04/03/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 93)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 93

Date: 04/03/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone 

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


A high F (or F# if the horn has it), is the ceiling of the saxophone’s common range.  Above this is a region called the alitssimo range, which has chromatic pitches akin to those in a lower octave, but the fingering system and embouchure technique are very different.  During my practice session I worked with the tenor note F in the altissimo range.  I decided to utilize this pitch in my improvisation today, where I explored the common pitch F in four octaves with a repetitive rhythm. 

I tried to make the rhythm in this improvisation very declarative: 1 2 3—.  Because of the limited number of notes at my disposal, I pre-determined certain criteria I wished to cover.  These included: 1.  A wide dynamic range, from very soft and controlled to very loud and almost blatty, and with abrupt transitions and smooth transitions.   2.  A variety of vibrato tempos, from gentle wavering to tighter pulses.  3.  Space.  However, the space between action seemed to be fairly static, which was not necessarily my intention at the outset.  4.  A variety of cutoff’s, including fade-outs and more abrupt stops of the air.  Overall I worked to maintain a balance between the above criteria to add a limited yet noticeable amount of variety to the improvisation.