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Discussion Starter #1
Was not sure where to post this but hoping someone can help.

Been playing for nearly a week now and I am familiar with the normal notes. I am trying to learn to use the octave key and can play the higher notes. Currently I cannot play the high G - D.

example D

:line4:

I press
L1,2,3 and R1,2,3 and the octave key but the note comes out as a normal D. I have noticed that on notes G-D when pressing the octave key the valve at the top of the sax does not open but does when playing A, B, C.

With G - D I can play the notes but only by pressing my tongue against the reed but this is not the way they are meant to be played.

Can anyone help me in finding the correct findgering for these notes, I play an alto.
 

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J, you have the correct fingerings. I would first LOOK at your horn as you finger through these notes and make sure the octave side key, (little bitty key that opens above your L1). When you play any note with the octave key below A, the top octave on the neck should close and that key should open. If it isn't opening, find a tech.

If it IS opening....we need voicing lessons. Biting the reed is not a good thing, you were correct there, but the embachure does in fact tighten as you get into higher registers on your horn. However, much of this you'll find is done in your head, not neccesarily in your mouth. Do this, play the lower D. sing that note. Now, play the D again. Ok, now play the D, then sing the octave above it.Now, with that octave higher note in your head, play the D with the register key and think about the upper octave note you have just sung. You will begin to HEAR that tone in your note and if you will continue to sqwauk at it you will play that "middle" D.

However, if your high A, B,C etc are playing, it's probably a hardware problem and I could have saved this paragraph...=P

- Pat
 

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Your fingering is fine J.

As Pat said, there are two octave keys controlled automatically by the thumb button, one on the neck, one on the side of the body. Depending how many of your left hand fingers are down, either the side or the neck hole will open. The side key should open and the neck close as your third finger goes down. (I think!!!...I dont have a horn in front of me and I dont usually have to think about it!)

From the sound of it I suspect there is a problem with the mechanism. Can your teacher get your horn to play the octaves correctly?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Migraine777 said:
J, you have the correct fingerings. I would first LOOK at your horn as you finger through these notes and make sure the octave side key, (little bitty key that opens above your L1). When you play any note with the octave key below A, the top octave on the neck should close and that key should open. If it isn't opening, find a tech.

If it IS opening....we need voicing lessons. Biting the reed is not a good thing, you were correct there, but the embachure does in fact tighten as you get into higher registers on your horn. However, much of this you'll find is done in your head, not neccesarily in your mouth. Do this, play the lower D. sing that note. Now, play the D again. Ok, now play the D, then sing the octave above it.Now, with that octave higher note in your head, play the D with the register key and think about the upper octave note you have just sung. You will begin to HEAR that tone in your note and if you will continue to sqwauk at it you will play that "middle" D.

However, if your high A, B,C etc are playing, it's probably a hardware problem and I could have saved this paragraph...=P

- Pat

Hi,

It apeared that the octive valve above L1 was sticking. I have not corrected that and it is opening correctly and can play F - E now. I think you are correct with playing D & G. With D either it quarkes or returns to low and G just quarkes.

I think I need more practice so any advise with that would be grateful. They seem to be the most difficult notes I hav come across so far.
 

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As for exercises, once you get that key fixed, the middle D is a hard note for some players because in harmonic progression you got from C, all holes open, to D, all holes closed. So it's a tricky one to say the least, if your octave mechanism isn't working correctly it'll be nearly impossible as a beginner. The G is kind of the same story, without the side octave pad opening, you're going to have a hard time. My only quick fix suggestion is to play slowly INTO those notes. i.e. - C.....B.....A.......G...... and see if you can make it stick. lower to higher sometimes will work too, d.....e.....f....g.....and/or drop your bottom jaw, remember pressure comes form your lip, not your teeth, so put the horn in your mouth, play a comfortable note for you...A or B....and then think "Ohhhhhhhh". Try it before putting the horn in your mouth, put your hand on your chin, make a normal playing embachure than say "ohhhh" and you'll feel your chin drop down. Now try that playing a note, and ultimately try that playing your hard to voice notes.

- Pat
 

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In order to find the correct embouchure position, play an F#(alto) or A(tenor). Then, take off the mouthpiece and match that pitch. This is a concert A on alto and a concert G on tenor.

When you get those pitches, put the mouthpiece on the horn and blow the same way. It should help.
 
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