12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 35
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)
A technique I often hear brass players use is blowing air through the instrument and using tongue articulation to create a hard stop to the sound. When done quickly, a fluttering sound is created. A recent addition to our Seattle creative music scene is Christian Pincock, whose tongue-stop sound explorations where at the forefront of my mind on this piece. I have spent little time with this technique as a woodwind player. I have however practiced single, double and flutter tonguing, as well as slap tonging, but I’ve spent comparatively little time focusing on the more common brass player technique described above.
In this improvisation I never sounded an actual pitch above a whisper volume, but instead made my air and tonguing the focus. While either screaming or playing very delicately through my horn, in the past I’ve used a particular technique of cupping my tongue. I raise up the center, then lower back to a flattened position and repeat the action continuously. When combined with air in rapid succession, this action actually makes an audible sound of “oh, ee.” In my improvisation today I use this technique but at times also combine it with a stop-tonuge action. The resultant thud creates a larger sound than the “oh, ee.” In this piece I attempted to explore a full range of sound while exploring this new territory, and at times I tried to intentionally make my air more present than the thud of my tongue against the reed. In the mid point and again at the end of the improvisation, I use a series of fingerings meant to pull more tones out of the horn. These tones sound very clearly when the tongue strikes the reed and forces the air to stop.