01/31/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 31)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 31

Date: 01/31/2013
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: South Whidbey High School large practice room in Langley, WA (Whidbey Island)


In many of my improvisations I identify a particular location for activity and gravitate my improvisatory choices around this location. This could include: a harmonic area, a rhythmic cycle, sound color, particular range, cluster of sound, etc. Bearing this in mind, today I chose to focus my attention towards a cluster of pitches spanning a small range of about a minor third in the upper register of the horn.

Inside this small intervalic range I worked with about five to six pitches of complimentary sound color. That is, each pitch carried approximately the same clarity as the pitches surrounding them. I played this cluster of notes in rapid succession at will. My use of articulation included no tongue at all, but instead used the surround microtones (the six or so pitches) to help create small rhythm cycles, and slight differentiation from note to note. By occasionally removing the octave key, or carefully playing traditional pitches, I would occasionally break this mold by introducing lower and higher octave dots of sound. 

Over the span of two teaching days I spend about 12 hours inside this practice space each week. Because it’s located in a high school music department, there are instruments, chairs, stands, etc. coming and going from week to week. Today there were two large bass drums in the corner. The first had no heads at all and the second had two large plastic heads. The combination of these two drums side by side created a very nice, ambient warmth to the room today.