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Jazz Sax Lessons: High Notes: Fingerings & Sound

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[MUSIC]
Okay now we're gonna work on altissimo
note fingerings, high note fingerings,
this is I know this is what
you've been waiting for.
So you already may be playing these notes,
you may already actually
be fantastic at them.
There's a lot of possibilities as
far as fingerings are concerned,
for altissimo notes.
They are just a matter of
capturing those overtones.
And so you might have
seen other fingerings than the ones I'm
describing to you now and the ones that
you're seeing on my fingering
chart that I've provided for you.
but I wanna give you my fingerings
that I use and have used for a long,
long time and
I think you're gonna enjoy them.
So the actual altissimo notes we're going
to work with are From F sharp up to D,
okay, so.
[MUSIC]
So those notes are the ones
that I'm gonna show you.
Leading up to that F sharp
though I wanna make sure
that you got the alternate notes for
E and F natural below it.
So you know that E normally is
our two side keys over here,
the two closest to you.
And a high E key over here on
the right hand vertical stack.
But the over tone or
the alternate fingering, which takes you
into the overtones for that fingering.
Is just like G except, so one, two,
three except you're gonna put the first
finger here on the plateau key.
[MUSIC]
So for every single note we're playing
I've got the octave key down.
So that's you just know we
always have our octave key down.
So by that E fingering,
it sounds a lot different than
the traditional E fingering.
[MUSIC]
So, be aware of that.
But if you're playing, if you're going
from E to F sharp, as you're about to see,
the fingerings are very,
very similar as opposed to going from
the traditional E to that new altissimo or
high note fingering for F sharp.
And so it's awkward, especially if
you have to go back and forth, so
in that case,
you'd wanna start with that E fingering.
Okay, so one, two, three actually one
being up here on the plateau key.
For the F,
F natural it's the same fingering except
you're just lifting up the G key.
So you just have the plateau key and
the A key down.
Again with the octave key.
[MUSIC]
Traditional and this crossover.
Okay.
So now for the F sharp.
For us alto players,
the F sharp that I always use is that same
F fingering, except now we're
just gonna add the side B flat.
All these fingerings,
by the way are on your fingering chart.
So there's no mystery or anything.
So, if I go too fast, or it's unclear for
any reason then you've got that chart
right there that you can download.
So F sharp is same as the F fingering,
one plateau key, A key and side B flat.
[MUSIC]
Okay on tenor it's the same fingering but
you're gonna put down your F key.
So you're gonna hold this key,
that side B flat and the F key down and
that makes that note
come out way more easily.
For G, we're gonna play one,
three, one, three.
One and three in the left hand,
one and three in the right hand.
[MUSIC]
okay it pops out really well.
So as a little side note here
with this bisque key right here,
our note right here, sometimes our,
that G fingering can be a little flat and
so you can adjust this screw.
Can you see that okay, this screw right
here to open, it's a can of worms so.
I hate to bring this up but
I am bound to do that as your teacher.
You can open up the screw so
that when you press down on
the yeah on the F key down here,
like you would if you're playing one and
one B flat, that key goes down by itself.
If this key is loosened, this little
lever comes up a little bit and
this key would come up.
I prefer to keep mine down.
The higher that bisque key is set,
the sharper the pitch of the note will be.
But it also makes the note
a little less stable.
When I play G, it comes out great and
part of that reason is that B is set,
the bisque key is set all the way down.
But mine's also pretty in tune.
So, if it were a little under,
I'd have to consider bringing that up.
So, the only difference from this
point on between my alto G and
my tenor G is, I just play
the plateau key and the side B flat.
So when I play F sharp, I'm using this,
so I've got my F fingering plateau.
And A and F.
And side B flat.
So for the G I just let up on the G key.
Sorry, let up on the A key and
let up on the F sharp key and boom.
So, it's just these three keys,
my plateau key, my side B flat and
the octave key, okay?
That's G.
