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Fred Bayer | Rosenheim | Germany | (+49) 8031 86550 | fred@bayerf.de

Tubax altissimo fingerings

The following fingerings have proven most practical, but are by no means the only ones possible. Additionally, it's perfectly possible to play even higher, but here control becomes increasingly difficult since the harmonics are spaced more densely.

The sample Harlem Nocturne (2,7 MB) shows the entire range of the Tubax, from low bb0 upto ab4.

For mechanical reasons, keys 2 and 3 as well as 5 and 6 are linked, so the heavily used altissimo fork fingerings 1-3 etc. are not available on the Tubax. In compensation, there is the altissimo key A which provides totally new fingering options.

The rightmost column Harmonic tries to explain the fingering acoustically. Because of the conical bore of the saxophone, the harmonics are spaced wider than theoretically expected, namely the shorter the air column is, the wider are the harmonics spaced. For example, the third harmonic of c#2 is not g#3, but a3, a half tone higher. The third harmonic of eb2 is between bb3 and b3, thus not usable at all. For this reason, b3 is played as fourth harmonic of bb1. Not until the d4 can be fingered as a third harmonic, this time of f2, which is a whole tone higher than theory predicts.

The fingerings are written similar to The Woodwind Fingering Guide. Additionally, the note graphics have been taken from there.


Note Written Fingering Intonation Remarks Harmonic
e3 e3 T EbD---|E--- OK standard side 2nd of e
T f-23|--- much too sharp standard front, not usable 3rd of g
f3 f3 T EbD-F--|E--- OK standard side 2nd of f
T f-2-|--- OK standard front 3rd of a
f#3/gb3 f3 sharp T EbD-F--|Ef#--- a bit sharp standard side 2nd of f#
T f-2-|f#--- OK standard front 3rd of bb
g3 g3 A 1--|--- a bit flat   3rd of b
g#3/ab3 g3 sharp A -2-|--- OK   3rd of c
A 1--|C---
a3 a3 A ---|--- OK the easiest! 3rd of c#
a#3/bb3 a3 sharp A D---|--- a bit sharp   3rd of d
A 12-|--- OK   4th of a
b3 b3 A Eb---|--- too sharp   3rd of eb
A 1Bb--|--- OK   4th of bb
A 1--|4--
A 1--|-5-
A 12-|Bb---
c4 c4 A Eb---|E--- much too sharp not usable 3rd of e
A 1--|(A)--- a little sharp second altissimo key optional 4th of b
A Eb123|--- OK somewhat impractical 5th of g
c#4/db4 c4 sharp A 123G#|E--- OK   5th of g#
d4 d4 A f---|C--- OK   3rd of f
d#4/eb4 e4 flat A f---|Cf#--- a little sharp   3rd of f#
T ---|A--- OK   4th of c#
e4 e4 T D---|A--- OK second altissimo required 4th of d
f4 f4 T EbD---|A--- OK second altissimo required 4th of eb
f#4/gb4 f4 sharp (T)EbD---|AE--- OK octave key optional 4th of e
g4 g4 ---|AE--- OK   5th of c#
g#4/ab4 g4 sharp ---|AEf#--- a little sharp   4th of f#
Left hand Right hand
Left hand keys numbering scheme Right hand keys numbering scheme
Left thumb Right thumb
Left thumb keys numbering scheme Right thumb keys numbering scheme
Please note that key A is not a low A key (like on a baritone sax) but Eppelsheim's new altissimo key. This second (upper) altissimo key is a special construction not standard on a Tubax, but available on request.
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