09/02/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 245)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 245

Date: 09/02/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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

*Once again my daily count has been off for some amount of time.  Today is actually day 245 of this year, but yesterday’s post was also written as 245.  All daily improvisations are still accounted for and the mistake has been caught!*


In today’s improvisation, I used the cross-fading of pitches between octaves.  This piece uses a single fingering with a recurring “walking” trill in the right hand.  The fingering used was as follows:

(Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Octave, Palm Eb // (Right Hand) Continuously trill the F clutch key only (the actual F key should not be depressed).

I specifically used three major regions of the horn–mid, upper and alitssimo.  Within these ranges I also occasionally introduced a multiphonic and other more infrequent accentuated pitches, such as a brighter Upper Range concert Db than the Db pitch used throughout the remainder of the piece.   In each range, there was a center of pitch:

Mid Range: Concert C (quarter step flat)

Upper Range: Concert Db

Altissimo Range: Concert Bb

I tried to move from one range to the other as naturally as possible, using my breathing and the horn’s response to the air as my guide.  This improvisation required a great deal of pressure in my embouchure, and therefore the air speed was more directly pointed.  This made me listen very closely to hear if the octave exchanges seemed to want to move quickly or slowly.  The overall concept of cross-fading had a diversity of approach.  Some regions were moved to quickly, others slowly, and I used changes in dynamic level to help accentuate these shifts.

The “walking” trill is a trill technique I’ve explored many times over during this project, where I alternate striking the key with my index and middle fingering, trilling the note at a pace much more quickly than what is possible with a traditional trill.  I worked on this improvisation for some time before recording it, and unfortunately the even tempo of the trill whittled away with each minute that passed due to fatigue in my fingers and for-arm.  Because of this I mixed the walking trill with the standard trill technique, and used the two as more a platform to explore more abstract clacking beneath the played pitches.  The trill did serve a very specific purpose however, as its use created a slight variation of pitch over all the different ranges.  


The image “Struggle” accompanying today’s post by Robert Goodnough (1967).