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Solo Works for Prepared Soprano Saxophone

A CD recording exploring the sonic realm of solo prepared-saxophone.

Overview

During the period of May 2018 – August 2018, I will record a solo soprano saxophone CD, whereby my soprano saxophone will be prepared in order to manipulate how air enters the saxophone and how it exits the saxophone. Below are the five ways in which the saxophone will be prepared.

Prepared Soprano #1 (Scotch tape): The sound will be altered by me placing Scotch tape over the neck opening and then puncturing small holes in it so that air can pass through when you blow through the mouthpiece. Due to the air obstructions, instead of producing a steady stream of air, random bursts of air will travel through the instrument, creating a jagged column of air that will allow me to present a fresher perspective to familiar ideas.

Prepared Soprano # 2 (aluminum foil): Here, I will prepare the soprano by placing aluminum foil at the end of the bell. And by blowing through the instrument, most effectively in the lower register, I will be able to create rattling-effects that sound similar to a trumpet Harmon mute.

Prepared Soprano #3 (reed straw): Here, I will use a reed out of a plastic straw by cutting the corners into a triangular shape which will allow me to create a double reed like vibrating mechanism. I will then blow through this reed in place of my regular mouthpiece. In doing so, I will be able to create a sound comparable to double reed folk instruments, such as the shehnai and the Chinese musette.

Prepared Soprano #4 (sax with a dangling sound source): Here, I will hang a dangling sound source (typically a set of chimes) from the neck strap holder, and I will respond musically to the random melodic and rhythmic occurrences set in motion by the movement of the soprano.

Prepared Soprano #5 (sax with tube extensions): Here, I will use plastic tubes of varying lengths and attach the mouthpiece to one end and I attached the neck of the saxophone to the other. In doing so, I will extend the air column of the air that travels to the saxophone, consequently, enabling me to produce tones two octaves below the soprano’s lowest note.  Many have said that the sonic effect is likened to that of the Austrailian digeridoo.

The importance of this work: Recording these pieces will afford me the opportunity to continue my twenty-year vision of expanding the sonic parameters of the saxophone.

The recording, itself: Typically, solo saxophone recording a pretty low maintenance. However, for the past five years, I’ve been working with the concept of layered soprano, whereby, through overdubbing, I’ve been known to record as many as fifteen different soprano parts. This gives the panelists more insight into why this project will take several months to complete, and why I will need the amount of funding specified to bring the project to fruition.

Project Media

The Straight Horn of Africa
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Features: Sam Newsome

This piece from my 2014 recording The Straight Horn of Africa. West African percussion was my source of inspiration. You might say this is solo saxophone channeled through the lens of a West African percussion ensemble.

– Please note that all sounds heard are produced by the soprano saxophone. There are no percussion instruments.
– The percussive sounds are produced using the slap-tongue technique, not by clicking the keys of the saxophone.
– There are 12 different soprano parts heard.

This recording received 4 1/2 stars in Downbeat.

Two-Man Orchestra
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Features: Sam Newsome

This piece is from my 2017 release Sopranoville: Works for Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone. Two-Man Orchestra is from a 21-part song cycle. The work features two sopranos playing multiphonics, creating hybrid chords comprised of 12TET and non-12TET tonalities. This recording received 5-stars in Downbeat.

Blues for Robert Johnson
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Features: Sam Newsome

The piece is from my 2009 recording Blue Soliloquy. It features extended techniques such as micro-tones and multiphonics in the context of blues. I included this work to give you a perspective of my solo saxophone music that does not involve over-dubbing. This recording received 5-stars in Downbeat.

Start and End Dates

05/15/201808/25/2018

Location

New York, New York

Project Created By

New York, New York
New York-based saxophonist and composer Sam Newsome works primarily in the medium of solo saxophone, a concept from which he gained worldwide critical acclaim with the release of his 2009 recording Blue Soliloquy: Solo Works for Soprano Saxophone, receiving a five-star review in Downbeat magazine.  Newsome has released six critically-acclaimed solo saxophone CDs, in total:  Sopranoville: Works for Prepared…

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