02/09/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 40)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 40

Date: 02/09/2013
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)


During a brief practice session this morning, I stumbled on a new fingering which became my inspiration for this improvisation today. This piece does not utilize this fingering alone, but instead uses it as more a point of balance. This fingering creates a very dark, melancholic chord.

The fingering is as follows: (Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Low B // (Right Hand) F# key, Low C and High F# key. With only a small amount of pressure, this naturally speaks a minor third chord with the concert key pitches C# and E. By carefully adjusting my air flow and embouchure pressure an E# can also be introduced. This created a mutation of mood for me while playing. The aesthetic difference between minor third chord and major third chords is fundamental, and combining the two makes the color palate all the more vibrant. As the piece evolved, I also began introducing upper register drones on a concert F and B.

This minor/major chord became my sound foundation. I then created a “drip-like” affect by quickly opening and closing the Low Bb and Low D keys one at a time. By doing so, the chord is allowed to pull and flex instead of change pitch completely.. Throughout this improvisation I also played a recurring gesture with traditional pitches and a single multiphonic in the upper register. This created abrupt interruptions in the dripping approach. The overall affect of the piece seems to me to be one of a balance between constancy and interruption. It seemed to me almost like continuous rainfall, with occasional drips hitting the bottom of the gutters and pine cones striking a roof.