Some of you may have heard or seen me hang chimes from the next strap holder of the soprano. This, of course, enables me to improvise to the chance rhythmic and melodic occurrences that result from the movement of the soprano.
The balloon extensions have a similar function.
There are a few differences. One, the balloons are attached to the bell of the horn, not the neck strap holder, and two, the movement of the balloons creates more of a rattling-effect, that’s neither rhythm nor melodic specific.
The rattling effect: This is created by placing bits of dry rice inside of deflated balloons and then inflating the balloons to the desired length. For me, once I inflate the balloons, I like to tie the ends and connect them all to create a visual as well as sonic collage.
What’s great about this type of improvisation is that it teaches you to go deeper inside of your sonic language in order to find musically compatible responses to the rattling effect.
Even if you don’t care to try this in public, it could be fun to try at home just to see what you come up with.
Oh, and I almost failed to mention that I used the effect as a way to interpret Steve Lacy's "Deadline." The footage is a little grainy, but the point is still clear.