10/09/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 282)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 282

Date: 10/09/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


After finishing my practice session I set to work with the immediate goal of trying to find a new sound texture on the horn.  After searching for some time I developed a fingering for a wide range multiphonic chord with a series of 3 clustered pitches in the upper register.  Each pitch could be isolated or played in harmony.  But after playing the shape melodically and in sound cycle format, I  realized that I had learned this shape some time ago and forgotten it.  That was a testament to the fact that these discoveries, if not implanted in my brain or at minimum properly notated down, can tend to disappear.  For those who are curious, the fingering was as follows:

In ascending order and in the tenor key of Bb, the pitches were:

-Bottom most pitches: D quarter step sharp, G quarter step flat.  

-Upper register 3-tone cluster: Eb, F quarter step flat, Gb

(Left Hand) Fork F key, 2-3, Octave // (Right Hand) 2-3, Low C, Low Eb

I stopped for a moment in frustration, and when I picked the horn back up, strangely another long-forgotten shape came immediately into my fingers.  The sound of this second shape resonated with me much deeper, and I decided to perform a blind improvisation and re-discover some of its possibilities.  The overall sound shape explored in this improvisation was built off of the Low Bb fingering while barely opening and closing the Low Eb key.  I blew into the horn with an air flow that helped to pull out a myriad of overtones.  The warbling vibrato sounds were made by trilling open and closed the Octave key.  Other techniques included intermittently tilling the Palm D and Eb keys, and the gentle and extremely quiet lower register upward bends were made from the initial burst of air escaping out of the low Eb key.  These bends occurred at various points during the improvisation for a second at most.  An example of an upward bend can be heard at 1:17


The image accompanying today’s post is a bird nest created by Weaver Birds.