So for everything else now,
I use the same fingerings on everything,
even soprano, if my lip can take it.
So moving forward,
I'm gonna G sharp, which you can see
on your fingering chart right there.
If you have any questions,
it's just G with the side C key.
[MUSIC]
Okay, that is
a tricky fingering.
I don't know what it is but
it hits the overtones funny and
its always a squirly note.
So just know if you're having
trouble with that one you are not
alone as you might find out.
In our video exchanges.
I love for you to play these for
me and send them to me.
We're all gonna see them and
we can all learn from each other.
You guys may even have some
fingerings that I am unaware of.
So it is an exchange so
I'm happy to steal from you guys too,
so some of those fingerings.
So anyway, so that's G sharp, okay,
on tenor or alto or soprano or
bari or whatever.
So, one, three, one, three.
Not one plateau key,
one as in B key, okay?
So, one, three, one, three, and side C.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
So now we're going to A.
A is simply just,
in the left hand, two and three.
That's the short fingering, two and three.
[MUSIC]
Okay.
On, on tenor, I lied.
There is one little difference.
On tenor you have the option of,
of bringing down your right hand so
that you call that your long-fingering.
It thickens it up, I don't know
that it affects the pitch really.
But it kind of beefs that note up on alto.
I never really actually do it but
[MUSIC]
you can really hear on the attack that
it's a pretty immediate
attack even on the alto.
But it's kinda one of those cool things,
just like on the A in the trick
licks where I play the A and I went.
[MUSIC]
Okay, you can kinda scream on
your high A and bring these notes down and
you can get this cool effect too.
[MUSIC]
And if you just play the high A and
kinda go nuts with your
right hand you get.
[MUSIC]
So there you go, that should be in
the trick licks, but anyway you
heard it right in the octave key.
Okay so next fingering B flat.
So here's kind of a shortcut for you.
From this point on, with one exception,
but basically from this point on,
all my fingerings are just overtones
of fingerings you already know.
B flat, we're going for high B flat,
is just the overtone of C sharp, okay, so
open C sharp.
I'm not playing anything
except the octave key.
So
[MUSIC].
Okay that note can be squirrely just like
the G sharp, not just like the G sharp,
it can be squirrely like the G sharp
in a totally different sort of way.
It's wide open that the horn is open,
there's no fingers down,
you haven't got any meat happening.
So one great trick to
thicken up the sound and
lock in the intonation is to bring down
the three key, the G key,on the left hand.
[MUSIC]
So by bringing that
G key down it really does
help solidify the pitch.
It's a little,
well it's not terribly awkward.
But it's very different if
you're thinking about again,
just going from the fingering I'm about
to show you, the ones you already know.
So, well let me continue on and
then it'll make more sense.
So the high B now is the overtone of D, so
that if you will the altissimo
B is the overtone of high D.
So our B flat was C sharp Now high
altissimo B is the overtone of D.
See where we're going with this?
Now our B.
[MUSIC]
So all I'm doing between those,
I didn't change my embouchure
right there or anything,
but I just, well that's not really true.
Actually, to play these altissimo notes
you do use a little more pressure.
It's all about making sure
the air comes forward.
A little preamble to what we're going
to talk about in terms of the sound of
these notes, but anyway make sure that for
this note as well If you really want
to lock it in intonation wise just like
on the B flat below it this is a B.
fingering is just like high
D with our side high D but
bring the G key down too and
it brings the pitch down a little bit cuz
otherwise sometimes it's
gonna be a little high.
So,
[MUSIC]
that's very noticeable, right?
Without the key it's real sharp.
And it sounds thinner.
So you bring that G key down and it tunes
it right up and it thickens it right up.
Okay, so now we're going up to C.
And C is the overtone of E flat.
So C sharp, D C sharp, D, E flat.
Those are the fingerings for
the alto somotos.
B flat, B, and now we're on C.
So
[MUSIC]
again the pitch is real
noticeable with out that side,
without that G key here.
