03/18/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 77)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 77

Date: 03/18/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone 

Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)


One of my continuing personal challenges is to discover news ways to play a repetitive melodic gesture with non-traditional fingerings.  I worked with four fixed pitches in my improvisation today.  The pitches, in concert key are: Ab, Bb, Db, Eb.  After briefly practicing the sequence of fingerings, I began with no particular shape or melody.  As is almost always the case, after the first few moments of the improvisation a great number of ideas sprang into my mind. 

The fingering sequenced I used creates a spoken note and a “false,” repeated note.  It’s false in the sense that I phrase the melodic figure as though the note produced would be completely separate.  In this way it sounds like a momentary hick-up in the phrase, though the tempo and spacing between notes actually remained even.  This can be heard in the concert Bb pitch, where I would often play the Bb, the “false” Bb, and then move to the Ab.

The are four pitches used in this improvisation, not counting the repeated false Bb.  To create these pitches I used fingerings which had deeper overtones in them.  This can be clearly heard every time I move back to the bottom most note, the concert Ab.  The tone seems to pop out because there are actually a number of separate notes that are capable of being played with that particular fingering.  The fingerings used are as follows:

Concert Ab: (Left Hand) B-A keys, Low Bb // (Right Hand) F-E-D keys, Low C

Concert Bb: (Left Hand) A keys, Low Bb // (Right Hand) F-E-D Keys, Low C

(False Bb add the Side C to the above Concert Bb fingering)

Concert Db: (Left Hand) Fork F, C key, Low Bb // (Right Hand) F-E-D Keys, Low C

Concert Eb: (Left Hand) Fork F, C-G keys, Low Bb // (Right Hand) F-E-D Keys, Low C

The photo accompanying this post is of artist Marina Abramovic, who I was fortunate to see perform live in her real-time installation “The Artist Is Present” at the MOMA in 2010.