08/27/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 239)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 239

Date: 08/27/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


I developed this piece over the course of several hours today.  I wanted to capture joy in this improvisation.  Open, willful, intense joy.  For me these moments contain a depth to them that almost sets me apart from myself. It’s as though I’m able to step outside my body and watch myself experiencing something in its purest state of being.  To try and capture this experience musically, I wanted to work with mystical sounds today, sounds that are profoundly moving but are rarely heard unless their subtly is given a magnifying glass.  The mystical sounds I explored in this improvisation include sounds only capable by putting my instrument, my focus and my body into the right space at the right time.  The improvisation is based off of two fingerings, which are separate in execution but complimentary in scope.

By singing into the horn against a fingering pitch, rich overtones can enter into the sound field that are so easily glossed over if they aren’t given focus.  During this piece I wanted to feature this reality.    The first fingering, and main body of the piece, used my voice to pull out these tones and was as follows: 

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

This fingering creates a Concert D#, and below it sang a Concert B.  When paired with this Major Third interval, I brought out many overtones and quiet whistle tones by slowly trilling the Low C key.

Following this section, I introduced a sound world which I had explored for about an hour while practicing today.   This is a pitch cluster, and just a micro second it’s possible to put 3 whole steps together.  There are other far denser, more complex multiphonics possible, but to have 3 pitches so close together is something truly special.  This section can be heard at 1:43.  The pitches were: B, C#, D# (each about a quarter step high).  To create this, I used the following fingering:

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


The image “Mont Blanc” accompanying today’s post by Louis-Auguste Bisson with Auguste Rosalie Bisson (1860 or 1861).