12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 103
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA
Variation in tempo became a quick theme in my practice session today. My 12 Moons project so far has focused heavily on multiphonics and other clustered tones, and I intentionally pushed for variation today. In the duo Bad Luck, drummer Chris Icasiano and myself work on malleable time, where tempos can fluctuate smoothly or abruptly, but we have learned to respond to one another so well that the transitions feel very natural when doing them together. Individually, today I decided to work with the abrupt sense of malleable time. Instead of finding rhythmic subdivisions, I broke my freely performed melodies down into a tempo spectrum from slow to fast.
While practicing I began by arbitrarily moving from one tempo to another without an pre scripted number of notes within a given tempo. I then decided to zone in on specific numbers of pitches, and began to get a sense of my control over different tempos. I seemed to most easily hear the differences between slow, med slow, med, med fast, and fast. When I tried to break these cycles down once again, for example adding a new tempo between slow and med slow, it became much more difficult to hear them in the moment. When putting one against another it’s easier for me to execute than if, for instance in the moment I tried to move from “fast” to “med slow” to “between med slow and slow." This was really enlightening for me, because if I was only limited to hearing "slow, med slow, med, med fast and fast,” this is the equivalent to only being able to hear the dynamics “pp, mp, p, mf, f,” which would limit the total spectrum so much. This is ablsulutely something for me to work on in the future.
None the less, after performing this improvisation I did not meet my goal of having only 5 tempos, because at times I did explore a few more in between. I account for this in that during the improvisation I would at times cluster tempos together, where I might explore the slower version of the spectrum versus the faster. This naturally made me inclined to dig into the tempo variations a little deeper to find new ones in between. However, I noticed that when moving between, for example fast to med slow, I tended to then move somewhere more predictable, say med fast, versus somewhere between fast and med fast. I broke the melodies in this improvisation down into groupings of 8, 6, and 4, giving approximately equal time to each.