03/22/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 81)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 81

Date: 03/22/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


This morning we woke to find snow on the ground.  It’s the third day of Spring and it was cold enough to blanket nearly the entire island.  Schools were closed and the morning came to stand still.  My wife and I had planed on driving up the island today to take a boat onto the mainland, but had to turn around about half way after we saw several cars in the ditch and at least four or five inches of unexpected snow on the road.  By the afternoon the sun had melted it away and life returned to normal.  I recorded this piece in the late morning as I watched the snow begin to loosen up.  This is the first bit of snow this year and likely the last we’ll see.  I’ve thought all day about the transformative power this small respite from the norm provided us.

In this improvisation I explored a small oscillation of pitches from a single fingering.  These oscillations are dependent on a so many criteria, including a necessary low volume, a lighter reed and subtle gentle amounts of pressure against the reed.  The fingering is as follows: Standard low F# fingering with the Low C and Low Bb keys depressed.  

Near the conclusion of the improvisation I introduce a new chord only a single time.  The fingering for this pitch is created with with following fingering:  (Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Low Bb, Octave // (Right Hand) F#-D keys, Low C.   This chord has two pitches that make a minor third in the upper register and I can move these tones up and down with my embouchure.  By taking the octave key away I am also able to maintain this minor third melody with a steady drone pitch in the lower register.

I played each oscillating chord only as long as a single breath would allow.  I viewed this chord as the norm sound–a recurring theme that could naturally change in the subtlest of ways each time I played it.  About 80% through the piece I introduced what I perceived to be the respite minor third chord above.  After a brief pause, the norm chord returns for a final statement.


Today’s image “The town” by painter and intellectual August Strindberg