02/24/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 55)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 55

Date: 02/24/2013
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Electronics storage closet on 45th, University District in Seattle, WA


During a brief practice session today, I found myself pulled towards a tonal improvisation. I challenged myself to create a piece that is simultaneously melodic and harmonic. This piece has a very bluesy feeling to me–not necessarily melancholic, but with that unquantifiable soul that points towards the longing in the blues.

This improvisation uses three fingerings. The pitches, in concert key are as follows; Bb, Db, D, Eb. The first fingering enables me to play the Concert Bb and Db simultaneously, but I use my embouchure to control when to release each pitch. The second fingering plays the Db only, and though it uses the same pitch found in the first fingering, it carries with it more of a stuffy quality. Again, I choose when to select this fingering or the first when the music deems it necessary. Finally, the third fingering enables me to play the Concert D and Eb. With this fingering, I am able to play both pitches at the same time, but as above I choose most often to play only one at a time. 

Because all three of the fingerings above have a great deal of flexibility, I am able to bend in and out of two pitches at one while trying to balance volume. For example, when playing the third fingering (Concert D and Eb), I am able to carefully make one pitch slightly more audible than the other. This enabled me to play my melodic gestures soulfully by bending pitches, bring in more breathiness or to play with more of a straight, traditional tone.