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Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2008-2017
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Discussion Starter #1
Being an altoist I feel intitled to add some things... Lets see, altissimo notes, no reed biting allowed, and no whistles. Has to be an alwasy note, not "once played that...".

In classical playing some alto players do amazing things, maybe it is the setup they use... I play with Jumbo Java A45 and Plasticovers 3.

My top range? C5 and for the record, for having the system clear:

The first C, the low one, is C1, the middle C is C2, the high C, with the octave key, is C3, the altissimo C is C4, being it the first altissimo C. C5 may be the second altissimo C.

For 20 years of playing, some times I wonder if alto rock and roll really exists... I know it does, but for the thing I am talking about, Rolling Stones Rock and Roll and stuff, I think tenor has the lead. Maybe it is its harmonics... do not know...

Any way, any altoists there? Top of your range?

All the best,

JI
 

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Distinguished SOTW Columnist TSGT(Ret)USAF
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Rock and Roll Alto does exist although not as plentiful as the tenor.

Dave Sanborn had the Rock Alto market all to himself for a long time.

Also please listen to that "Harden My Heart" Alto solo by Quarterflash's

sax girl Rindy Ross.

I used to play Rock Alto sax in a Jimmy Hendrix, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep cover band in early 80's club

scene of Anchorage, Alaska.

The Alto can really cut through all the Guitar and Synth decibles levels much more effectivly.

I played on a Selmer Mark 6, Brilhart Ebolian 5* with 4 Java's, and my mike had all this reverb!

It was a total trip. (fuzz, tape delay, Flanger,wow wow pedal)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, it is not so common.

Not that common. Just look at the replies that the tenor thread got, a lot of them. So far, here I do not expect too many replies.

Altissimo in alto at notes like F4, and higher starts to get really dificult.

I can imagine your band and I am imagining some Smoke on the Water with an alto sax doing the Richie Blackmore guitar solo. I have done it, sounds cool.

A4 in alto is not common, but it is a C for guitars and pianos, so it is useful. I hit it with the F#3 position. It is the same useful position for D#4.

All the best,

JI
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So, No Alto Rockers Around?

My fears seem to be true! No Rock and Roll Alto!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Buuuuuaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Nobody cared for altissimo rock and rolll in alto saxophone...

Snif, snif...
 

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OK OK I'll bite.

D4 and it happens more on blues type songs than rock ones.
On rock type songs I usually follow the original solo with just a few segments of improv. thrown in.

I consider myself primarily an alto player but that tenor sure sounds sweet in rock and blues.
 

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I play lots of rock with my alto and frequently prefer it to tenor precisely because of its natural cutting power and ability to soar above the guitar, drums, and keys.

Alt is always so much easier for me on tenor, though, maybe in part b/c I've never practiced it as much on alto since it already has a pretty high tone center. I like F#3, G3, G#3, A3, and C4. I'm talking in Eb, not concert pitch. Above that, you might as well be blowing on a blade of grass.
 

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Discussion which follows is in alto sax notes and in alto keys rather than concert keys:

F4 with a good tone and plenty of volume, although I don't use it all that much. I had to nail it in university (33 years ago!) for the Rascher "Carnival of Venice" that has a whole musical phrase from F3 to F4.

F#3, G3, A3, Bb4, C4, and D4 really wail for me with very little effort, but I hold them in reserve for climaxes so that they have lots of impact. One well-placed note in a climax moment beats a mess of screaming mush every day of the week.

Bb4 is easy to get on most makes of horn, and it is a great bluesy note in G major, or for the blues IVdom7 chord in D. A4 really sings, and fits all over the place in keys of D, A, G (great ninth!), F, and as the major 7th in Bb. The A3 to D4 progressions sounds fantastic at the right moment.

Lately I have fallen in love again with blues in the extreme # keys (guitar keys of G, D, A, and E), which have a wonderful edge on alto (in alto keys of E, B, F#, and C# respectively).

Since tenor falls in the same range as male vocalists and guitars, alto seems to cut through the mix better (fewer competing notes in its voicing register). I love playing tenor, too, but some songs just cry out for alto, IMHO.

Sax Magic
 

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Hey Zorroperro,

I didn't plan on playing alto tonight, but my soprano will just have to wait untill tomorrow. Your question kept nagging at me. I just discovered I can hit a pretty strong and consistant D4.
I did not know I could go that high:D !!!
I played the altissimo chromatically.
Funny thing though I still struggle with G3.
I'd like to blame the horn, but I guess I just have to find the alternate fingering that will work on my horn.
Thanks for coming up with the self test.
I agree alto R&R is not a large body of work but some of those solos are so memorable like the one on Supertramp's Logical song.
 
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