4/30/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 120)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 120

Date: 04/30/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Performance Hall at Chief Sealth High School


Today I worked with an ascending gesture that mixed close intervals and exploring consonance and dissonance.  The tuning system used in this piece allows for beautiful vibrations in the chord structure.  I used an interval pattern that moved from open to closed in range, with a total distance of slightly wider than a whole step.  The was done with three sounds.  In the tenor key, they were:

1.  Eb–F (whole step).  (open–the widest interval)

2.  E (quarter step sharp)–F (medium)

3.  F (quarter step sharp) (closed–fixed pitch)

After the first 30 seconds or so of the above action, I took sound 3 from the above (the fixed pitch) and opened this chord even further by bending it with my embouchure.  I would then blend this intermittently after playing sounds 1-3.  This created a total pitch distance of a Major Third with the pitches F–Eb–Db.  To play this sound the air flow must be focused downward and given a great amount of air.  Depending on my reed, this often creates a very breathy sound, and today this was particularly present.  I decided to use this as a compositional tool and created a “breath” vibrato by pulsing the air while playing the 3-tone pitch cluster. 

The fingerings (corresponding to the numbers 1-3 above):

1.  (Left Hand) Fork F, A-G keys, Octave, Low Bb //  (Right Hand) F-E keys, Low C

2.  (Left Hand) Fork F, A-G keys, Octave, Low Bb //  (Right Hand) F-E keys, Low C, High F# Key

3.  (Left Hand) Fork F, A-G keys, Octave, Low Bb //  (Right Hand) F key, Low C

For the 3-tone cluster (F–Eb–Db) use the same fingering as #3, but bend down with the embouchure and air flow.


The image “To B.W.T.” accompanying today’s post by Philip Guston (1952)