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Discussion Starter #1
I've been struggling with the third overtone for a little while. I was taught that it should mainly be achieved with throat position, tongue position, and air, as opposed to embouchure changes. When I mess around with my throat position to try to get up there, pretty often my gag reflex is activated and so it is hard for me to voice it. I think my normal throat position is fairly open. I can reach the third overtone if I apply a lot of force with my abdominal muscles, basically overblowing it, but at that point I can't really play it quietly and controlled.

Does anyone else have any experience or advice with the gagging problem?
 

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I get the overtones by changing my tongue position more than anything else. You change your air with you tongue. your tongue should be in a high arched position like when you say the K sound. From there you experiment with variations of this tongue position. Check out this exercises. It is really good to get your tongue going.
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?53228-Tone-Production
mouthpiece only exercises will help too.
 

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Can you get the fourth one? Or are you stuck to the 3rd? Is it easier on certain notes?

You do have to apply a lot of pressure with your gut. You need air speed AND air pressure (a lot of fast air) to play overtones soft.

It's also about the direction of your air coming in the mouthpiece and /or the reed.
 

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Thanks for the exercises; I've never done the "sliding" down an octave on any notes below D before. Really using tongue position is something I've struggled with besides generally altering it when I play up high.

I've never gotten the 4th overtone before. Generally the lower ones are easier (I can get to three overtones pretty easily on Bb and B, C is where I start having problems).

I think taking more mouthpiece is certainly helping, as I'm starting to get G# (an altissimo note I've struggled with) pretty consistently.

Thanks for the help!
 

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I've never heard of someone feeling the gag reflex when doing overtones. I have a pretty strong gag reflex and have never had a problem while doing overtones. I'm wondering if you might be doing something wrong or unnatural in your attempts to get those notes. For me it's the same movements as when I voice the notes to sing up high. It's similar to that movement with the back of my tongue and vocal chords.
 
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