The 1st Overtone Exercise

Difficulty level: ★★☆ (intermediate)
To do this exercise you need to be able to play the first overtone of the lowest notes.

The purpose of this exercise is to get the closest sounds possible between the 1st overtone of a note and the matching note.

First, play the 1st overtone of Bb. In other words, play middle Bb while fingering low Bb. Then, while maintaining this note, switch your fingers to middle Bb.


Now, visualize these two notes on the Tone visualizer:


Notice the large difference between the two sounds. Usually there is far more energy in the first harmonics of the overtone sound.

Now, using your air support, tongue position and embouchure, try to have the closest sound possible. You may have to “push” more on the regular note than on the overtone version of it.

Finally, go back and forth between these two notes and try to be as consistent as possible. After a good practice, you should be able to be as close as:


Now take a close look at your spectrum at the bottom of the screen. When you switch from the regular note to the overtone version, you may see new peaks appearing:


This is the low Bb that tries to come… When switching notes, pay close attention to your spectrum, the low Bb should never be heard!

When you feel confident with the Bb, then move up to B, C and C#.


You can continue this exercise with The 1st Overtone Pitch Stability Exercise.