12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 30
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)
Yesterday I had a rehearsal with my musical comrades Ivan Arteaga and Greg Sinibaldi. Part of our time was spent with a discussion and exploration of “difference tones.” A difference tone is a pitch that is created in the brain and occurs when two tones are played simultaneously. The listener can hear a third pitch whose frequency is the difference between the frequency of the two pitches being played. This third pitch is heard as a low, buzzing tone in the ear that actually has a very quantifiable pitch center. This mysterious, third tone is a creation of the mind, and is the most easily heard when two high pitches are played with one another. My improvisation today explores a multiphonic figering with a difference tone that can easily be heard.
Difference tones are pliable, meaning as you bend the two fundamental pitches up and down the difference tone will also move up and down. This tone, in my head, is perceived as a low buzzing sound. During this improvisation I used a wide dynamic range, from whisper soft to extremely loud to explore my own experience with this pitch buzzing in my ears. The fingering used in this piece has a very clear whole-step interval, and was while exploring this interval that the difference tone become the most clear to me. During this piece I also explored extremely high octave pitches in quiet sections, and bouts of screaming in louder sections to hear what other sounds I could create. The fingering for this multiphonic/tone cluster is: (In the left hand) Fork F and G, Low Bb and Palm Key D // (In the right hand) F, E, Low C and Side Bb.