor condition but when I saw all the leaks with the light in the body I knew it couldn't wait any longer. When I get it back next week I'll revisit Rascher's book, possibly check out Rousseau's, and maybe things might come a bit easier.
 

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Our covers band does some Billy Joel tunes, such as "Big Shot" and "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant". Both of these have sax parts that I consider to be "written" (as opposed to improvised) and which require altissimo if played as they were recorded on the tenor sax.
 

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harmonizerNJ said:
Our covers band does some Billy Joel tunes, such as "Big Shot" and "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant". Both of these have sax parts that I consider to be "written" (as opposed to improvised) and which require altissimo if played as they were recorded on the tenor sax.

Sax parts for a rock song are a completely different story than charts for, say, a middle school, or even a high school concert band. I only saw one song my entire high school career in jazz band that required me as the lead tenor player to play an altissimo G, and that was this insanely hard song we never played.
 

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Then after you learn it you begin the arduous task of learning WHEN to play it
 

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The irony is that you have to spend a lot of time on the tone, intonation, articulation, etc.. and then the answer to maestrolites' post becomes an epiphanous "very sparingly." This is usually followed by years and years of using those ice-pick to the forehead notes in far too many innapropriate. Ultimately, do not let it be your fate to have to relocate to another city as you may have warn out your contacts by being known as the "king of squeak."

;)
 

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For me, working on the altissimo range was and is rewarding in and of itself, but doing the necessary preparation work with overtones improved my tone, my control, and therefore my playing overall. I'd say that learning to play in the altissimo range, or working toward playing in it, is VERY worthwhile.

Also: I use very high altissimo pretty rarely, but up to B4 has become as much a part of my ordinary vocabulary as F3, say.
 

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If you're going to be playing classical at a high level, I would consider altissimo studies to be absolutely required. Anything else...I would say "highly recommended." Everything you have to do to achieve proper altissimo will benefit you as a sax player, and you'll see improvements throughout your entire range. It's something worth at least looking into, as it seems you are.
 

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hgiles said:
Seems to be more common in rock than in bebop and traditional jazz. But being musical is more important than theatrics.

Too true! Altissimo can be used so beautifully by players like Evan Parker, Brecker, and Trane, but then you've got players that leave you wishing that the sax was limited to a one octave range.
 

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Much of the classical repertoire (perhaps not the core pieces, but pieces you'll likely find in college) utilizes the altissimo register. A lot of contemporary jazz musicians use the altissimo register as well, Chris Potter, Mark Turner, David Binney, Rick Margitza, Ted Nash, George Garzone, even Dick Oatts are all names that come to mind. Even some of the older cats (Sonny Stitt and Eddie Harris) played there frequently. It's no longer: "I can do without it," or simply something for flash. One day, you'll come across the Albright Sonata, Distances Within Me, or you'll start hearing the melodies up an octave and if you haven't cultivated the ability to play in the register, then you're SOL.
 

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I agree with Sonic. Whoever says altissimo is not necessary or an important thing to learn on sax, you are definitely fooling yourself. Especially if you ever aspire to becoming a proficient classical and jazz saxophonist.

Several pieces of the standard saxophone literature require the altissimo range of the saxophone, and if you don't know how to do it, you can't effectively play the piece. As far as a jazz solo is concerned, altissimo adds a lot of spice to your solo and definitely lets you stand out as a sax player.

Like the star NBA player, he didn't get that way because he had the natural knack to slam dunk. He definitely had to work at the technique required to do so before he could achieve the goal of slam dunking. It's no different with altissimo. One has to work at it before it becomes attainable. It took me several months of struggling to get a G3 on tenor before it finally came. Then after that, it was just a learning process. If you work at it, you will achieve it. It's not something that just comes naturally; if you're a sax player and you work at what you do I will guarantee that either you will achieve altissimo one day or you already can do it, and you can do it well (especially if you practice it).

Anything with saxophone (altissimo, alternate fingerings, multiphonics, other special stuff) is a practiced art; if you work at it, you will get it with time.
 

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I've discovered that I can easily hit Altissimo when I'm doing scales, but arpeggios and regular playing make it rather difficult. I actually use Altissomo fingerings for high E and higher. They're so much easier then using the side keys, and with practice sound as well or better. If you've ever scales/arpeggios upper octave(s), let's just say that going from C to F is easier when you don't have release one key and depress four.
 
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