12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 105
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)
My improvisation today explores melodicism within both chordal gestures and in single pitches. The approach taken in this piece is somewhat different than any I’ve explored within this solo project so far. Generally, when I thread chords together it’s the chords themselves that are the main focus, but today I instead worked to place the internal pitches in the forefront of the sound field. This was partially achieved because of the fingering system used. During this improvisation the high F# key is constantly trilled, and when this particular key is trilled against virtually any other fingered pitch, the same high tone will be produced. This is less common in other trilled fingerings, where the trilled note will not speak in particular octaves or when paired with certain notes.
I broke the horn into three centers of action during this piece. Action 1 is the opening gesture, where the upper octave tone is trilled and there is a middle octave Concert F to Gb moving back and forth. This uses the following fingering: (Left Hand) B-A-G keys // (Right Hand) F key, Low C, High F. The High F# key is constantly trilled in the right hand and the Low Bb at a slightly slower tempo in the left.
Action 2 takes place in the upper register, which centers on a chromatic gesture moving from Concert Bb to G. I used traditional fingerings here and continued to trill the High F# key. Later in the improvisation I begin to break away from the stringency of pure chromaticism and eventually add other melodies that have larger intervals. Though it sounds much more busy than the lower register Action 1, there are only fleeting moments of harmony in this section. The bulk of it is composed of single note to note melodies moving at a fast tempo.
Action 3 is a static, middle register flutter, which I used more to create an essence of space in the piece rather than as a new section unto itself.
The image “Door to the River” by painter William De Kooning (1960).