03/25/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 84)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 84

Date: 03/25/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


A point of interest for me is the exploration of loosely controlled elements that borderline on what could be considered noise.  As an instrumentalist I spend hours each day refining areas of my playing, from tone production to facility and repertoire.  Screaming through my horn, overblowing the mouthpiece and many other extended techniques create amazing textures that can be practiced and prepared.  In this improvisation I explored only moderate control over the execution of the sounds that came out of my horn.  But as with any offering of sound, there is so much that can be worked with and explored.

This is a borderline area for me, as I do not consider my music to be noise.  The mere act creating sound at all on the saxophone requires some degree of control, and therefore at the root level of sound there is some order.  However, in this piece my aim was to play specific kinds of gestures in a very intentional, yet overall less precise manner.  In this improvisation I explored the extreme ends of the sound spectrum.  When playing aggressively in this way, there is an incredible calmness in my body and mind.  It seems almost as if my artistic self can feel momentarily liberated from the ego that goes along with the study of an instrument. 

There were many repeated figures and melodies throughout this piece.  I continuously referenced an altissimo Concert Bb, that pitch being a note that requires a good deal of control to accurately play in any kind of repetition.  On the opposite side of this spectrum, the melody that I open the piece with is created with a much looser level of control.  There is actually a chromatic fingering system used, a consistent amount of volume and a common pitch that I trill at in the upper register.  However, the creation of this melody has more to do with a bludgeoning of air flow versus a calm control of it.  As for the pacing of the improvisation and the musical events that took place, I left these elements as indeterminate areas to unfold of their own accord.