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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I've re-approached altissimo, I've come to wonder a couple things on percentages and statistics of those who use it.

THe main reason, is that I keep looking for a local teacher/mentor that I can work on altissimo with, but so far to no avail (I haven't exhausted my resources, its only been a weekend).

In that, I've come to realize that of saxophone players (And musicians in general) there are many who don't learn alot of what I always considered the basic fundamentals.

If we were to say that there are 1 million individuals in the world ( that # is probably way under the actual value) that play or have played the saxophone;

How many would you say learned the fingerings for low B and Bb?

How many would you say learned the alternate fingerings for Bb in the staff other than 1/1?

How many would you say learned more than their Bb and Eb scales?

How many would you say learned Bb, B and C overtones?

How many would you say learned altissimo from/above the High F above the staff?

These are questions that puzzle me. I live right near 3 universities with big enough music programs, and i've been to several saxophone concertos at each, but I've never heard any altissimo from any of the performers...
 

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TetsuoK said:
How many would you say learned the fingerings for low B and Bb?

How many would you say learned the alternate fingerings for Bb in the staff other than 1/1?

How many would you say learned more than their Bb and Eb scales?

How many would you say learned Bb, B and C overtones?

How many would you say learned altissimo from/above the High F above the staff?...
If you are talking about those who have stuck with playing the sax for more than a few months, I'd say at least 90% of them would have learned everything you list, except for the altissimo. I can't even guess the percentage who learn altissimo. Probably well below 50% of the total.
 

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I've never taught Bb as 1/1. Side or bis is all you need 99.999% of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I never learned Bb as 1/1. I had no idea that it functioned that way. I learned as side. Then I had an instructor understand the movement/changing of the hand positions depending on the key you are playing in, and how effectively the bisque key ends up working out.

As soon as I started doing that, I suddenly realized that 1/1 (actually 1/*) pushed down the bisque key at the same time.

As far as scales, I would have figured more people would know their scales.

THere's a kid who sometimes comes in and works at our music store. He has a very elementary knowledge of musical instruments -- very excited about them, but even only a basic idea of technique where it comes to saxophone.

The only scales he knows are Bb and Eb, and he's been playing for several years. He can play just about every note on the horn, and knows the basic fingerings, but he didn't know anything about overtones -- It wasn't taught to me in highschool, so why should it be taught to him at a school that doesn't have a manget arts program?

These are just things I wonder from time to time. Especially when i get depressed and i feel like i'm not advancing in anyway -- whenever I feel as though i'm not making progress, I wonder about how many people out there before me never even got as far as I did as far as knowledge and skill was, or people who just had a naturally better tone quality about them.


things that i think about.
 

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Actually I'd say a very low percentage of people that pick up the sax ever go about the task of practicing the overtone series.

The same goes for learning the altissimo.

I've had people in the past that say playing the saxophone is easy as they did it in school. I'll ask them about the overtones and altissimo and it draws blanks.

Those that have taken up the challenge of overtones and extending the normal range of the horn are on a much more serious quest then your typical person that takes up the sax. Many people become very frustrated when trying to master these two things and call it quits, not realizing that it comes in small bits and pieces over a long time.
 

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I'm a college player, and though I'm familiar with the overtone series I do not practice it on a regular basis. I suppose getting it down does result in some gained control, but I wasn't seeing much improvement in my playing when I was working on it.

Altissimo isn't such a necessity for the amateur or school-age player. I've played altissimo in a band piece once in my life, and it was in college. Adults who pick up the horn to play in rock bands don't encounter too many recorded solos that scream, unless one is covering Tower or maybe Foreigner's "Urgent," haha.

I suppose a bottom line would be that those who need to know, know. If you're having trouble with a technical passage that includes Bb, you learn or are taught another fingering. If an advanced high school student wants to "play as high as the guy on that record," he or she finds a way.

And, although I'm also hungry, you wrote "bisque" key TetsuoK. It's "bis" key. Bis is French for "half." Now for some soup ... :)
 

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TetsuoK said:
S
These are questions that puzzle me. I live right near 3 universities with big enough music programs, and i've been to several saxophone concertos at each, but I've never heard any altissimo from any of the performers...

Hmmm, interesting. I first played altissimo in the Hartley Duo when I was a freshman at university (1974).

The year before while in high school, I played 2nd alto in an all-area jazz ensemble where the lead alto player regular used altissimo in his solos (he went to Berklee the next year).
 

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thejoyofsax said:
I'm a college player, and though I'm familiar with the overtone series I do not practice it on a regular basis. I suppose getting it down does result in some gained control, but I wasn't seeing much improvement in my playing when I was working on it.

Altissimo isn't such a necessity for the amateur or school-age player. I've played altissimo in a band piece once in my life, and it was in college. Adults who pick up the horn to play in rock bands don't encounter too many recorded solos that scream, unless one is covering Tower or maybe Foreigner's "Urgent," haha.

I suppose a bottom line would be that those who need to know, know. If you're having trouble with a technical passage that includes Bb, you learn or are taught another fingering. If an advanced high school student wants to "play as high as the guy on that record," he or she finds a way.

And, although I'm also hungry, you wrote "bisque" key TetsuoK. It's "bis" key. Bis is French for "half." Now for some soup ... :)
Bisque is certainly tasty, but: IMHO, overtones should be a BASIC part of one's practice routine, regardless of whether you're using it to advance into the altissimo range or not. Once I started practicing the overtone series regularly I found that my tone changed much for the better, and became more flexible: I became much more able to make choices about timbre and to vary it by opening up the horn's harmonics. Very very important, I think.
 

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Yeah I agree the overtone series is a huge help with tonal control. It connects your mind with the instrument as you have to think about what your doing.

However the altissimo can be achieved without practicing the overtone series, playing the chromatic scale adding one altissimo note at a time until you get the hang of it and breaking it up into larger and larger intervals.

Some people have a problem finding a suitable space to practice this stuff that sounds like noise to others.
 

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78% of all statistics are pulled straight out of your...

I dont remember the statistics, but my sax professor in college had me read another player's dissertation from years before. the guy got videos of many sax players playing many tunes, and sat there watching them over and over waiting and looking for what Bb fingereing they used most. Bis Bb proved to be the most common there, FWIW
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
heath said:
Some people have a problem finding a suitable space to practice this stuff that sounds like noise to others.
Quoted for absolute truth.

If only my roommates and coworkers could understand why I keep wailing into the wee hours of the night and all throughout my lunchbreak. They just seem to think I'm being obnoxious.
 
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