12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 47
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.