04/08/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 98)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 98

Date: 04/08/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


I spent a portion of the day reviewing my notations on small intervals chord clusters.  I’m in the process of committing to memory the fingering systems to all the split tone chords I’ve discovered so far.   This inspired my improvisation today, which covered a total interval span of less than a minor third, in ascending order from a middle octave concert Bb. 

There are 6 fingerings used in this improvisation.  In the tenor key, the root of each two-note chord is as follows: C, C#, D quarter step flat, D, D quarter step sharp, Eb.  The interval distance in each chord does not exceed a half step, and in a few cases each chord has tones that are only slightly larger than a quarter step.  My aim during this improvisation was to create small pockets of energy that lasted no longer than a single breath would allow.  Each chord was therefore only played once, and I punctuated space between the chords with a short amount of silence.  

Because of the nature of playing these chords, there’s a great variety of waves created even within a single two note pair.  Each chord is therefore naturally unsteady, and I explored this unsteadiness and the silent punctuations between them to create the illusion that the chords had not changed at all, just evolved in sound a bit.  Even when played directly against one another the change in pitch is so slight and gradual from chord to chord it’s difficult to hear the ascending shape at all, and particularly so when silence is used between them. 


The image “America (Burnt/Unburnt)” by artist Claire Fontaine (2011).