02/22/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 53)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 53

Date: 02/22/2013
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)


Through a series of four fingerings, I explored the use of tonality with multiphonics in my improvisation today. The wide world of multiphonic playing includes many clusters of pitches, many of which are surprisingly consonant. However, I don’t believe I have come upon a multiphonic chord that speaks fully tempered pitches. Even the most consonant of chords still has tones within it that are slightly de-tuned from traditional tuning. My improvisation today explores the amazing beauty that exists in non-traditional tuning, with easily understood chord shapes.

I am in constant search for new feelings and emotions that can be brought out by the power of a single chord itself. The chords used in this improvisation have, in my own mind, their own particular kind of tonality. They can only really be analyzed by listening, not looking at the particulars of their parts on a page. For reference sake, I notated my approximations of the tuning below, but more for reference than any kind of definitive statement on how they are to be analyzed. 

This piece is performed with chords in two groups. Each group has a tone that comes before it, for a total of four “actions.” These actions, in order they are played are as follows. 

Group 1:

1. (Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Octave, Low Bb// (Right Hand) F-D keys, Low C
–Creates middle F (quarter step sharp)
–This single pitch leads into chord number 2.

2. (Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Octave, Low B// (Right Hand) F-D keys
–Creates low G# (difference tone), F (quarter step flat), high C#
–To my ears, because of the tuning this chord falls between a major chord and a minor chord. It’s characteristic sound overall seems very melancholy to me.

Group 2:

1. (Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Octave, Low B// (Right Hand) F-D keys, Low C
–Creates middle F# and a very faint high C natural. 
–This imbalanced, 2-note chord leads into chord number 2.

2.. (Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Octave, Low C#// (Right Hand) F-D keys, Low C
–Creates mid register A (quarter step high), mid register F (quarter step flat), high register C#, and an altissimo A#
–To my ears, this chord sound squarely major. But again, if you examine the actual tuning it falls somewhere between a major and a minor chord.