07/26/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 207)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 207

Date: 07/26/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


After two separate recording attempts today that led to limited results, I decided to consider a firmer approach to a piece.  I improvise based on the unfolding of sound within a repeating fingering system.  During my practice session I focused on wide vibrato as a base approach to every pitch I played.  I tried to eliminate the use of pure tone to make the more animated vibrato sound the dominant voice.  This eventually influenced my recorded improvisation in that I applied the concept of pliable pitch centers in a broader context, by using this as the true improvisatory element and the repeating fingering system as the more concrete composition.

In this improvisation the initial muted gesture that opens the piece becomes the springboard for exploring the width of tone bending.  As my embouchure spreads the pitch, the intonation begins to drift sharp and flat, eventually reaching a breaking point at which altissimo tones enter the field.  This particular fingering system also allowed for multiphonic chords, which were achieved by applying more pressure against the reed while repeating the fingering system.  Other split tones, particularly those in the extreme upper register, were done instead by applying very little pressure on the tip of the reed.  The improvisation uses changes in dynamic range as well as tempo to further explore the bending of pitches and elaboration of sound textures.  


The image “Untitled” accompanying today’s post by Ishimoto Yasuhiro (c. 1950)