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I know I posed this video on an earlier post, but I have a question- How can I improve my altissimo range on the alto sax like grover washington jr did? What technique he is using to do that. From what I hear, I think his altissimo may be in the 4th octave.

When I try to get a high B. D or A, it doesn't match the pitch of his altissimo on alto sax. Im trying to emulate and play his music to improve my technique. I've been playing for 3 years now, I have a Meyer 7M with a 2.5 reed. I am happy with my sound.
 

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Try using different fingerings. Also try adding other keys to them to try to improve the intonation. I must also stress do long tones on your altissimo as well.
 

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Well, there is a whole Altissimo section at SOTW that any person could go through.

Unless someone is really clueless, picking up Altissimo techniques is not that hard.

Altissimo notes are just overtones that are in the Altissimo range which is anything higher that standard high F.

Altissimo is all about voicing and what is voicing, well, does anyone realize how many variations there are in approaching or preparing to play or playing a note, there are countless variations in air speed, the direction of the air ie up or down, in throat position in tongue position and embouchure position and hitting a certain Altissimo note or overtone requires a certain combination of the above or in other words a certain voicing.

There is really no one (in a book or elsewhere) that can tell a player where to position their tongue or throat or embouchure or what their air flow should be doing exactly.

The player can only be told general position and flow things and then the player has to feel out the voicing that works for a particular Altissimo note or overtone themselves.

Some players pick up Altissimo and overtone playing quicker than others and it's probably because they just have more feel for it, just like picking anything up, even bike riding or whatever.

Altissimo fingerings are just fingerings that might enable a certain Altissimo overtone to be played with maximum strength using a certain Altissimo fingering and the main part required is the voicing and not the Altissimo fingering.
It is possible to play overtones with any fingering up into the Altissimo range by just using voicing.

Anyway there are these general bits of advise on general positions or voicing to have a look at

Take a look at the "ALTISSIMO TECHNIQUE RECOMMENDATIONS" section in

http://www.google.com.au/url?q=http...jAAOAo&usg=AFQjCNEfscm7HLYts25jqXB-8s-xAsIQ0w

Take a look at the "Oral Cavity Manipulation" section in

http://www.google.com.au/url?q=http...jAHOB4&usg=AFQjCNHDtfq0dt5vn_Z9e3gHCEmD1L9ZfQ
 

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Well,I don't play alto but I practice all scales, appregios and chords within the soprano altissimo range. After many years of practice, it becomes solid. That is merely my personal way to improve altissimo.
 

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Developing precision voicing takes ages.

It's one thing going nice and easy from the Front F Altissimo F# note to the Altissimo G note but what about after doing a fast descending D major run from palm to to bottom D, hitting a Front F Altissimo F# note straight after at speed and even hitting an Altissimo F#, Altissimo A, Altissimo D arpeggio at speed straight after the descending run.

This means someone has to instantly change their voicing from low D to Altissimo F# and in the case of the Altissimo arpeggio after the descending run, has to instantly change their voicing from low D to Altissimo F# and then instantly change their voicing again to Altissimo A and then instantly change their voicing again to Altissimo D.

Also mixing notes from the standard upper (and lower) register with the Altissimo notes at speed for arpeggios and scales is another thing that takes ages even if someone can play single Altissimo notes or easy Altissimo note transitions like Altissimo F# to G.

These things need precision speed voicing because the voicings for different Altissimo notes are all different and the voicing between the standard range and the Altissimo range is different as well.

To improve these things takes a lot of practice, trial and error and time and it requires direct practice of what you are trying to do and not practice of just the low note overtone series.

Practicing the low note overnote series only helps somewhat when trying to mix the standard range with Altissimo scales and arpeggios and direct practice mixing the standard range with the Altissimo range is required.

The well known Classical players can do all this and some of the Jazz players as well.

If someone wants to get better at anything then they need to keep pushing into new territory otherwise they tend to stay where they are.
 

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I think the main thing for getting a hang for the "feel" of altissimo is practicing overtones and experimenting with voicing. Be prepared to practice this stuff for a while though. From my own experience I think saxpiece is being a bit brutal in saying "Unless someone is really clueless, picking up Altissimo techniques is not that hard." Some people seem to pick up altissmo techniques really fast and some struggle. I think having a teacher who plays altissimo easily would be a help.
 

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Hey Soprano - What is your range specifically ?
Me? You mean my soprano altissimo range? I am merely a bad example though many years of practice. I can only hit up to B5(the 2nd altissimo B) and no further. So the range is only G3--B5
 

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Sometimes I don't include the context very well.

I really meant hitting the common Altissimo notes by themselves in an exercise is not that hard to do for a fair few players after a while, it's hitting and using Altissimo in playing that is harder where quick voicing changes occur in sync with timing and phrasing.

Like from what I can make out in the clip, Grovers going from some low notes straight up into the Altissimo register a few times and sometimes playing other Altissimo notes up there as well and he has all the voicing transitions down pat in sync with timing and phrasing and that's a bit different from just hitting individual Altissimo notes at a leisurely pace in an Altissimo note exercise or a low note overtone exercise.

Integrating Altissimo and the different voicing changes in sync with timing and phrasing takes ages and a lot of practice and time by trying to do it directly.
Overtone exercises are very good but integrating Altissimo and the different voicing changes in actual playing is a step up.
 

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Altissimo is playable on softer reeds but probably takes more voicing control to do so and the really high notes might be hard to get.

Altissimo does seem to be a bit easier on harder reeds though.

Grover was playing 4 and 5 strength reeds and I don't know how he did it because they are like planks of wood to me.
 

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Altissimo is playable on softer reeds but probably takes more voicing control to do so and the really high notes might be hard to get.

Altissimo does seem to be a bit easier on harder reeds though.

Grover was playing 4 and 5 strength reeds and I don't know how he did it because they are like planks of wood to me.
Yea, it is very difficult to play strength 4-5. But is it possible he scraped down to around 3.5-3 in strength? Just out of curiosity, no offence to him at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Altissimo is playable on softer reeds but probably takes more voicing control to do so and the really high notes might be hard to get.

Altissimo does seem to be a bit easier on harder reeds though.

Grover was playing 4 and 5 strength reeds and I don't know how he did it because they are like planks of wood to me.
I know, they are like playing a door wedge. I have a Meyer 7M mouthpiece and I only use rico orange box strength 2.5 reeds on it.
 

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Me? You mean my soprano altissimo range? I am merely a bad example though many years of practice. I can only hit up to B5(the 2nd altissimo B) and no further. So the range is only G3--B5
The Second Altissimo B is quite a range on any horn. Thats great. I couldnt imagine what it sounds like that high on Soprano ? Whats the intonation like up there in the clouds ?
 

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The Second Altissimo B is quite a range on any horn. Thats great. I couldnt imagine what it sounds like that high on Soprano ? Whats the intonation like up there in the clouds ?
I merely use D10 to get it, it is the easiest piece for me to voice the high notes...Larger tip opening with high baffle perhaps can help me a bit. I find very high penetrating frequency after altissimo D, D4 and my dog often howls beyond that note(even though I think my intonation is OK, accceptable between D4 to B5, LOL). Just my limited experience.
 
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