09/27/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 270)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 270

Date: 09/27/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


In today’s improvisation I used the internal pitch structure of a multiphonic chord as the bulk of the improvising material.  I had a discussion with my old saxophone teacher Michael Brockman yesterday about the application of multiphonic and split tone chords in composition, and this topic became my source material today.  I structured the improvisation around a chord with the following pitches: C (middle octave), B quarter step flat (upper octave) and F# (altissimo octave).  The chord shape used the following fingering:

(Left Hand) 1-3, Octave, Low B // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C

With each execution of the multiphonic chord, I tried to give the listener some variation in volume. At times I would do a diminuendo shape spread over say 3-4 times playing the chord, do a contrasting crescendo shape,  or more indeterminately play the chord loud or soft.  The 3 pitches C, B, F# that made up the chord were used as the improvising material during the puckish interludes between the swiping chord sounds.   I moved the 3 pitches to various octaves at will and used traditional fingerings.

The swiping chords used at the beginning of the improvisation were rooted in a fingering similar to the main chord above.  However, the pitch content was more unrelated, focusing on an A to Bb motion.  I chose this texture because of it’s muted quality and lower register than the remaining material.  This was in contrast to the more solid mutiphonic chord and the plain-spoken single pitches.  I felt this contributed to an overall balance of textures during the improvisation.

I alternated between two chord shapes to create this sound.  

(Left Hand) 1-3, Low B // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C (same as the primary multiphonic fingering, but without the octave key).

(Left Hand) 1-2, Low B // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C


The image “Le Beau Monde” accompanying today’s post by Rene Margritte (1962).