12/23/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 357)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 357

Date: 12/23/2013
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)


During my practice session this morning, my time was dedicated specifically towards long tones, intonation, and the use of “pitch imagination,” a term familiar to me from Sigurd Rascher’s excellent book “Top-Tones for the Saxophone.” After a few hours of focus in these areas, I decided to freely improvise a piece that was influenced not so much by this practice session but by my natural improvisational impulses these past few days. I’ve been transfixed on the use of short, puckish tones of all sorts–controlled sounds, junk sounds, multiphonic and straight-toned, all played short. In order to draw my focus elsewhere, I focused heavily this morning on long-tones. However, when I decided to record today’s 12 Moons improvisation, my gut impulse still swayed towards short-pitched melodies.

In this piece I focused heavily on 3 fingerings, the first two for the mid register aggressive sounds, and the third for the high register pitch dots and chirps. These three fingerings were as follows:

Fingering 1 (Concert G)
(Left Hand) 1-2, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3

Fingering 2 (Concert Db)
(Left Hand) 1-2, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C

Fingering 3 (Altissimo Bb, and other altissimo pitches)
(Left Hand) 1-2, Octave, Palm Eb only, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C

Fingering 1 centered around a Concert G, which I played loosely, incorporating a wide variety of tones and textures. I moved between Fingering 1 and 2 freely, exploring the Augmented 4th interval among other pitch material. With the addition of the Palm Eb, I would move into Fingering 3, which centered around an altissimo range Bb, also among many other determined and indeterminate pitch dots. I used single and double tonging during this improvisation, with occasional breaks into moments of sustained sound. I also used silence as a tool to elevate the intensity of the improvisation.


The image “Moon Viewing Box” accompanying today’s post by Keigo Yamamoto.