A collection of etudes targeting altissimo passages in alto saxophone solo literature

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Steighner, Erik Vincent, 1981-

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Many texts and pedagogical works address the production of the saxophone’s altissimo register. The focus of these resources, however, is predominantly directed towards initial altissimo production for intermediate players, as well as fingering choices, scales, and brief exercises for advanced performers. There is a current dearth of longer studies and etudes designed to bridge the gap between short exercises and the demands of solo repertoire. In an attempt to remedy the relative lack of advanced instructional material, I have composed a collection of 14 etudes based on altissimo passages from the alto saxophone solo repertoire. The purpose of this project is twofold: to give players an opportunity to increase their technical proficiency in the altissimo register, and to demystify prominent solo passages by employing them in various forms. Chapter One illustrates the near absence of altissimo etude collections by surveying existing altissimo resources including books, magazine and journal articles, dissertations, and video and audio instructional materials. The chapter concludes with my views regarding successful altissimo production. Chapter Two discusses my original etudes, which draw upon numerous compositional methods (applied separately and in combination) of transforming and integrating musical material from the original solo excerpts. The 14 etudes are provided in their entirety in the Appendix. In general, they have a technical focus and are appropriate for performance during private lessons or master classes. Each one is relatively compact at one or two pages in length, with performance durations ranging from one to four minutes.