08/11/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 223)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 223

Date: 08/11/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


While practicing this afternoon, the saliva and condensation moving through my horn welled up a bit in my Palm F key, causing a momentary delay in sound.  This would occur when the key was opened, generally when done so slowly, but also occasionally when opened quickly.  A bubbling effect would take place, and the sound could barely escape from the tone hold because the saliva would expand out, forming a bubble between the tone hole and the leather pad.  This happens quite often, but generally a player will blow the spit out so as not to cause any delay in the action of the sound or any undesired ambient noise.  Today I decided to work with the sound variation this bubbling would create.

I used a single fingering during this improvisation, which was as follows:

(Left Hand) Fork F, C key, Octave, Low B // (Right Hand) F-E keys, Side F# key.

Because the Fork F only opens the Palm F key about 50%, initially when I would use the above fingering the bubble would happen nearly every time.  Eventually however it came pass more infrequently because the saliva was beginning to move out of the key cup.  I then noticed that the pitch was going down as a result of this.  I intentionally welled up more saliva onto the pad, and the pitch went up.  It settled around a Concert G.  This G would speak when air was initially forced into the horn and the bubble would expand, causing a surprising amount of back-pressure in my body.  Once the bubble would burst, the Concert G shifted down to a Concert Eb, which was also just one in a series of pitches within a mutliphonic.  The bursting of the bubble can clearly be heard on the recording when the pitch shifts down.  The sound then expands and pops out naturally.  Because of my mic placement, there is also a great deal of key clacking that can be heard throughout this improvisation.


The image “Untitled (Mental Map: Peak Season” accompanying today’s post by Franz Ackermann (2003)