07/05/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 186)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 186

Date: 07/05/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


In my improvisation yesterday I worked with a very active sound environment with a looser sensibility.  Today I decided to perform the antithesis of that improvisation, and worked on improvising a piece with a very centered, very controlled environment.  This piece was recorded quietly and I worked for some time to eliminate as much air and saliva crackles from my sound as possible.  As my friend Ivan Arteaga calls it, I tried to achieve the “pure saxophone sound."  The fingering system used during this improvisation was a very noisy one, partially because of lost motion on the octave clutch, where there is a fraction of a millimeter of movement that takes place before the key engages.  This results in a bit of extra noise coming from the keys.  This improvisation also simultaneously uses the secondary octave key on the side of the horn.  Again this has a bit of lost motion in it as well, where the key does not quite make contact with the clutch that is intended to stop it from rising any further.  Because of both bits of lost motion, there is a fraction of a millimeter where the two overlap, causing a very unique sound environment in both the pitches produced and the key clacking.  This would not interfere at all while playing the horn under most circumstances, but I focused specifically on exploiting it during this improvisation.

The two pitches that served as springboards were the Concert A, and the Concert C (a bit flat).  The finger system used was as follows:

(Left Hand) B key, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) Slowly open and close the G key (normally used in the ring finger of the left hand).

The fingering notation above is only a starting point.  The pliability of sound, including the bends, split pitches, octave leaps, and "dripping” notes were achieved by listening very carefully to the horn, focusing on air flow, and thinking hard about where I would like the sound to move to next.  


The image “Untitled” accompanying today’s post by Stanislav Kolibal (1975)