03/21/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 80)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 80

Date: 03/21/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone 

Location: Practice Room A at South Whidbey High School.  Langley, WA (Whidbey Island)


My improvisation today uses a sine wave sound concept that I often explore on my soprano.  I used a single fingering today, which when played on soprano can create a brightly toned two-octave unison chord.  My current reed on tenor seemed to allow this fingering to speak with some fascinating results.  I’ll practice and practice, but at the end of the day there are some variables that I only have limited control over, one of those being my reed.  The past few days I’ve used a much lighter reed that I’m accustomed too.  The end result was an sound exploration that utilized an x-factor variable inherent in the instrument itself.  

The fingering is as follows: 

(Left Hand) C key, Octave, Low Bb  

(Right Hand) F-E-D keys, Low C, Side F.  

I generally take in a bit more mouthpiece than most players, and to execute this improvisation I had to position my embouchure with a firm amount of pressure at the tip of both the mouthpiece and the reed.   I maintained a drone throughout the piece on a middle octave concert Db (a few cents flat).  To hold onto this drone requires a very specific kind of mouthpiece pressure in which I had to balance the volume of the drone with the pitches above it.  As is the case on soprano saxophone, the upper octave unison pitch (a few cents sharper than the drone below it) seemed to speak the most clearly.  Other pitches that spoke clearly included an altissimo Db, D and F, among others.  


The image “Evening Melancholy” by painter Edvard Munch (1896)