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Thread: Breath support on high notes, how do i do it?

  1. #1
    Distinguished SOTW Member piwikiwi's Avatar
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    Default Breath support on high notes, how do i do it?

    Hi I have a of trouble with my palm key notes, they are just really uncomfortable to play.

    A lot of people talk about breath support but I've never had someone really explain it to me. So please can you explain this to me like I'm 10 years old? I would really appreciate it.

    I can breath in correctly by the way it's really the breathing out that's the problem.

    To clarify: E, F and F# are the problem. They either play sharp or they don't come out at all and I know it's not my horn.(or my mouthpiece)
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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2012 dexdex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breath support on high notes, how do i do it?

    On those high notes, you need to balance 2 sometimes contradictory (at least difficult to balance) concepts:
    1. The general breath support, a steady and broad airflow, mainly pushed by the muscles below your lungs, actually your belly. This is needed for any wind instrument, including the human voice
    2. For high notes, you need to focus and speed up the airflow with the back of your tongue. Long tones will help to find the right airflow. It has to be focused, but not to much.
    A good exercise is to play them WITHOUT the octave key: this forces you to shape the airflow in order to switch naturally to the high octave.
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    Distinguished SOTW Member piwikiwi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breath support on high notes, how do i do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by dexdex View Post
    On those high notes, you need to balance 2 sometimes contradictory (at least difficult to balance) concepts:
    1. The general breath support, a steady and broad airflow, mainly pushed by the muscles below your lungs, actually your belly. This is needed for any wind instrument, including the human voice
    2. For high notes, you need to focus and speed up the airflow with the back of your tongue. Long tones will help to find the right airflow. It has to be focused, but not to much.
    A good exercise is to play them WITHOUT the octave key: this forces you to shape the airflow in order to switch naturally to the high octave.
    Thanks! How do I keep the back of my tongue up? With an EEEE sound?

    I just found a breathing exercise on a website(for singing) and I wonder if this is the correct feeling. They have a breathing exercise where you make a sssssss sound(not sshh) like a deflating tire or something.
    Selmer Reference 54 tenor, Stan getz legends series 6*, Rico jazz select 3H

  4. #4

    Default Re: Breath support on high notes, how do i do it?

    I had that problems for years, and found out that it was directly linked to bad embouchure control and breathing.
    What did it for me was to strictly follow Phil Barones excercises in the tone producing area.
    I started here http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthr...one-Production And moved to part 2 after one month or so. And that really did the trick for me. Feel free to read my latest post in the 'tone production pt. 2 thread'.
    I combine both excercises with one breathing excersises without the sax.
    Breath HEAVY in and breath slowly out , until your lungs are completely emptied. Repeat 15 times. The trick is to be focused on the way the air comes in and out. You will notice that you can alter the breathing so it be slower, faster, more or less focused, so experiment, vary, it will strenghten your diaghram (stomach muscles) which is important for good breathsupport.
    In addition i do a long tone excersise, holding each note for as long as possible, going from Bb3 to Bb1. And another overtone excersise.
    If it is your embouchure that need to be fixed - be patient. Do the phil barone excersise, and if that means that you can only play for 15-30 min, then stop, and recover. It sure can be frustrating, but after only circa 1 1/2 month of using this approach, i had a breakdown, and now people tell me i have a Charlie Parker/Sonny Stitt kindda sound - BIG breath support... Thats on my 1.000 euro altosax (Yamaha YAS-275 - Meyer 5M). I never imagened I would produce a sound like that.
    Focus is really important here. You need to be very mindfull if you decide to use this approach, and take notice of the things that's going on in your throat, tongueposition, embouchure and all things airflowrelated. Your embouchure needs to be relaxed when hitting the high notes. Again, Phil Barones excersices will help you here.
    Hope you find some usefull information.
    Cheers

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