12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 49
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)
Last night at the Racer Sessions (racersessions.com), a Seattle-based avant garde series, I had an excellent discussion with my friend Lauren Imbrock. Lauren asked me what idea I’m currently working on in my improvisations, and my immediate response was the idea of slowly revealed truth. In my own playing I’ve noticed this concept coming up over and over again. For example, I often find a multiphonic and pre-plan some kind of sound manipulation with it. I might have a good idea of what the final result of the fingering will produce, but I will only play a part of the chord and choose the best time to begin introducing the remainder of the chord. I decided to run with this concept in my improvisation today.
When I open the High F# key and move between what would normally be my Middle C and Middle B fingerings, a muted Concert D and a muted Concert D (slightly flatter and even more muted) will be produced. On Middle B fingering with the High F#, a multiphonic is possible but only wants to produce with a good amount of embouchure pressure. When going between the two notes and beginning to allow the multiphonic to speak, the muted Concert D and second muted Concert D still continue to play beneath it.
As the piece progresses, I begin introducing a second multiphonic, produced by adding to Low F# key to the fingering action already taking place. However, with this new fingering the two Concert D’s sound virtually the same. Again, my idea here was to begin a new phase in the composition without the listener having known about it. Other tones, such as the Concert D high octave begin to come into the sound field as well. I also tried to control the balance in volume between the two multiphonic fingerings and the two Concert D’s being played beneath them. Finally, breathing was on the forefront of my mind during this piece. Generally I only played a phrase as long as a single breath would allow, but I would occasionally take a breath when I felt like the phrase ought to be able to continue.