12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 124
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)
My improvisation today is a singular phrase with three primary components, and one secondary component, for a total of four gestures. After struggling with my reeds this morning I came upon one that had a resonance to it that helped me to gain a full, direct tone. This piece was the coming together of both my artistic interest and the mechanics of my tool. The improvisation was performed at a steady tempo throughout, with only modest dynamic shaping that ebed into the low end of volume rather than the high.
The improvisation uses three fingerings, each capable of producing a “false” unison tone but also capable of sounding a secondary tone below. I chose to limit the secondary tone to the highest of the three fingerings, the concert B. On all the pitches I used the false tone to help punctuate each strong beat by swallowing the sound on the off beat. I tried to perform the improvisation without any real fanfare, but instead a very direct performance approach that relied on the beauty of the melody itself versus the shaping of it. The fingerings, in the tenor key were are follows:
Middle octave Bb: finger the common low Bb pitch but play the first overtone (an octave above), then open and close the middle C key in the left hand.
Middle octave B: finger the common low B pitch but play the first overtone (an octave above), then open and close the middle C key in the left hand.
Middle Octave C#: finger the common low C# pitch but play the first overtone (an octave above), then open and close the B key in the left hand.
On this pitch I occasionally create a fourth sound, which is the C# on the strong beats and a split-tone B/C# on the off beats. This was done with the same middle octave C# fingering above, with with an adjustment of the embouchure.
The painting “Onement I” by artist Barnett Newman (1948)