Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I'm trying to develop altissimo, I have been doing overtone exercise for a little while on my alto (YAS-23). So far I cannot sound the F# (front-f) 0X0/X00 + side Bb. I typically try to slide from the F played with Front-F 0X0/000. I am using Jody Jazz 6HR with Java 2.5 reeds (no more luck with ZZ 3).

I rented a tenor and after 2 weeks I can actually play the F# using the same fingerings mentionned previously. I still have some difficulty tonguing it but I can play it legato consistently. It's a YAS-275 and I am using a Jody Jazz 7*HR with RJS 3M filed. Not used at having an F# key I realized there was one on it after managing to sound the F# using "altissimo" like technique.

So what can I try to "unlock" that note on my alto? Is my reed too stiff? Too soft? It is really frustrating that I can already sound it on the rental tenor after 2 weeks but cannot sound it on my alto despite doing overtone exercise for a few months :protest:

Thank you for any advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
472 Posts
Try the same fingering without the right hand F key.

Also work on harmonics while fingering a low Bb. That helped me to train my throat and tongue so altissimo became much easier.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,323 Posts
Altissimo is all about air speed and having a conception of the note you are after since you are essentially "fishing" for it in the harmonic series. For F#, it should be relatively straight forward, if you are using the front high F fingering and the side Bb. This is a tried and true fingering option. I came up with my own system for alto some years ago (http://saxophone.org/altissimo.html) and these work very consistently.

There are some really good techniques to learn mastery of overtones. My favorite one is to simply start with low Bb and blow the entire harmonic series without moving your fingers. You will get a "bugle call" effect, and you should be able to work your way up into altissimo that way.

I also recommend learning to play close multiphonics: (http://saxophone.org/multi.html) as they will teach you extremely fine control that you can get no other way. They are also very fun because you can play legitimate chords on the sax and impress your friends. :)

Lastly, another exercise is to simply work on diaphragmatic breathing so you have the air support necessary to hit altissimo reliably.

So, my final recommendation is to get the book "studies in high harmonics" by Ted Nash. It will get you the rest of the way on your journey.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,640 Posts
Keep practicing overtones on the low part of your horn. Then try playing palm key notes like E,F using the front F fingerings. Once you have a good grasp of that you will have a better shot at getting up higher on the horn. you should be able to play at least 8 overtones off the low Bb.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
If you're sliding from the front F, make sure that both your first finger and side Bb close at the same time--sounds obvious but sometimes some slight finger movements can throw you off.

If you're starting from the F# and still can't sound it, I would definitely make sure you have control of your soft pallet/ throat. When you say overtone exercises, which ones and how far up can you go? If you do it on the low Bb and can only get the octave, the fifth, then the octave again for example--that's great but if you can't the D and F (then the Ab+Bb altissimo once you really get the hang of em) you should keep on workin' in the shed.

Alto is a tricky beast, and quite frankly the larger bore of the tenor makes overtones+altissimo easier (I'm mainly a tenor player but do alto for classical and encounter of a lot of altissimo there as well). The ability to change your the shape of your throat is the key factor. Make sure when you practice the overtones that they aren't over honked or forced out, relax and understand what you do with your tongue and other parts of your oral cavity that makes you reach each overtone. You'll get the F# once you fully understand what you need to do in your throat.

Also as a separate note, make sure your front F isn't vented too much (ie opens too much). That can be the culprit as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
First thank you for all the suggestions.

I can play Front-F with good authority, and the Front-F E is getting there too. I am not sure I was having all fingers in-sync when sliding, I'll pay attention! Thanks.

The overtones of low Bb I can get the octave, fifth & the other octave. Thanks for hinting at what I should aim for in that series (D & F to start then Ab & Bb).

About a month ago I got the Rasher book and started doing the early exercises.

You mentionned the soft palate... now that could be an issue ... I no longer have it :banghead: (Snoring surgery and to those thinking about having it removed don't bother that works for the first 6 months only...) Growling (or whatever it is called) just using that part is now impossible for me :(

Nobody commented on my current mouthpiece-reed combo is it to say that combo should be good for altissimo?

What do you mean by "the front-f is too vented"?

Again thanks for all suggestions and advice (and links :) )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,411 Posts
Getting a new mouthpiece or trying a different brand of reed won't help. It may appear that way, but in the long run the only way to improve your altissimo is with practicing overtones and long tones. Don't expect it to come out after only a few hours, it's not that simple. Keep practicing and eventually you will get it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Getting a new mouthpiece or trying a different brand of reed won't help. It may appear that way, but in the long run the only way to improve your altissimo is with practicing overtones and long tones. Don't expect it to come out after only a few hours, it's not that simple. Keep practicing and eventually you will get it.
I didn't want to get a new mouthpiece but was rather trying to determine if my reed choice was adequate, I guess it is :)

As for practising count on me I WANT to play altissimo ;)
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top