12/19/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 353)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 353

Date: 12/19/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


During a brief practice session this morning I worked with extreme dynamic shifts with abrupt texture changes.  In what eventually became today’s improvisation, I isolated two lower register pitches and two upper register textures, and paired each of the lower tones with the same upper texture each time.  I used the powerful bell tone pitches B and Bb, and played each of them at a high volume with a wide vibrato and faster oscillation.  The upper textures were played with no vibrato and were held at an extremely low volume.  The Low B was paired with a split-tone Ab/Bb in the upper register, and the Low Bb was paired with a muted single Bb pitch in the upper register.   These fingerings were as follows:

Low Register B

Standard Low B fingering

Upper register texture: Ab/Bb split-tone

(Left Hand) 1-2, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low Eb

Low Register Bb

Standard Low Bb fingering

Upper register texture: Muted Bb

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

In performing this improvisation, I tried my best to execute the low register pitches with a common vibrato, constant vibrato oscillation, and common dynamic level.  I was moderately successful at this.  I tried to follow suit with the upper register tones as well, attempting to play each sound in turn with a constant dynamic level.  For the upper register Bb (paired with the Low Bb), I attempted to play this pitch as quietly as possible.  However the Ab/Bb split tone pitch (paired with the Low B), I played at a slightly higher volume.  Again, I was only moderately successful at maintaining consistency.  With the extreme dynamic and texture changes, I recognized an opportunity to use silence as a compositional component.  With this in mind I used abrupt cut-offs when moving between octaves and when finishing phrases.  This was done to heighten the potency of the silence when it was utilized.


The image “Through and Beyond” accompanying today’s post by Sandra Blow.