09/17/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 260)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 260

Date: 09/17/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Performance hall at Chief Sealth International High School.  Seattle, WA


After a few months away from this room, I recorded this morning in the performance hall at Chief Sealth High School.  I love this space, but I’m admittedly a bit intimidated recording here.  The acoustics are vibrant and warm and the space is welcoming enough, but it seems every time I walk into this room my sound is overtaken by the shear size and presence of it.  I don’t often perform in a traditional performance hall, and rarely one of this size.  This is a very flexible space, and it allows for an amazing dynamic range and very site-specific sonic responses as I play.  I think my leeriness may come from my own ego trying to fulfill the allure of this room.  It offers so many specific options I rarely take full advantage of, or execute in such a way as to maximize their effect.  Today I walked in feeling much more confident and welcomed the chance to explore what the room had to offer me.

Because of the clear projection of my sound in this room, I decided to record a piece that used a phasing melodic sound with the illusion of an echo.  This was best executed near the beginning of the improvisation at (:18).  To do this, I projected my volume at an equal level but would very quickly pull back my volume as evenly as possible at the very last moment.  I thought of my sound as traveling along a fixed line with a quick descent at a 45 degree angle into silence.  I used a recurring folk-like melody, and explore de-tuned tones at the ends of my phrasing.  Along with the dips in volume, the de-tuned pitches helped to contribute to the illusion of an echo.  I developed this improvisation over about 15 minutes of trial recording, letting the room be my guide as how to best achieve these effects.


The image “Stellar by Starlight #2” accompanying today’s post by Anne Noggle (1985).