01/07/2012 (12 Moons Project Day 7)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project

Date: 01/07/2013
Instrument: Tenor Saxophone
Location: Home Studio (Clinton, WA)


Indonesian Gamelon is on my mind today. I am overwhelmed by the power of Gemelon as a tool to take the listener into a state of intense, meditative focus. The use of rhythm and timbre in Javanese Gamelon is of particularly interest to me lately. My knowledge of this music is limited, but I’ve noticed that Javanese Gamelon does not seem to be performed at tempos quite as virtuosic as it’s Indondesian counterpart This focused, carefully paced and carefully orchestrated music inspired my improvisation today. 

I chose a multiphonic with a middle range starting point. In this multiphonic is a concert “A,” (quarter step low) pitch which you will hear throughout. In Gamelon there is a pushing a pulling of rhythm and tempo. I used a great deal of pressure in my right hand to force the keys to speak tones of their own. These are tones sound by striking the key against the body, or “key cups”, with a careful amount of air that allows them to speak their own tones without creating the traditionally fingered pitches. I then used different chromatic fingering combinations and tempos to create the elasticity of tempo that is so captivating in Gamelon. To try and mirror the wide range of timbres and octaves represented in Gamelon, I used my embouchure to pull out other high and mid tones to create more rhythmic and melodic material.

-Neil Welch