12/05/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 339)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 339

Date: 12/05/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


This morning I reached for new and less trodden textures during my practice session.  This did not however manifest itself in an inspired idea for recording today until the end of my practice session, when I re-visited an older technique of fingering a pitch while singing with my voice into the horn.  In the past, while using this technique in recording I have stuck primarily to singing a fixed pitch while alternating fingerings around it.  Today I decided to use more fixed fingerings, and allow myself the flexibility to sing a wider range, all the while returning very frequently to established pitch centers.  

While recording this piece today I was amazed at the variety of overtones that the combination of my voice and the horn could cull up.  Around the 2:00 minute mark, and incredible array of pitches in block chords moved up and down the horn along with my voice.  These moments of rich harmonic spectrums offset the otherwise constant motion of the single pitches.  During this improvisation I tried to use as many mouth shapes and syllabic sounds as possible, but I limited my tongue articulations to only single tonging.  Interestingly, while tonging the end result created the phonetic sound “do do do” extremely often whether I was using this sound shape or not.  Other techniques included vibrato made with the back of my mouth and the upward–downward motion of the back side of my tongue.  

I primarily used the traditional Low Bb fingering during this piece, but would also occasionally lift my second finger the right hand (E key), or add the octave key in the left hand.


The image accompanying today’s post by Roman Opalka.