07/31/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 212)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 212

Date: 07/31/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: A small practice room adjacent to the orchestra room.  Chief Sealth High School in Seattle, WA


Before beginning my teaching schedule this morning, I attempted to record in two separate locations.  The first was the back alley behind a massive Target store at a nearby mall, and the second was the main orchestra room at Chief Sealth high school.  In both cases, interruptions prevented me from feeling fully committed to my improvisations.  In the back alley, several cars would drive by and, rightly so, stare at me and wonder what I was doing with a saxophone in an alley behind a mall at 7:30am in the morning.  After leaving and attempting to record in the high school orchestra room, I found that I had unfortunately chosen the half hour the custodians needed to wash and wax the floors.  I ended up in the small practice room I teach in each week.  This room is fully padded and insulated with specialized sound absorbing material.  The tiny room swallows up the rich overtones of the saxophone and leaves behind the most barren sound I think I’ve ever experienced in a room.  I recorded an improvisation that utilized the deadness of the space, and paired this against the false illusion of reverberation by creating comparatively richer sound colors.

I opened the improvisation with a tempo that I devoted to throughout the improvisation.  As in yesterday’s improvisation, I explored cross-fading from one sound-scape to another.  However unlike yesterday’s piece, I also utilized abrupt sound transitions.  I maintained a repetitive cycle of opening and closing the Side C, High F, and Side F# keys.  This acted as the binding agent for the various sound colors I chose.  Some of these sound colors had a reverberant quality, while others had a dryer, more arpeggiated sound.  Part of this was due to working with a fingering and then either applying or taking away the octave key.  Doing so helped to gently alter the chord by either introducing more high tones or low tones respectively.  The fingerings chosen were determined in the moment, but were based on an initial fingering:

(Left Hand) B-G keys, Low Bb // (Right Hand) F key, Low C

The image “Untitled” accompanying today’s post by Carlfriedrich Claus (ca. 1988)