A literature review of prominent saxophone altissimo pedagogy publications

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2023-04-20

Authors

Ferst, Joel

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Abstract

Since its invention in the 1840s by Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax, the saxophone has grown rapidly in both repertoire and pedagogy. Sax applied for, and received, a 15-year patent for the instrument on June 28, 1846, which covered 14 different versions of the original design ranging from sopranino to contrabass. The instruments were split into two series: a group pitched in F and C, speculated to be for orchestral use, and a group pitched in Bb and Eb, speculated for use in French military bands, which became the standard version. The original, non-transposed keyed range of the saxophone was in treble clef and went from B below the staff to the first Eb above the staff. The non-transposed keyed range of the modern saxophone spans two and a half octaves, from low Bb below the staff in treble clef to high F# above the staff in treble clef. It is clear from writings and accounts by Hector Berlioz, a close personal friend of Adolphe Sax, that a four-octave range was always envisioned. Through the manipulation of the oral cavity, which in America is most commonly referred to as voicing, saxophonists can isolate the harmonics in the natural overtone series to extend past the keyed range to achieve a range of up to four octaves. This document will serve as a literature review of prominent pedagogical literature about the extended range of the saxophone, as well as include sections discussing the process behind producing the extended range above the keyed range of the saxophone. This document will also address different methodologies and approaches.

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