05/01/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 121)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 121

Date: 05/01/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


Hummingbirds have been flying around my yard all day in a concentration I’ve never seen before.  They have a very distinctive chirp that sounds like a high pitched electic dental drill being turned on and off.  When they come within a few feet their rapid wing flapping is a sound unlike any other.  But in a large concentration of five to six, which was the case in my yard today, the combination of wing fluttering and chirps created an amazing pallatte of sound.  This interplay inspired my improvisation today.  

During this piece I used a single fingering gesture that created a lower series of repeated tones and a high ceiling of sound exploration.  The lower “wing” sounds were created throughout the piece, including a middle octave E, which was static and had a muted and buzzing quality to it.  The other recurring lower tones (lower being relative here) were the alternating high octave pitches F and D.  Above this I explored tone colors, their interplay with one another and the recurring sounds beneath them.  In these “chirping” sounds I would at times repeat specific discoveries or explore indeterminately.  In the last third of the improvisation, I shifted the center of focus to the held extreme upper register pitches, though again there is the faint murmur of the recurring sounds beneath it.  This was to simulate a single bird coming info the focus of sound.  This section was punctuated by occasional interruptions of the full color exploration, but then returned back to the upper register held tones.

The fingering: (Left Hand) B key, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) High F#, Side Bb.  Trill the Side C (right hand) continuously at a consistent tempo.


The image accompanying today’s post is a Bower Bird nest.