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Hi, I'v been playing an E. M. Winston WSA52 (semi profesional alto), since the 8'th grade, I'm in the 12'th now, i've got a Berg Larsen 110 mpc and I use Vandoren Java 3 reeds. To help my diaphram i use the blowing paper technique, for those of you who dont know it, u take a pice of paper in toyr hand, hold it about 1/2 arm length away from yor mout and blow it using the same technique you use while playing ur sax.

My problem is that I've never been able to play altisimo notes, is it a problem with the sax or do u need to use a different blowing technique?
 

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Altissimo requires manipulation of the muscles in the throat. This is also known as voicing. A prerequisite for altissimo is being proficient at overtones. Get the book "Top Tones for Saxophone" by Sigurd Rasher and work out of that. These muscles in the throat are below the threshold of feeling. Overtone exercises train these muscles by observing the results when trying to manipulate them. Training these muscles will greatly aid in playing altissimo correctly (ie. without biting).
 

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also though it is not often mentioned, leaks in the upper stack and that may not be as noticed in normal fingerings can really kill altissimo.
 

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I got Rasher's book the other day... but it doesn't really explain how to play the over tones. On Bb, I can get

Bb, Bb, F

but then the next Bb I don't know how to get, I've moving everything around that I know how to move. I've tried singing the pitch before i try to get it. I've tried hitting the key on the piano - all with no luck.

Any suggestions how to get the 4th overtone?

Thanks,

David
 

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I practiced overtones for about a month, and I could hit all the altissimo notes going up to high C afterwards.

I practiced with the low Bb fingering, hitting all the notes until I went to altissimo Ab (through overtones), then altissimo Bb. Before, altissimo was pretty impossible for me too.

You could try some different fingerings afterwards - I found that the ones on Cannonball's website work quite well:

http://www.cannonballmusic.com/altofingering.php

But all in all, devote 5-10 minutes of each days practice into working on overtones, and you'll get it down in no time.
 

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4th Overtone from Bb

David,

I'm working on my altissimo as well and it's proving to be very difficult for me to.

One way to "cheat" a little, at least with the series starting on low Bb, is to bump the side Bb key open a little while you are finger the low Bb. This will often help the note to pop. The other thing that I think works better is to have another player (when I worked on this with my teacher it worked for me) play the note you are trying to reach as an overtone. This sets the pitch up in your ear better.

Good Luck.
 

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When I started on overtones, I had a load of trouble for around 2 weeks. But after that, I started making rapid progress. Every 2-3 days after, I hit a new altissimo note. Now I've stopped at altissimo C to stabilize the notes so far.
 

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Kaminoan said:
Hi, I'v been playing an E. M. Winston WSA52 (semi profesional alto), since the 8'th grade, I'm in the 12'th now, i've got a Berg Larsen 110 mpc and I use Vandoren Java 3 reeds. To help my diaphram i use the blowing paper technique, for those of you who dont know it, u take a pice of paper in toyr hand, hold it about 1/2 arm length away from yor mout and blow it using the same technique you use while playing ur sax.

My problem is that I've never been able to play altisimo notes, is it a problem with the sax or do u need to use a different blowing technique?
Well your sax probably isn't the best for getting out altissimo, but you can still achieve them on it. Try opening up the back of your throat that always works for me. I'm a sophmore so I'm sure you'll be able to get them. Just fool around with a bunch of different ideas I'm sure one will work. Best of luck
 

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When I first started working on overtones I to had trouble getting the Bb, fourth overtone, and what helped me was hearing the note played. Not the pitch but the timbre as well. My teacher would play overtones with me and when I got that sound in my head the note would just pop out. After a while I did not need any support and all of my playing began to improve.
 

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As you go higher in the overtone series, the back of the tongue raises a bit. going for the feeling of ah, ih, and eee might help a bit.

Don't give up, it will come!
 
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