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Altissimo - Brayden Pickett Dr. Lee MUS 243-004 Nov-5-2019...

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Brayden PickettDr. LeeMUS 243-004Nov-5-2019Altissimo in the Saxophone
Pickett 2Altissimo is a form of performing notes well above the staff line. The saxophone is unique in the use of altissimo, in that there are multiple factors that contribute to the altissimo. Many famous saxophonists from John Coltrane to Gerald Albright use altissimo to spice up their jazz solos, and some of the more classical route saxophonists such as Henry Cowell use it to convey their pieces emotions. There are many complexities that are involved in producing the altissimo which is one of the reasons why it causes such fascination, especially to young performers. What exactly is considered altissimo? Altissimo in the saxophone is any note higher than an F# on the staff. Altissimo is primarily used in jazz by avant-garde musicians that want to add something different and unique into their music. The altissimo in the saxophone is very complex for various reasons. A helpful altissimo warm-up for many saxophonists is long tones. This is especially straining on the saxophonist because they have to play some of the lowest notes on their horns with a lot of staggered breathing to get the best results. Another reason why altissimo is so difficult is because the fingerings used for each note is varied depending on the performer. Not every performer has the same fingering. That is why performers such as Lenny Pickett and Eric Marienthal have their own personal written fingering charts. Altissimo is also difficult because not only do you have to do a lot of overtone work and finding the right fingerings, but you also have to be able to aim for a particular pitch. Having a set pitch to go for in your mind creates a better likelihood of reaching that note rather than playing blind to the ear.

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Term
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Clarinet, Saxophone, Altissimo, Gerald Albright

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