12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 281
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: The orchestra room at Chief Sealth High School. Seattle, WA
In today’s improvisation I worked with a close-knit split-tone sound that I used as a drone. I let it flex up and down and worked to create interruptions of “action” on top of it. I wanted these points of interruption to feel like like a clear departure from the established oscillation of the split-tone, but I also wanted these melodies to feel as though they were naturally born out of the drone itself. This particular split-tone has a hollowness to it that I found to be beautiful, and I tried to sculpt the interruptions in kind. I perceived these interruption “actions” as sound flourishes. To create the illusion of reverb, I primarily used the Side C, Side F, Side F# while opening and closing fingerings in the left hand. This helped to bind the sounds together into longer, more sustained phrases. I’ve recorded in the orchestra room at Chief Sealth 3 other times during this project, and I’ve discussed in the past how remarkably dead this room is. Throughout this improvisation I tried to work against the room’s natural tendencies.
During this improvisation I visualized an arch of sound with the mid point occurring at the busiest point of the interrupting melodic action. After the mid point of the improvisation I changed the split tone and began bending between the lower register B and an upper register C. I then gradually shortened the length of the melodic interruptions, and worked to bring down the volume and pacing of action to the approximate levels used in the opening of the improvisation.
The split tone oscillated between a Concert B and C, and used a fixed fingering:
(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Low B // (Right Hand) 2-3, Low C
*Near the mid point of the improvisation a series of booming sounds take place that occurred in the rafters above where I was recording. These sounds were not intentionally a part of the recording.*
The image “Three Parts” accompanying today’s post by Susan Rothenberg (1987-88).