12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 26
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton WA (Whidbey Island)
The evolution of our life is a fascinating process, and we all share a desire to understand this process. We carry with us inevitable degrees of expectation, things accomplished, things forgotten and undone. I heard a study on NPR recently which asked the question “do you expect your life to change dramatically over the next ten years.” Study members ranging in age from their 20 to 70, across the board believed that answer to this question was “no.” But when asked to look at the circumstances of their lives from 10 years prior and to compare where they are today, nearly all members of the study recognized that their lives were now very different. However, again nearly all of the participants believed their dramatic shifts were coincidental and not likely to happen again in the next 10 years. The end result of this case study showed that we do change, in very, very fundamental ways with each year that passes, yet at every stage in our lives we believe we’ve stopped evolving. My improvisation today was inspired by this topic.
I chose two different chord sounds, each produced with different fingerings but common links. Both chords have the same upper register tones and both chords can only be produced by manually opening and closing a single key. This key is located directly above the F key, and is normally only depressed when playing either an F, E, or D. In order to close this key only you must use an unnatural hand position to manually close the key, and then allow an existing spring to open it back up. This is the light tapping sound you hear throughout this improvisation.
I considered a notion that the past is viewed only from a current perspective, and the past lacks the clarity and finite qualities of the living moment. This is represented in the muted tone in the first half of the piece, which uses slight overtones that are barely audible. The second half of the improvisation I view as the present, and is a blossoming of the “past” or first section. The tone is full, the chord is full, and there is a more equal balance in all the pitches. The first section finds a common link to the secondary or “present” section in the overtones, but the second seems more focused and resonant.