Do you have trouble getting altissimo notes to come out reliably or even at all on your saxophone? Every saxophone player has struggled with this. At the end of this post you can sign up to download the accompanying lesson worksheet with altissimo fingerings as well as some exercises to practice. Before We Begin Here are the some important things to keep in mind: You have to practice a lot to get any consistency and fluidity in the altissimo range. The best saxophone players miss altissimo notes frequently, you hear it on recordings all the time.
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Do you have trouble getting altissimo notes to come out reliably or even at all on your saxophone? Every saxophone player has struggled with this. At the end of this post you can sign up to download the accompanying lesson worksheet with altissimo fingerings as well as some exercises to practice. Before We Begin Here are the some important things to keep in mind: You have to practice a lot to get any consistency and fluidity in the altissimo range.
The best saxophone players miss altissimo notes frequently, you hear it on recordings all the time. With the amount of work needed to get good at altissimo, you may need to ask yourself if this is the best way for you to spend your practice time right now. You might do better to focus on other things first. In the Core Essentials program I show you the three main sound exercises I do every day that allow me to get the altissimo range on my saxophone.
I learned this from Donald Sinta in a master class a long time ago, and when I started doing this, it unlocked these notes for me. So first make sure you know your front E and F fingerings and start practicing some basic exercises using them instead of the palm key fingerings. The fingerings for front E and front F are identical for all saxophones.
The elongated oval shape represents the front F key. The shape of this key varies from one brand of saxophone to another so yours may me a different shape. Yes, Overtones Help Everyone says you must practice overtones in order to get altissimo notes out. This is unquestionably true, but we are not going to get into that in this lesson. My favorite overtones exercises are also in the Core Essentials Program and they will definitely help with altissimo, a lot.
The best I can do is equate it to singing. Pretend as though the reed is part of your body like your vocal chords. Just as your vocal chords vibrate as you sing or speak pushing air past them, the reed also vibrates in a similar manner. It helps me to imagine the reed on the mouthpiece vibrating as though it were a part of my own body that I can control just like when singing or speaking. One Altissimo Note at a Time Start by learning 1 note at a time. The note you should begin with is High F.
I know you probably have a high F key on your horn. This is one of the hardest altissimo notes. For alto sax, just add the side Bb key and it should pop right out effortlessly. On tenor I put down 1st finger right hand and lift up middle finger left hand and put down side Bb.
All of these fingerings are on the downloadable worksheet. No need to force or bite. Just play nice and relaxed with a firm embouchure and good air support pushing from your diaphragm. Think of just sliding from front F into altissimo F. On the worksheet you can download, I give you the fingerings that I use. Altissimo fingerings are slightly different on alto and tenor and they even vary from one saxophone to the next. Watch my video on how to play altissimo on the saxophone. The second is a common alternative.
See which works best for you. You should now be able to slide right into a high G by lifting up 1 or 2 fingers depending on the fingering you use. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. No need to fill out this form for existing members.
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How to Play 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. Before you start learning extra-high notes You need to be able to play the higher notes of the actual register C3-F3 strongly and with confidence, using not only palm key fingerings but also aux F fingering for F and E. Even if you can play these higher notes of the normal register with confidence, make sure you have developed your low notes. There is no point in learning altissmo if you are still unable to play low notes quietly. 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.
Altissimo on saxophone