07/24/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 205)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 205

Date: 07/24/2013

Instrument: Soprano saxophone

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


This morning I attempted to record a piece around 6am but was discouraged by the results.  My aim was to create a palette of whisper soft upper register tones, but after many attempts at an improvisation I decided to take the day to think about how better to shape the piece.  I tried again around 7:00pm, and found myself feeling fully inspired and prepared to record.  The improvisation I decided to tackle used three primary pitches at its center: altissimo F#, G# and A (in the soprano key of Bb).  Alternating beneath and above these tones I created additional layers of melodic activity.  I worked to balance thin with thick textures while trying never to loose sight of the 3 primary pitches.  Instead of playing at a whisper soft dynamic level I recorded at medium volume.

Notated below, the fingerings for these pitches allowed for a wide array of textural shaping, including traditional pitches, split tones and full multiphonic chords.  I also occasionally added the C# in middle octave to help punctuate the extreme difference between the brighter high whistle tones and this comparatively fuller middle octave tone color.  Sometimes I chose to create tight melodic cycles, and at other times thinned the textures to explore repetition with more subtle elements.  The simultaneous use of varying layers of action in several octaves became central to this improvisation.

The fingerings were as follows:

Altissimo F#

(Left Hand) Fork F, C key, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) Low C

Altissimo G#

(Left Hand) Fork F, C key, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) High G key, Low C

Altissimo A

(Left Hand) Octave key, Low Bb // (Right Hand) High G key, Low C


The image “Gargantua” accompanying today’s post by Sam Kaner (1954)