08/02/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 214)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 214

Date: 08/02/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: The rec room of my childhood home in Edmonds, WA


This afternoon my horn, reed, and body conditions were aligned for me to discover a new chord fingering.  This fingering, notated below, allows for only a brief spark of energy before the sound dies.  To create it, a great deal of lip pressure was required against the reed.  The chord could be held out to sustain itself, but only if I used an excessive amount of pressure.  However in order to incorporate other, more nuanced chords shapes around it I could only momentarily grip the reed harder.  This resulted in a major chord sound world that reminded me a particle accelerator, where light particles collide with each other in a hyper controlled environment near the speed of light.  Though the encounter is extraordinary, the explosion can only happen for an infinitesimal amount of time.  In my improvisation today, I explored the concept of creating melodies and sound shapes with momentary interruptions of this super-charged sound world.

The momentary chord in this discussion can first be heard about 6 seconds into the improvisation, and then throughout.  The fingering used to create it was as follows:

(Left Hand) Octave Key, Low Bb // (Right Hand) Low C

This created a Concert G major chord with the pitches (in ascending order): D, B, and G.  The chord spoke the most easily when momentarily flicking the F key in the right hand.  I thought of my air as the force traveling behind the sound action, and the flicking of the key as akin to the final pressure exerted on the sound particles to make the explosion finally occur.  The melodic shapes explored in this improvisation, most notably a triplet figure with the pitches: D#, E, B, D, B were created by using the above fingering, but also flicking open and closed the side F#, Fork F, and Palm F.


The image “Eye from Oaxaca” accompanying today’s post by George Ortman (1966)