12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 52
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)
During my practice session today I explored many of the inherent overtones hidden inside particular fingerings. When I was in high school I would practice long tones in the corner of my room to try and hear the fullness of my sound. I noticed that when I held out just a single note I could hear other pitches at the same time. When I would point my horn at a particular angle against the wall they would speak, and at other times they would not. I noticed that embouchure pressure, reed choice, and volume also played a roll. I later learned that these extra tones I heard are called overtones, and that the organization of particular overtones lend each instrument its unique sound.
My improvisation today uses a fingering that produces a single pitch. With harder tongue articulation and a higher level of volume additional tones can clearly be heard at the same time. I approached this piece by articulating at the fastest possible tempo I am currently able to consistently play with single tonging. The pitch produced is a Concert D, but the Octave and a quarter step high Octave are also clearly audible.
During this piece the amount of space between the Concert D groups begins to shorten with each repetition, as well the length of the groups themselves. This continues until the center point of the improvisation where only a single pitch is played. I then gradually begin playing longer Concert D groupings and take more liberties with the amount of space between phrases.