03/19/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 78)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 78

Date: 03/19/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Performing Arts Hall at Chief Sealth High School.  Seattle, WA


My reserved mood was welcomed by an improvisation to match it today.  The use of drones to elicit mood in music is a very powerful tool in my mind.  I’m interested in exploring drones with melodic counterpoint, and this improvisation makes use of a very simple example of this.  The physical nature of creating this particular sound requires a very breathy tone from the horn, which accounts for so much ambient sound captured in this recording.

I attempted to maintain a Concert Eb drone at all times while playing.  The melody above this drone focuses on a repetitive motion from a Concert B to a Concert Bb.  The Concert Eb and D pitches above the melody were played with a single fingering, though the sum total of sounds was created by using two.  In the final 20 seconds or so of the piece there is a momentary shift in tonality up a half step.  This was not intentional, and though the mistake is obvious I felt the overall spirit captured in this improvisation was stronger than other recorded attempts I made at it.

The Concert Eb drone can remain fully unbroken between the two fingerings below:

1.)  Concert B, D and Eb pitches plus drone: (Left Hand) B-A Keys, Octave Low Bb // (Right Hand) F-E keys, Low C and Side F

2.)  Concert Bb plus drone: Same fingering as above but add the D key in the Right Hand.


The image “Le Nu Sombre” accompanying today’s post by Pierre Bonnard (1941)