05/28/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 148)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 148

Date: 05/28/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Performance hall at Chief Sealth High School.  Seattle, WA


Although I’ve now recorded in the main performance hall at Chief Sealth high school at least seven or eight times, I’m still trying to figure out how to effectively play in this space.  It’s such a gift to have access to the hall for a half hour or so once a week, but I’ve had trouble finding inspiration from the sound of the room.  The acoustics feel very warm but ultimately not very thrilling to me, and up until now I’ve used it more as a blasting zone than something to work directly with.  Today I decided to improvise a piece that truly utilized the gift of this room, which is its warm reverb it produces as a medium to low volume.  

I decided to zone in on two fingerings as points of departure, the first of which is capable of producing two pitches that move up and down in a way that I assume must be similar to the physical feeling when playing a partial on a trumpet.  I used this fingering to create an echo like sound with either escalating or demising shapes with the two pitches Bb and Eb in the upper register.  The second fingering created a concert Bb (quarter step flat), which I would then slightly alter with two additional finger motions to create a descending melody with the pitches Bb, A and G (all a quarter step flat).  When paired together in various fingering systems, I then take these two fingerings and crate cycles which had a sound concept to me similar to Gamelan, which I kept referring too in my mind as I played.  

Fingering 1 (Bb and Eb):

(Left Hand) B-A keys, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) F-E-D keys, Low C, Side F

Fingering 2 (Concert Bb quarter step flat):

(Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Octave, Low B // (Right Hand) F-E-D keys, Low C, Side C

Fingering 2.a) secondary fingering (A quarter step flat) same as above but take away the Side C key.

Fingering 2.b) Same as above but take away Side C and G in the left hand


The image “Untitled from 88 maps” accompanying today’s post by Mat Mullican (2010)