03/28/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 87)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 87

Date: 03/28/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Practice Room B at South Whidbey High School.  Langley, WA (Whidbey Island)


A friend contacted me today about a piece of music I wrote a few years ago.  The composition, entitled “For Ann” was composed after learning about the passing of a close friend’s mother, Ann Stewart, a teacher, parent, wife and wonderful person who was also an important figure in my life growing up.  This naturally brought to mind the hardship in what must be a difficult daily reality for the family she left behind.  My improvisation today was once again inspired by Ann.

This improvisation uses a single fingering with a slight, trilled gesture throughout.  The fingerings is as follows: 

(Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Low B // (Right Hand) F-E-D keys, Low C.

In the left hand, the fork F key is also trilled, being opened only about 2/3.  Since the B key in the left hand must also be constantly held down, the middle and ring fingers must close the B, A and G keys, leaving the index finger free to trill the Fork F.  This finger and trilling system creates a very consistent Concert A major chord, with the A and C# trilling in the bottom, and a static E holding in the middle.  Embouchure and air exploration created melodies in the upper register, namely one particular gesture with the pitches C#-D-E-F#-E, among others.

I was careful to maintain as very quiet level of volume overall, as the chord wouldn’t fully speak at a level above mezzo piano.  I also worked to balance tones in the chord, crossfading specific notes in and out, and in general just remaining aware of my air flow and the sounds being created to remain open to working with shapes that the horn offered to me.