gazing off into the horizon of the hudson valley

gazing off into the horizon of the Hudson valley with the most generous #RomanFiliu.
Posted Saturday, March 29th, 2014

fear less

fear less. #fe4rles5 #brooklyn #nyc #streetart via Instagram
Posted Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

favorite music

“One example of my favorite music is to listen to noises appearing in nature in a situation where one may separate each sound clearly from the other and ones ears have enough time to rest between single audible events, falling slowly from the state of impression into complete relaxation. One can find such situations in rural areas all over the world. As I can not find a representative example for this music in my library for you to download and listen to, I may ask you to go outside and find an ambiance as described above and enjoy it.” -Matthias Loibner

Posted Monday, March 24th, 2014

In pursuit of magic…

In pursuit of magic… #nyc #streetart #ipmofficial #inpursuitofmagic @ipmofficial via Instagram

Posted Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

quarter-tone fingerings for saxophone

Sax Quarter-Tone and Multiphonic Fingerings

The image above is a fingering chart of just some of these alternative fingerings, organized ‘chromatically’ from lowest to highest sounding tone. Note: Shaded in keys indicate half-pressed keys.
Saxophone fingering font created by Tristan Durie.

Using quarter-tone fingerings for saxophone to your advantage:

The saxophone can be used to alter the pitch and timbre of many tones.  This is accomplished by venting the air differently through the horn, which requires us to adopt some alternative fingerings.

Generally speaking, these altered fingerings are generally referred to as ‘quarter-tone fingerings’.  Please take this labeling with a grain of salt because even at its best, quarter-tonality on the saxophone is very much approximated since there are only a few “pure” quarter-tone fingerings available, and the faintest adjustment of embouchure can render a quarter-tone fingering into something else entirely—something that I believe to be very rewarding.

Interestingly, many of these fingerings also double as multiphonic fingerings with the proper adjustment in embouchure and airspeed. I encourage you to try them out for yourself to see what resonates best.

Here are more links to other useful saxophone quarter-tone fingering charts for further reference:

The Woodwind Fingering Guide
Klaus Gesing’s Quarter-Tone Fingerings

For the curious, I talk more about saxophone technique in my book:
Introducing Extended Saxophone Techniques” published by Mel Bay.

Posted Sunday, February 9th, 2014


Curtis Macdonald is a saxophonist, composer and producer based in Brooklyn, NY.