01/05/2013 (12 Moons Project Day 5)

12 Moons solo saxophone project

Date: 01/05/2013

Location: Home Studio (Clinton, WA)

Instrument: Tenor saxophone


I woke up in a sober, thoughtful state of mind this morning.  I practiced for at least a few hours before this piece came to me.  I deeply love the quiet harmonic worlds that can be created on the saxophone, and this piece focused on trying to capture a particular mood my horn felt like exploring.  I focused on two chords, the first of which can be played and held steady with a single fingering–this is the opening “minor” chord.  However, the second “major” chord I play cannot be executed by only a single fingering; it must be played by partially and quickly opening and closing a separate key.  Even though the two chords are complimentary in a harmonic sense, their execution requires two very different approaches.

Amazingly, playing these two chords creates two separate beat divisions.  The first “minor chord” is in a “duple” or 2 beat feel, where the second “major” chord is in a “triple” or three beat feel.  I tried to elaborate on this during the improvisation by opening and closing the same keys for both chords.  At other times I used flutter-tonging to explore the possibilities of these two subdivisions.

With all this said above, he horn spoke to me and guided me towards what to play and how to capture my sate of mind this morning.  

-Neil Welch