02/21/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 52)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 52

Date: 02/21/2013

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.