06/15/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 166)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 166

Date: 06/15/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


This morning I practiced creating melodies and chords that could change without disrupting a held tone underneath.  I worked at this in a variety of different ways, from loud, busy clusters of screeching tones tone to very quiet, sustained pitches.  In my improvisation today I decided to work with the latter and explored more subtle sounds.  I used a static fingering to create the Concert D drone.  This is actually a very common multiphonic fingering, but by playing with a smaller, more concentrated air flow a bottom fundamental can emerge without the rest of the chord. 

Almost a year ago this month my family had the chance to go to Sicily, and during this improvisation I visualized a particular stretch of road on our second day on that island.  It was a long highway road that cut through flat, green fields.  In the far distance there were occasional mounds–green hills in various sizes on either side of the long fields.  In my visualization of these “mounds” I brought this to life with three separate gestures.  The first was the natural multiphonic played by adding more air and pressure to the drone fingering.  The character of this chord was very stable.  The second gesture was a fluttering of tones, again with the drone beneath it.  The third and final gesture was a combination in sound concept between the stable chord and fluttering tones, creating busier, more tumbling pitch interactions.

The create the Concert D drone, I used the following fingering:

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

The three gesture fingerings played on top of the drone were as follows:

Gesture 1 (stable chord)

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

Gesture 2 (fluttering tones)

(Left Hand) B-A-G keys // (Right Hand) F-E keys, Low C.  Trill the palm Eb key only with Left Hand.

Gesture 3 (combination of stable and fluttering)

(Left Hand) B-A-G keys // (Right Hand) F-E keys, Low C.  Trill the palm Eb key only with Left Hand and the High F key in the Right Hand, each in turn.  (Open Eb key // close it // Open F key // Close it.  This creates a “1 e & a” grouping of four sounds.


The image accompanying today’s post is the Sicilian countryside.