09/18/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 261

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 261

Date: 09/18/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


This is an energy piece that emerged at the end of a practice session.  During this session I focused on much more subtle, controlled elements of combining chords and split tones at quiet to medium loud dynamic levels.  It felt like a natural impulse to bring this concept into my recording today, but I decided to try an energy piece with fresh ears instead.  During this improvisation I used a split tone (two-note chord) fingering, but instead let only the bottom fundamental pitch speak.  I sang a single pitch, plucked from a major triad above this fundamental, singing either the root, 3rd or 5th each time.  This allowed a much more dynamic chord to emerge than would have with only the split-tone fingering.  The fundamental pitch itself is a quarter step sharp Concert A.  Between the held out major shapes I played aggressive sound-textures with an unrelated harmonic base along with humming, screaming and growling.  With this fingering I flicked open the Low C key to help the sound travel more aggressively up the horn.  The fingerings were as follows:

Split-tone fingering (with pitches sang in unison on the root, or harmonically on the 3rd or 5th):

(Left Hand) 1-3, Octave, Low B 


(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Low B // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Flick the low C key closed and then open.


The image “Untitled” accompanying today’s post by Barnett Newman (1946).