02/19/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 50)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 50

Date: 02/19/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Cheif Sealth High School Performance Hall


This morning I read an article in National Geographic about a variant gene called DRD4-7R, which scientists believe may lend the traits of restlessness and curiosity to nearly 20% of all humans.  The article goes on to tie the human need for exploration with the equally important human trait of tool use.  When I went into the performance hall at Chief Sealth today, a snare drum was sitting on the stage and I decided to make use of this unique tool.

During this improvisation I took a great deal of care to eliminate any breathiness in my sound.  I selected a reed that allowed me to get as pure a tone as possible.  I positioned the mic to capture my horn and the snare at an equal distance.  The overtones and sheer bulkiness of the tenor sound easily make the snare hiss, but I tried to work with textures that dug a little deeper than this.  I was intrigued by the subtle buzzing sounds that resonated in the drum, as well as the slight differences in the sound waves when I would open or depress new keys.   

I centered this piece around a Concert C, which I found to resonate in the snare in a very unique way compared to the other pitches on my horn.  This note seemed to be more muted and stuffy than any other pitch I played into it.  I also introduced a Concert Db in the upper register about a quarter the way into the improvisation.  I later went on to add a multiphonic that also spoke a Concert Db at its highest point, and I began to explore further pitches in a more melodic fashion.