Those are the things that are going to get the altissimo notes to come out for you consistently, in tune and with a good sound. Most altissimo notes have several different possible fingerings. Why is that? I start off all of my practice sessions with long tones and I play long tones over the entire range of my saxophone.
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If your attempts have been a bit frustrating then I have good news for you… you can do it! This can get silly and frustrate you even further because looking at a fingering chart and attempting 4 or 5 or 8 different positions for a high G is not the way to do this. The book is over 20 pages long with only half a page devoted to a fingering chart. It lays out a set of fingerings from F going up another octave and a half to C.
Personally, I think too much is made about every type and make of sax and saxophonist needing a bunch of different fingering positions to successfully hit these high notes.
I, just as Rascher claims, have played the same fingering positions on at least 10 of some of the most common and popular saxophones alto and tenor and had no problems whatsoever in hitting these notes with full control. Some horns will require an additional side key or 2 to improve the intonation as you will see below.
This is because the saxophone works within a scientific law we call overtones or natural harmonics. You can actually play it like a bugle, meaning you can play a series of notes using just one fingering position. This is what we do when playing overtones. This is also the most important technical thing you will need to master in order to control the altissimo notes.
Here is a guaranteed plan that you can do to master the altissimo range. This is a brief outline of my full course which is made up of 4 parts:. What does this mean? This ensures proper air support from the diaphragm.
Yes because when playing overtone exercises it will be hit and miss, so hearing the note first will make it easier , even more so later on when trying out the alternate fingerings. Simple but helpful ear training exercises for the more important and common intervals can be fun and easy.
You can probably hum or sing a perfect octave. Can you sing a perfect 4th? Some of you may be doing this already. If not, start with the low Bb fingering but play a middle Bb note. Go back and forth between these two notes, always keeping the low Bb fingering. The next note of the series is a middle Bb. Then a middle F, high Bb, D, F.
With this exercise you are playing the first 2 overtones; middle Bb and F. It will start to get a little more difficult after that but go as high as you can. The more of these overtone exercises you do the better you are going to prepare yourself for taking control of the altissimo range.
The first altissimo note most of us are going to go after is the high G. When it comes to getting the high G, the best way to approach it is off a forked F fingering:. The side key is optional but usually helps for better intonation.
Notice the basic finger position for the G below. After attaining a controlled F with the forked position just release the other 3 fingers keeping only the top key pressed for the G. Roll off the F to G without a break no breathe or tongue. This is the exercise you need to do until you successfully hit that G with control. When this happens, stop to think about the little changes you did. This could be tongue placement, lip pressure, throat opening, oral cavity, and air support.
When you get control of the G it may sound a little flat. Not to worry. The main thing is to get it first and worry about sharpening it up later.
Try adding one or both of these additional fingers to see how sharp it makes the G. The first one is to play the G key with your left pinky on the cluster. Then try adding the lower side key with your right index finger. Here is the 3 note exercise to get that High G as smoothly as possible:. Make sure you spend time learning just the fingerings until smooth, then with a continuous breath and no tongue… blow! As a saxophone player you must develop these few techniques in order to gain control of the altisimmo range.
Dan moreno May 1, am. Thanks for yoour tips. James Brown October 3, pm. Just dropping by to say thanks for creating this altissimo course, i had only been playing the sax for around 6 months when i started it. Within a couple of months i was managing to start to hit some of these elusive notes! Johnny Ferreira October 3, pm. Hi Johnny, very informative website. I was just wondering if you have ever tried using this method? Johnny April 9, pm.
I lay out 2 for every note. I rarely play those notes using a different fingering. Ade August 29, am. Its all dependant on the horn. G3 just pops out time after time. Nothing worse than hitting G3…and zilch. Watis McNeil September 19, pm. Jim Currie January 13, pm. Send me a copy of your altissimo alto saxophone fingerings. Your Website. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.
Learn how your comment data is processed. This is a brief outline of my full course which is made up of 4 parts: Part One — Solid Foundation What does this mean? Now actually play the 1st Low Bb overtones exercise: With this exercise you are playing the first 2 overtones; middle Bb and F. When it comes to getting the high G, the best way to approach it is off a forked F fingering: The side key is optional but usually helps for better intonation.
Here is the 3 note exercise to get that High G as smoothly as possible: Make sure you spend time learning just the fingerings until smooth, then with a continuous breath and no tongue… blow! He also does a version of himself playing the song over each specific track. His unmistakable sax sound is featured on many other CDs besides his own, many of which have reached gold and platinum status. Hi Johnny, Just dropping by to say thanks for creating this altissimo course, i had only been playing the sax for around 6 months when i started it.
Thanks for making my reentry to saxophone heaven stronger and simplified.
Altissimo on saxophone
The fingerings for these notes can be quite complex. They differ from instrument to instrument, the fingering chart here show fingerings which I have found to be most useful on many different saxophones, but you can experiment by adding or taking away fingers to suit yours. Although some teachers would say it is bad technique to adjust your embouchure in order to voice certain notes, the altissimo range can be an exception, and often just a little more pressure is necessary, but without undue biting. A good question, to which the answer might be yes and no. Harder reeds or wider tip opening on your mouthpiece may help get the notes, but very often at the expense of low notes. This way you will not sacrifice your low notes.
Altissimo Fingerings for Tenor and Alto Saxophone