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

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 12

Date: 01/12/2013
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio Clinton, Wa on Whidbey Island)


In my practice session today I worked at slowly building strains of melodic material. This is a technique I practice often, and I always find it to be incredibly difficult but very rewarding. Essentially I begin with a single pitch, repeat it with a second pitch, repeat those two and add a third, and so on. If these pitches were given numbers, the sequence would be as follows: 1 // 12 // 123 /// 1234 // 12345 // and so on. I find that I do very well with repetition up to about a figure of 12 pitches. To challenge myself even further, I often add quarter tones or multiphonics into the sequence as well. 

This melody utilizes tempered pitches and quarter step pitches. The quarter step pitches are approximately ¼ step above or below (depending on which direction you choose to think about it) a traditional note. In this sequence, I begin with the pattern described above, until I reached a total of 12 pitches. At this point I choose a small fragment of the melody, repeat it 3 times, and move back into the full 12 note sequence, which I again play 3 times but always one after the other. Sometimes I choose to put space between the small fragments and the full 12 note melody, or in other cases I move directly from the fragment into the melody.

This was a challenge for me! These particular quarter step pitches were difficult for me to play fluidly as part of a melodic line. It’s worth noting that although the original 12 note sequence was improvised, I worked at trying to get a solid take of this idea for at least 2 hours. The take used here is not perfect, and in fact I chose a natural stopping point to end the track, but during this take I attempted to keep going and made a major blunder in the melody. I hope to revisit this idea in the future during this project!