09/04/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 247)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 247

Date: 09/04/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Practice room B at South Whidbey High School.  Langley, WA (Whidbey Island)


During a long break between students this afternoon, I explored the reverberant sound of practice room B at South Whidbey High School.  The shear mass of sound from the saxophone seems to overwhelm this room even at a quiet dynamic level, and while prancing I worked to find single note melodies that balanced the heavy reverb with interconnected melodic lines.  My aim was to give the illusion of polyphonic sound without actually doing it. Tighter clusters and multiphonics do sound excellent in this space, but I wanted to take almost a pianistic approach by having the flexibility to explore sound color as though I were taking away the sustain pedal.  

This improvisation uses a recurring finger shape that had some flexibility to slightly change the cycle to introduce new subtleties.  Some elements of the cycle put a natural emphasis on one note versus another.  Because the cycle itself is very muted in timbre, any slight interruption by adding a non-muted tone naturally emphasizes this new pitch.  Because of this, I kept virtually the same airspeed the entire piece and used very little tongue at all, yet there are definite rhythms and tiny melodies that emerge in the listeners ear and I shifted from one fingering focus to another.

Overall, I rooted myself in the following fingering:

(Left Hand) B-A-G Keys // (Right Hand) F-D keys

From this fingering I created a sound cycle by opening and closing the B key in the left hand, Side C, and Side Bb.  The slight changes to the cycle took place primarily in the left hand, where I would lift either the G key or the C key.


The image “Palmtree Island (Oasis) Project, New York, New York, Perspective” accompanying today’s post by Haus-Rucker-Co, Gunter Zamp Kelp, Laurids Ortner, Manfred Ortner and Kaus Pinter (1971).