12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 51
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)
I spent the morning working on sustained pitches in the altissimo range of the upper register. This is a difficult task on the saxophone and a small part of my daily practice routine. A current goal of mine is to create a stable quarter tone fingering system from the lower register into this altissimo range. In trying to find new fingerings for these quarter step pitches, I often stumble into new fingerings for traditional pitches, and my piece today uses two recent discoveries.
With the following fingering: (Left Hand) B and G keys, Octave // (Right Hand) F Key, Low C I am able to play a an alternate High F# (Concert E). By then adding the Palm Eb key and adjusting my embouchure and air flow I can move this pitch to an altissimo C (Concert Bb). This is an incredibly difficult motion to make, and is generally not well suited as a fingering combination to play melodically. However, the two tones are very full and bright, and provide a very different timbral result.
I performed this improvisation with a kind of bottled lightning approach–very short and to the point. The piece uses only these two pitches along with an occasional interruption of a multiphonic. This mulitphonic has an altissimo C in the upper part of its chord, and seemed a natural fit for this improvisation. This chord is achieved by using the above Hight F# fingering: (Left Hand) B and G keys, Octave // (Right Hand) F Key, Low C and then adding the side F key. This multiphonic seemed to only speak with a very loose embouchure and a direct air flow. The two altissimo pitches in this piece however require a very firm embouchure and a direct air flow.