Sam Newsome

Sam Newsome
"The potential for the saxophone is unlimited." - Steve Lacy



A Noise From The Deep: A Greenleaf Music Podcast with Dave Douglas

Thursday, June 6, 2019

A Listening Guide: Extended and Prepared Techniques for Saxophone

Some of you may have seen some of my video demonstrating my extended techniques and prepared saxophone preparations.

I thought here, I’d explain things that I do in the context of a live performance, and in the context of group performance.

The following performance took place on Monday, June 3, 2019, as a part of Bushwick Improvised Music Series, curated by Stephen Gauci. Here, I’m heard with my trio Newsome, Morris & Lee. 



My style is based on two principles:

1. If you want unconventional outcomes, the process through which you create must also be unconventional

2. I constantly change my sound every two to three minutes. This is not something I consciously do, it just so happens that this is how I instinctively do it.


Below is a minute to minute,  second to second account of all of the different ways I'm changing up the sound and utilizing different extended techniques and horn preparations.




LISTENING GUIDE

00:00 – Improvisation interspersed with extended techniques: flutter, double, and slap tonguing and multi-phonics.

03:37 - Switched to my short tube extension. This enabled me to get more of a double reed texture. Mixed with circular breathing, it results in a very interesting effect. 

07:12 - Switched to the playing-without-mouthpiece technique. This allowed me to get almost an airy brass texture.

08:24 - Switched to medium tube extension with the flugelhorn bubble mute placed into the bell of the soprano saxophone. Again, with circular breathing, it allowed me to get to some very interesting textures

11:05 - Removed the flugelhorn bubble mute. This enabled me to get more projection.

11:55 - Began playing the soprano saxophone unprepared.

12:55 - Began playing the soprano saxophone unprepared with balloons. Dry rice was placed inside of the balloons to give them the rattling effect.

14:15 – Placed Vuvuzela horn inside the bell of the soprano saxophone. Along with circular breathing, this is excellent for creating a drone effect.

16:05 - Began playing the soprano saxophone unprepared.

16:49 - Began playing the soprano saxophone unprepared with hanging metal chimes.

20:00 - Went back to only playing the soprano saxophone unprepared.

23:00 – Placed a plastic noisemaker into the bell of the soprano saxophone.

24:00 – Began playing the soprano saxophone without mouthpiece while the plastic noisemaker remains inside.

24:15- Began playing the soprano saxophone without mouthpiece with finger cymbals.

27:00 - Began playing the soprano saxophone with hanging wood chimes.

29:00 – Went back to playing only the soprano saxophone with a plastic noisemaker.

31:24 - Began playing the mouthpiece only.

31:44 -  Began playing the medium plastic tube alone.

32:00 - Began playing the medium plastic tube with the flugelhorn bubble mute.

32:27 -  Began playing the soprano saxophone with the medium tube extension and plastic noisemaker.



So there it is. All laid out in plain sight. Stay tuned for more.



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