04/01/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 91)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 91

Date: 04/01/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


On recommendation from my brother, I’m currently reading a book about the Memory Palace technique, which is a mnemonic device used to remember virtually any strain of information.  This is a fascinating idea, and as part of this process I’ve decided to spend time surveying areas of my playing which I know to be weak, in order to identify new methods of progress.  Today I practiced with 10 note groupings at varying tempos, and tried to string together the same 10 notes with different mental interpretations each time.  For example, I would slur (play smoothly) all 10 notes, but in my mind beam the notes in groups of 4, 4 and 2 (10 total).  Then on the second repetition I would “beam” them in groups of 4, 2, 4, than 2, 4, 4.  I then went into odd note grouping–3, 2, 5 etc.  Though the figure itself audibly sounded the same, I tried to change my perspective to see if it could warrant any improvement.  

In my improvisation today, I decided to try and sonically capture a balance between process in my mind and the reality coming out of my instrument.  I used a common starting fingering: (Left Hand) B-A-G, Low B // (Right Hand) F-E-D, and by opening and closing my first finger B key, side Bb, and the Low F key, I created a cyclical pattern.  This pattern was as follows: 1-2-3-4 // 5-6 // 7-8-9-10 (10 total beats).  There were some mistakes during this improvisation, but for the most part I maintained this pattern with accuracy.  The figure is played in different octaves with different pitches during this improvisation, though again, the fingering system remained the same.  The pattern does show itself when certain octaves are played, but at other times, depending on the octave, the pattern seems to be blurred altogether.  To create some division in the piece, I would occasionally play a “role” by breaking the pattern.  This resulted in the rapid, trilled sounds captured at times.  


The image accompanying todays post by printmaker and pen and ink artist Alfred Kubin (1877-1959).