My most recent prepared saxophone explorations is what I call "Groan Tube Soprano." This is a technique where I take the noisemaker (see Figures 1A - C) inside of the Groan Tube — a small cylinder-shaped device that produces a toy baby like sound when it moves up and down the tube—and place it inside of the soprano by dropping it into the bell.
Of course, the entire Groan Tube cannot fit into my soprano, but the aforementioned noisemaker does fit quite snuggly.
Step 1: Aquire a Groan Tube!
Step 2: Remove the noisemaker located inside the Groan Tube.
Step 3: Drop the noisemaker into the bell of the soprano.
One of the benefits of playing with this noisemaker piece inside my instrument is that I’m forced to explore a multitude of velocities through which I can move sound through my instrument. Playing the soprano the conventional way is not an option. However, blowing the airstream slowly, rapidly, jaggedly, inhaling, exhaling, slap tonguing, and flutter tonguing—they all seem to force the air stream to interact with the noisemaker in interesting and unpredictable ways. In addition, pressing the keys adds another layer of sound manipulation.
Joining me is Canadian-based soprano saxophonist Kayla Milmine-Abbott--an important musical figure on Toronto’s improvised music scene. Together, I’m sure you’ll all agree we’re able to create a musical realm like no other.
* Below is a clip of flutist Stacy Russell demonstrating this technique with the flute body and foot joint.