02/16/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 47)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 47

Date: 02/16/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)

After practicing and searching for new textures and improvisational ideas for a few hours today, I stumbled upon this improvisation.  Without blowing any air and by opening and closing any key against the body of the horn, there is a pitch that is always audibly be heard.  Generally this pitch is only a momentary stacatto with no sustain, but other fingerings actually allow the pitch to ring a bit.  My improvisation today explored this area.

After practicing for some time today saliva had welled up in the bottom of my horn.  When I tilted the horn at an angle and held it against my body, I noticed a particular pitch would speak with the following fingering: (Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Low Bb // (Right Hand) F key, Low C key.  When gently or firmly striking the F# key in the right hand, the horn would resonate a Concert D pitch.  In fact, when doing this fingering I could hear the Concert D even when tapping any point on the body of the instrument.

I found that the pitch would resonate the loudest and clearest if I struck the key with my index finger.  I suspect this fact has nothing to do with the horn itself and more to do with the muscles in my index finger.  In this improvisation I explored the natural “clack” when striking the key and the resultant D pitch.  I divided the improvisation into sections A and sections B.  Sections A included a steady rhythmic pulse and an exploration in levels of balance between the clack and the pitch.  In section B, I tried to create a “roll” with my index and middle fingers.  In order to maintain the Concert D pitch however, I had to float my fingerings on the key.  Normally each key is fully closed and fully opened when played, but to get the pitch to speak I was only able to close the key about half way during the roll.