03/20/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 79)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 79

Date: 03/20/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)


Over the past three or four years, I’ve made the study of multiphonics my primary goal.  As part of this study, I transcribe my discoveries into traditional notation, writing out the particulars of each chord as best I can.  I’m fascinated by the reality that due to the finite nature of these chords, the tuning of particular notes defies traditional notation.  It’s easy to call a tone a “quarter step” off if it’s slightly out of tune, but in truth many tones lay between even a quarter step.  Semi tones are explored extensively in many musical cultures, but comparatively little in our own.  My improvisation today explores four pitches derived from a parent multiphonic chord with very close tuning to standard tempered notes.

The improvisation opens with two pitches, a Concert F and a Concert D, played with standard saxophone fingerings.  I then move into a multiphonic fingering which allows for two pitches relatively close to a Concert F and D to speak.  These notes can speak independently or as part of minor third chord.  As the improvisation moves forward, I introduce a Concert E into the lower register, then a multiphonic chord that allows for all three pitches to speak simultaneously in the same range–low octave E, middle octave F and D.  Finally, a Concert B is introduced in the upper register, and a multiphonic chord that speaks all four pitches is played–low octave E, middle octave F and D, high octave B.  I interpreted the playing of these multiphonic chords one at a time, but as the improvisation took shape I did not necessarily always play them in the same order.  

The multiphonic chords that produce the F,D // E, F, D //  and E, F, D,B combinations are actually derived from the same chord.  Adjustments in my embouchure allowed me to choose which one to play.

The fingering is as follows: (Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Octave // (Right Hand) E-D keys, Low C


The image “Piet Vorkink” by artist Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita 

The image “Piet Vorkink” by artist Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita