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 altissimo register playing
Author: ted 
Date:   1999-09-29 15:09

I have prepared and struggled with pieces which occasionally call for the altissimo A or Bb like Weber's Concerto #2, Grand Duo, and Rossini's Intro Theme and Variations.

I have found that reeds that feel very resistant (hard) to me, and therefore require more air, work better in the altissimo register. However I don't like my tone as much in the other registers with the harder reeds. Also, by the time I get to the part with the very high notes I'm so exhausted by playing on the harder reed that it's hopeless for me anyway.

I don't know how much this factors in, but I play with a double-lip embouchure, Portnoy BP02 mouthpiece, Mitchell Lourie 3 reed, and a Leblanc L7 (bore is 14.8, slightly larger than an R13 but not as large as an older big-bore Selmer).

I'm looking for any suggestions for getting these notes to squeak and also to get them in tune. It would be great if the reeds that I'm normally comfortable with would work.

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 RE: altissimo register playing
Author: Kevin Bowman 
Date:   1999-09-29 18:48

Any reed that works reasonably well for you in the clarion range should do OK in the altissimo. Be careful not to bite or pinch these higher notes. Practice long tones that slur from the lower notes to the harmonics, such as:
C-G(clarion)-E(altissimo)-A(altissimo). Try to make each transition with breath support and voicing only - make no change in the embouchure. As you go from the low note to each higher note, convince yourself that you are still playing the lower note (so your embouchure will not move). A real easy interval to play that emphasizes the "no embouchure movement" concept is low F to altissimo F with the long fingering. Play low F then "exchange" the RH F/C key for the LH C#/G# key (and the register key). I can usually get my students to do this interval shortly after the embouchure is set and they are venturing into the clarion register (at about 12-15 weeks).

Also - I know you want to stick with the same reeds, but you might want to look into a reed with a thicker stock, such as the V12 or the Grand Concert Thick Blank.

Kevin Bowman

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 RE: altissimo register playing
Author: Evan Weigel 
Date:   1999-09-30 01:25

I have found that playing high, in tune, or actually just hitting the ntes is as much with the throat and tongue as fingering. I remember watching a jazz player, I don't remember where, he played a chromatic run from a high C up to a high, high C all fingering with the low E/B Key, Ive seen sax players do this with overtunes too.

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