02/03/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 34)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 34

Date: 02/03/2013
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island


This was a pre-dawn improvisation today, and I woke up feeling an impulse to work with a familiar technique. Part of my daily practice routine involves singling pitches and matching this pitch on the saxophone. I work on singing from the bottom-most note on the horn (low Bb) to a high F with accurate pitch. I find that this helps to strengthen my mind towards a goal of hearing each note on my horn as though it were coming from my own voice. The next step in this process was for me to begin singing pitches while I played. My improvisation today uses this technique.

My goal in this improvisation was not to sing with crystal clear intonation, but instead to kind of create an atmosphere of pliable unison pitches. The idea here being that at times I lock into the intonation, but have the flexibility to bend the pitch towards the next note my mind feels like exploring. I begin this improvisation with unison pitches and then briefly enter into a small period of harmony. After having sung and played a pitch, I hold onto this fingering while singing a new note. I would then move to the pitch that I had sung. This is an amazing process, as the mind is forced to think of a number of pitches at the same time: the pitch you are singing, the fingering needed to produce the same pitch, then the harmony between the pitch you are sining and pitch you are playing, and finally to match the fingering of the pitch you are now singing. This is a kind of mental labrynth that seems to take me deeper every time I explore it.