Saxophone Forum


by BariDude
(3 posts)
9 years ago

Altissimo?

I'm a 16 year old aspiring jazz musician, and I play my bari sax every chance that I get. I am in a jazz band, and I'm actually starting to get pretty good at improving, and I want to add the altissimo register to my solos. I've looked up all I can about it, and mostly what I find is fingering charts. I've tried playing the fingerings, but I cant seem to get the notes out. Is there a special embouchure? A special reed or mouthpiece? Where do I start?

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  1. by jazzyjedi
    (13 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Altissimo?

    Hey BariDude. Someone may have already said this but I gonna say it just in case. Whoever it was that said practice overtones, they are absolutely right. They are the foundation of altissimo. When going through them, however, don't lip up. Use your tounge and your throat. Avoid changing your ambiture as much as you can. It may cahnge a little just naturally, just try to keep it form making a drastic change. The same thing you do for higher reg. notes( ex. high E) Instead of using your lip, raise your tounge close to the roof of your mouth. The object is fast moving, cold air. It may be a little hard at first but it'll come. Sooner than you may think. Make sure that you have a good control of your overtones b4 moving to altissimo, it will allow you to get stronger altissimo notes, like Chris Potter. If you practice overtones enough, you'll actually be able to play most of your major scales, off of the low reg. B flat. Just keep working, you'll get it.

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  2. by mattdude
    (74 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Altissimo?

    the best advice anybody can give you; practice.

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    1. by BariDude
      (3 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Altissimo?

      How can I practice altissimo if I dont know what TO practice?

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      1. by mattdude
        (74 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Altissimo?

        you try different things. how many years have you been playing?

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    2. by Bariboy
      (18 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Altissimo?

      i do altissimo on my bari. u have to practice overtones. start on low Bb and lip up and try to hit a F w/ octave. that's how u build ur embouchure b/c if u don't, u could really hurt yourself. if u need more email me.

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      1. by rob07
        (38 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Altissimo?

        I keep hearing about overtones, what are they exactly and how do you do them

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        1. by mattdude
          (74 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Altissimo?

          i think i'll probably be corrected on this, but this is my understanding. when you play a low Bb, the note you hear is actually a compliation of many different frequencies. in some instruments, some of the notes are more prevalant than others, but every different kind of instrument (not individual horn) is different. that's one of the things that makes up the quality, or tone of the sound. when someone says overtone, they're talking about all those extra frequencies above (not below) the note that you're actually playing. as far as i know, they start off an octave above the original note, then a fifth above that, then up to the second octave above the original note. once you get way way way up there, the frequencies will move in every half step (not too sure about that). so why do we want to practice playing overtones? because altissimo is basically just that, overtones. the fingerings for altissimo, if they're a weird fingering not in any normal note, then i've heard them described as being a 'combination' of more than one fingerings to create (and i'm guessing on this) an overtone that the two fingerings your'e combining share in common, so it'll pop out easier. again, i'm probably going to be corrected by someone who really knows what they're talking about, but this is my understanding. how do we practice overtones? well this is actually extremely difficult to describe. i actually discovered them on accident and then learned what they were. the easiest one would be to play a low Bb with the octave key. you should just play a normal Bb in the middle of the range of the horn. try adjusting your throat and/or embouchure until you hear it come out. when your'e first beginning, you'll hear the two octaves competing against one another in order to be the prodominant note. this is natural when you're first starting out, don't be deterred by this. when you can play it fine with the octave key in, try to play it without the octave key. stop the tone, release the octave key, and see if you can play the overtone. now see if you can go back and forth between the low Bb and the middle one with the same fingering. after you can do that easily, practice playing each one for as long as you can breathe. take in a big breath and blow until the AIR stops, not when you're about to stop so you stop it with your tongue. let your air just run out. do this with a tuner and try to get each note in tune quicker and quicker and stay perfectly in tune for the entire duration. next try to do the fifth above that. by now, with all this practicing, you've probably already done it on accident. it should sound like your normal second octave F. just try to get it with the same consistency, going back and forth, jumping around from note to note until it's all perfect, with long tones, pitch etc. then you can keep going up and up and up. this, by the way, will not happen over night. if you're as dedicated as you sound, it should take you a few days to a couple weeks before youc an get everything perfect like i've described. good luck. again, i'll probably be corrected, but this is just my understanding of it.

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          1. by mattdude
            (74 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Altissimo?

            wow i just realised how ridiculously long that post was. when you type this fast i guess, it doesn't seem that long. ;)

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          2. by JazzSaxAttack
            (14 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Altissimo?

            yeah mattdude I too came across overtones by accident, I was on a school horn and the octive key didn't work so I found a way to play anyways! I just found out recently what I actually had done

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          3. by EL Seano
            (255 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Altissimo?

            All the advice you guys have given Baridude is great, but I got a question for him. Why on Earth would you want to play altissimo on a Bari? When I climax on Bari solos I use the lower range. Though others have different opinions, I think the baris altissimo range is quite ugly (no offence Baridude) although the Bari is a great instrument. I'm just curious. Best of luck with the altissimo.

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          4. by BariDude
            (3 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Altissimo?

            You have obviously have not heard many professional bari players do a really HOT improv solo if you think it sounds ugly on the bari. From what I've heard from listening to jazz and reading up on altissimo, the bari sax can actually get their altissimo higher than any of the other saxophones because of the larger reed surface. I guess we're all entitled to our opinions though. Thanks for the advice guys, I'll work on what you have told me for a while and tell you how it goes.=)

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          5. by EL Seano
            (255 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Altissimo?

            You're right, I haven't heard too many hot altissimo bari solos from professionals. I mostly listen to Gerry Mulligan, who doesn't tend to explore the upper range of his instrument. Could you recomend any of these bari players who can make their altissimo sound good? I like being proven wrong :-)

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          6. by spifster
            (67 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Altissimo?

            I doubt he has any cd's but in the iowa city area there is a great bari player named bob thompson. During my jazz camp the juise big band played and he had a solo where he played almost entirely in the altissimo and it was amazing! He actually did hit higher than any of the alto or tenor players on the stage. he was incredible.

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          7. by martysax
            (148 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Altissimo?

            Listen to James Carter, he's got some wild-ass Bari chops with altissimo to boot!

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          8. by EL Seano
            (255 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Altissimo?

            *laughs* of course, James Carter. Silly me. Yeah I've got a bit of his stuff but haven't really sat down and listened to it. I'll check it out. I was also thinking of purchasing his album 'Gardenias For Lady Day'. Is it any good? I heard a preview of a couple of songs and they blew my socks off. Nevertheless, I'd like to hear some other opinions.

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          9. by peter090
            (155 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Altissimo?

            Nick Brignola is a tremendous and often overlooked player. He uses altissimo very musically.

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          10. by CajunSax
            (76 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Altissimo?

            this is all i am gonna say to all u Bari guys: Dana Colley - Morphine

            Reply To Post Yahoo!