Third key down on my left and
the pitch is real high so bring that down.
Beyond that, the second to last note,
is C sharp or in harmonically mentioned.
D flat and that's the overtone of,
you guessed it, E.
So if I'm playing C sharp
[MUSIC]
so when you're that high
it's a little bit hard.
Just by playing the notes with plenty
of air it's gonna keep it in tune,
you just have to be aware of that but
you can keep your G down for that E.
Now it's getting kind of cumbersome,
you're playing this E with this G key,
everything else doesn't feel It's
not that big a deal actually.
I always feel fine that when I'm
playing it I play that E I'm already so
stratispherically high already
that bringing this down
doesn't matter all that much.
It's not as noticeable of a difference,
I guess it is.
So if you can bring that G key down that
note is going to be even more in tune.
On F the next of the last note,
the overtone of F which is D our last
note that we are going to work on.
You cant even get to that anyway if you
are pressing down on the fingering.
So, so the fingering,
one of the two fingerings,
for high D, is,
well altissimo D is high F.
[MUSIC]
So the bottom one's is the F
below it, the actual fingering,
and the target note is up top.
[SOUND] And then the alternate fingering
for that note is just simply the octave
key on all these, and
then just the plateau key by itself.
[SOUND] So that note actually comes out,
it's a little,
I tend to use more my side, you know,
the overtone of the F fingering,
because that's the fingering
that we're used to.
It's on the main body of the horn,
as opposed to that plateau key F
which is totally the only time you
would ever use this fingering.
But as you can hear it's got some oomph.
It's got a little punch, that perhaps the,
side F overtone fingering doesn't have.
Okay, so there's your fingerings.
If you got any questions about those,
it's on the fingering chart.
Let me know if you have any other
questions, that are, whatever.
But, in terms of the sound of these notes,
I can just tell you, all you want to do.
Is make sure that you're pushing your air
forward in the same way as you do with
the rest of the horn.
You know,
if you're playing lead trumpet than yeah.
You're working you know your tail off and
you're sweating and the higher you go.
The, you know the more you know
you're crunching that mouth piece.
It's not sure I don't wanna say that
you don't use any more pressure up top.
You do, it's higher.
But remember, just like the rest of
the sound on all the rest of the horn,
the sound that we're creating is
created by the vibration of the reed.
The more the reed can vibrate,
the more sound you're gonna have.
The less you chomp down on the reed.
And the less pressure you put on that
reed, the more it's able to vibrate.
Okay?
So and
it's a combination between your air,
moving your air and
projecting your air forward across
the reed, through the horn, and
all the way to the wall as I've
used it as an analogy before.
So don't think.
If you're having trouble
getting a note to come out.
Usually it's not that you aren't
using enough pressure here,
almost never is that you're not
using enough pressure here.
It's just simply that you're
not using enough air forward.
I'd be lying to you if I said
that your gear doesn't matter.
You know, there are certain mouth pieces,
this is a metal Beechler number 7,
and it's a great mouthpiece.
I've been playing it for 26, 27 years and
it's really friendly up top like that.
Certain mouthpieces aren't gonna be so
much so but I can tell you that
over the years I've seen every
possible combination of you know horn,
mouthpiece, ligature, reed,
neck strap, you name it.
And I've heard players play altissimo
better than me on every
set up you can imagine.
So don't feel like, I got to go out and
spend that couple of a hundred bucks on a
piece just so I can play these high notes.
It's not true at all.
Okay, so, make sure you're
moving you're air forward.
Make sure the air is moving forward and
you're creating a nice
sound on these notes.
If you have any questions regarding these,
as much as my ears hate to hear
my voice say this, please send me a video
of you playing some of these high notes.
I'd love to,
I'm kidding I definitely want to hear.
Your high notes and if you're having
any trouble which you may have,
please let me know.
Send me a video.
Show me the problem, and
I will help you correct it.
All right.
Enjoy playing your altissimo.
[MUSIC]