The Electrofonic Saxophone

Kjetil Møster, University of Bergen, faculty of fine art, music and design

My project springs out of experiences with use of saxophone in electronic or electrically amplified music, and a need to find a more stable platform on which to perform within an electronic or electric musical environment. The areas I will explore contains:

  1. technical aspects. This covers both physical challenges with how to produce an acoustic sound on the instrument that harmonizes with electronic or electric sound, and technological issues, on how to incorporate sound processing tools on the instrument in an optimal way.
  2. performative aspects, to expand the functions and roles of the saxophone, both within
    ensembles and as a solo instrument, acoustically and with use of sound processing

My artistic goal is to develop a way of expressing myself through my instrument, which functions as optimal as it can for me within an electronic or electrically amplified musical environment, both with use of the instrument’s acoustic sound and with use of technology. The use of the instrument should show alternative possibilities of roles and functions within the musical textures it is a part of.

This will be reached through self studies and collaborations. The self studies will take particular use of certain exercises that develops the texture of my acoustic sound, and then measuring and registering how these exercises affects the sound. It involves learning new sound processing software, and expanding the technical setup for integrating electronics, and making this setup a fluent part of my musical expression. It also involves reflecting on and trying alternative functions and roles for the instrument. The collaborations will involve a project ensemble for trying out these roles and functions. It also involves other parts with certain technical expertise; NTNU, Department for electronics and telecommunications will take part in developing a microphone system suited for getting a good and even signal from the saxophone. BEK (Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts) has high competence on technical setups for sound processing, and is very likely to become a close collaborator.

As the creative and/or experimenting music scene in general is moving in a genre-less and technology based direction, I see a need for developing this side of my instrument’s potential. Not much work has been done on performer controlled live processing of saxophone sound, and the possibilities this may generate.