02/10/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 41)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 41

Date: 02/10/2013
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)


This morning I woke an hour before dawn to record this improvisation, and an old memory immediately came to me when I picked up my horn. When I was a kid my mother raised my siblings and I in the Catholic church. Near the end of mass there was an exchange that would occur. The priest, acting as a “crier” would name those to pray for and we would respond back with a phrase: (Priest) “for all those those that are sick and dying, lord here our prayer” (congregation) “thanks be to god.” This would go on for at least a few minutes, with a total of ten or so exchanges. This event would have a very strong, two-fold affect on me from week to week. Firstly, I discovered the amazing power of repetition in a group setting. Secondly, I was struck by the eerie feeling created in me when a crowd responded with a mono-tone phrase, regardless of its intent. My piece today explores this idea of the “crier” and the “response.”

For this improvisation I used a concert Db pitch (with the tenor low Bb key down) in repetition to elicit a tranquil, calm mood–that of the “crier.” I then change this pitch by putting down the tenor low C key, which drops it by a half step and begins a fingering for a mutiphonic. I hear this pitch as the response, though I tried to make it as natural and patient a transition as possible. The fingering is as follows: (Left Hand) B-A-G Keys and Low Bb (Right Hand) F-E-D keys, low Eb and low C keys. My overall goal was to create a calm and reflective mood through an exploration between two simple and complimentary gestures.