:"For Italian commune, see Altissimo (commune). For the politician, see Renato Altissimo."Altissimo (Italian for "very high") refers to the uppermost register on woodwind instruments. For clarinets, which overblow on odd harmonics, the altissimo notes are those based on the fifth, seventh, and higher harmonics. For other woodwinds, the altissimo notes are those based on the third, fourth, and higher harmonics. The altissimo register is also known as the "high register".

Flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon

On the Boehm system flute, the first altissimo note, d, is played using the third harmonic of G. Fourth harmonics are used for e♭ through a♭, and notes from a through c"" are played with fifth or sixth harmonics.

On the oboe, third harmonics are mainly used.

On clarinets, fifth harmonics are used for the first half dozen notes above (written) c"'; seventh and ninth harmonics are used beyond that.

For bassoons, the altissimo notes bear complicated harmonic relationships to the fundamental register.


:"See also: Altissimo section in Saxophone article":"See also Altissimo section in Sigurd Raschèr article"In classical music, altissimo playing is considered a necessary skill for professional saxophonists, and much of the modern concert saxophone repertoire utilizes the altissimo range. A notable proponent of the altissimo range was Sigurd Raschèr, who preferred the term "top tones". Raschèr is also the author of "Top Tones For the Saxophone", which is the most widely used and known method book for training saxophonists how to perform in the upper and altissimo register of the saxophone.

In jazz music, use of altissimo is common, especially among avant-garde players. Altissimo technique and the use of multiphonics are prominent in the influential work of Eric Dolphy and John Coltrane during the 1960s, as well as in the work of Lenny Pickett, Ron Holloway and Scott Page.

For example, it is possible to finger a low B♭ (the lowest note on the instrument) and by changing the configuration and position of the tongue in reference to the reed and throat blow the full overtone series of the low B♭ (middle B♭, middle F, high B♭, high D, high F, and so on.)


*cite book
last = Baines
first = Anthony
pages = 38
title = Woodwind Instruments and Their History
publisher = Dover
place = New York
date = 1991
(republication of third edition, 1967, as reprinted with corrections, 1977)

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