12/10/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 344)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 344

Date: 12/10/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: The orchestra room at Chief Sealth high school.


The theme of sound resonance is on my mind today, both in sustain and projection.  During 15 minute breaks between students and classes, I periodically tested a variety of improvisational models, from extremely loud and aggressive texture pieces to more traditional tempered pitches.  I utilized many of the resonant tools at my disposal as part of this process, from concert chimes, to a full set of steel drums, and finally, a Steinway baby grand which was located in the corner of the room.  I ended up finding the most inspiration within the Steinway today, and worked with a mic placement that allowed for a good amount of sustain out of the strings.

During this improvisation I kept the sustain pedal down at all times, with my mic placement facing directly toward the strings.  The physical barrier of the piano lid was between my horn and this mic placement.  This resulted in more of a stuffy sound from the saxophone but much clearer resonance out of the strings.  I approached this piece freely, but gravitated towards false fingerings that brought out deeper oscillation out of the strings.  I favored the upper register, but began incorporating mid and lower register sound cycles as well at about the mid point of the improvisation.  I then immediately began incorporating more puckish pitch punctuations as well.  Overall, I tried to balance these techniques along with a wide range of dynamic shaping, and tried to remain very focused on the string resonance at all times.


The image “Le Soir” accompanying today’s post by Georges Noel (1965).