07/18/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 199)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 199

Date: 07/18/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Practice Room A at South Whidbey High School.  Langley, WA (Whidbey Island)


During this improvisation I explored a simple melody with that used a fingering system with single and split tones.  This folk-like melody is centered around the first three notes of the major scale.  Each of the pitches was a quarter step high, making them sound tempered in relation to one another despite being very out of tune in a traditional sense.  The fingerings gave each of the pitches a very warm timbal quality that I immediately gravitated towards.  The three pitches: Bb, C and D (again, each a quarter step high) were created with only 2 fingerings.  The Bb was created as follows: (Left Hand) B-A keys, Octave, Palm D.  The C and D used the same fingering with the addition of the Side F key: (Left Hand) B-A keys, Octave, Palm D // (Right Hand) Side F key.  The sliding between pitches or occasional cross-over into two pitches at the same time was done with my embouchure.  I made it my goal to shift from the 2nd to the 3rd pitch when my embouchure naturally wanted to engage.  Sometimes is happened quickly and other times very slowly, but regardless I tried to remain immediately aware of when the shift was about to take place in order to respond appropriately.

After the initial exploration of the Bb, C and D, I began adding the altissimo G in the upper register.  This tone was created with the traditional fingering, and therefore with tempered tuning set against the non-tempered notes below it.  As with the split tone fingering above, I tried to let it naturally speak based on the conditions of my embouchure at that moment.  This accounts for the variation in volume and character of the note (bright, dark, muffled, etc.). Eventually I added another chord to the sound field, which used the following fingering: (Left Hand) B-A keys, Octave, Palm D // (Right Hand) F key.  This tone was first introduced at 1:42 (the sustained tones).  As the improvisation progressed I began intertwining the chords more freely and stretching the harmony by adding other tones from outside the chord shapes.


The image “no world from An Unpeopled Land in Uncharted Waters” by Kara Walker (2010)