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Altissimo Chart for Yamaha YTS-32 Tenor Saxophone

UPDATE (11 February 2024): Eleven years later, I’m now a parent who’s about seven years behind on practicing. I’ve lost my facility with altissimo, but am working on regaining it.  In the meantime, two observations:

  1. Experiment with adding a G# pinky key for these fingerings. Per a post over on Everything Saxophone, this definitely helps with getting the tone clearer and the pitch easier to play and more stable on the 3rd octave G, and may help with more, too. 
  2. On my (Antigua BS3220) bari, I find that the G# pinky key helps so much that altissimo G comes out even when I don’t hold the octave key down!

I’m holding off on updating this chart since I think I’ll need to completely redo it sooner or later. But I will share my discoveries, when I make them, and eventually revise the chart linked below as best I can. 

UPDATE (31 July 2013): Well, I haven’t made much progress on developing this chart, so I haven’t updated the PDF, but I can report a few discoveries:

ORIGINAL POST: I’ve been working on producing altissimo tones and including them in my scale and arpeggio practice, and enjoyed a major breakthrough in the last day, such that I’ve extended my range by almost an octave in only  few days’ work!

But the thing is, I found the standard altissimo fingerings in the books I have on hand, and have found online, haven’t worked so well for me. I looked around for something specific to Yamaha saxophones, and found a discussion of Yamaha-specific altissimo fingerings on the Saxontheweb forum. After inquiring with the user “soybean” I was generously and quickly emailed a PDF copy of a chart specific to Yamahas

That original chart (see below for a link) was helpful to me, but I found a lot of it didn’t work so directly for me–there were adjustments necessary, so I figured maybe it’s not just idiosyncratic to my mouth/throat/horn–maybe adjustments relate to differences between the different lines of Yamaha instruments, since the original chart was specific to Yamaha YTS-62, and I play a YTS-32.

So I figured, why not do up my own chart (using Bret Pimentel’s wonderful fingering chart image generator app), as a record, but also share it as a public service to anyone out there trying to develop their altissimo playing on the Yamaha YTS-32?

Note: this is a work in progress at the moment: there’s only one fingering per note, for example, and I’m not completely satisfied I’ve found the best possible fingerings for them all yet… so I’ll likely update this chart with workable alternate fingerings and cheats and so on (and will add the updated PDF here, when that happens); I also plan to experiment with the front high-F key and see if it makes any difference for some of these fingerings.  But I am currently ecstatic to be able to play all the way up to high E-flat with not much trouble–when a few weeks ago I was struggling to voice even just the lowest altissimo note, high-G) and I wanted to share my findings.

The main problem so far is that the fingerings for Ab, A, and Bb are somewhat prone to producing multiphonics unless they’re very exactly voiced. I have a feeling there’s a way to stabilize them, but haven’t found it yet.

Anyway here’s my chart:

The version above is obviously small, but never fear: if you right-click on the chart, you can download a copy… or just click it directly to view it onscreen if you prefer. (Here’s another direct link to the file.)

… and for your reference, here’s the chart I was given, and which I used as a starting point for working all this out.

I welcome feedback, by the way, from anyone who tries these fingerings out, or who as insights to offer, especially anyone playing on a YTS-32 (or a Yamaha horn generally). I’m sure my results will change as I experiment further, and of course there more, higher notes (though things sort of get plastic up way up there, and I’m not sure about how to proceed going higher than the spot I’ve reached) but I’m happy to take any tips, insights, or thoughts anyone else has to offer!

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