01/09/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 9)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 9

Date: 01/09/2013

Instrument: Tenor Saxophone

Location: Home studio (Clinton, WA on Whidbey Island)


For a time I studied classical Hindustani music while in college.  I came to a realization one day that in the majority of slower improvisations, performers in this style use grace note ornamentation on nearly every pitch.  Once I came this realization it gave me yet another heightened level of respect for the complication of improvising in the strict classical Hindustani school.  For my piece today, I explored this use of ornamentation.

Every other day or so in my improvisatory practice routine, I create melodies where I try to ornament each pitch with a grace note that precedes it.  In my piece today I worked with this concept, choosing pitches at will and attempting to place a slight grace note before every note that I play.  This is amazingly difficult, and  particularly so at a quick tempo.  I attempted to do this while creating disjunct rhythmic phrases.  

In this improvisation I set out to try and slowly lengthen the duration of the grace notes, until the pitches become almost fully regular, sounding as though  they have no preceding note.  I intended to do this and end the piece once I felt I had achieved this, but in that moment I decided to continue the improvisation and attempt to perform the same task in reverse, by beginning once again slowly shorten the length of the grace notes.  As an image today at neilwelch.com I included a screen shot of this sound file, which I think very clearly illustrates this in a visual format.