Saxophone High Tones by Eugene Rousseau

Saxophone High Tones by Eugene Rousseau

Last updated on February 9, 2023

Saxophone High Tones by Eugene Rousseau – A Systematic Approach to the Extension of the Range of All the Saxophones: Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Baritone

Saxophone High Tones by Eugene Rousseau (second edition) is one of the best books covering saxophone altissimo and overtones and you should have it in your library, aside with Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound (David Liebman), Top-Tones for the Saxophone (Sigurd Rascher) and Saxophone Altissimo (Robert H. Luckey).

The book begins with the author’s prefaces to the first (1978) and second (2000) edition, foreword by Claude Delangle and fingering chart for the normal range.

Getting Started

In this chapter there are a few words on saxophone embouchure in Larry Teal, Marcel Mule concept (as I see it) and overtones explanation, followed by overtones exercises (more on this topic in Top-Tones for the Saxophone by Sigurd Rascher). This is followed by excellent explanations about saxophone acoustic and venting. The chapter also has an extremely useful explanation about venting with high F key, associated exercises, fingerings employing front F key and guide how to adjust front F key/high F key combination for optimal venting. After that some advanced overblowing and venting techniques are explained: overblowing sixths, venting with high F# (if available, obviously), overblowing fourths above sixths. All this is well accompanied with numerous practical exercises while keeping in mind saxophone family peculiarities, eg. separate exercises for soprano, alto, tenor and baritone.

Fingering Chart for High Tones

In this chart there are s several combination for each particular note. Again, there are separate charts for soprano, alto, tenor and baritone. This chart used in combination with charts in Saxophone Altissimo by Robert H. Luckey is probably all you need regarding altissimo fingerings.

High Tone Exercises

A generous number of pages are dedicated to exercises and patterns, with all scales covered (major, minor, whole-tone, diminished, pentatonic). There is enough material to keep you busy for a very long time.

Articulating the High Notes

Here the author offers a few words about tongue position and tonguing high notes with accompanying exercises. He also mentions a phenomenon and feeling occurring in the throat, although I think this could be quite subjective, actually. In my opinion this is more thoroughly explained in Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound by David Liebman.

The conclusion is that this book and the other three books mentioned here before cover most of the ground needed for a strong altissimo range. Keep in mind to figure out what works the best for you on your own instrument(s). The book is affordable ($30 plus shipping), and can be bought at Amazon.