05/18/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 138)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 138

Date: 05/18/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Small bathroom inside my house.  Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)


I struggled in my practice session today.  I struggled for hours without focus, without direction, and for the bulk of it without desire.  This was incredibly frustrating, though an experience that is just simply inevitable on some days.  I generally split my practice session between concrete musical etudes, exercises, etc. and free improvisations,  but today both ends of this spectrum felt hollow to me.  I eventually decided to split the difference between the two practice worlds, and I created scales and etudes that utilized concrete motions with irregular sound shapes.  After spending some time with this concept, an hour of solid practice soon slipped by and this piece took shape.

This improvisation uses a seven note “scale,” which if looked at in physical action in the fingers would appear to have a single downward shape, but because of the fingering system it’s a multi-directional scale with tempered pitches, muted tones and multiphonics.  The fingerings were are follows:

1. Palm Eb key, Octave

2. Palm Eb key, Octave, Bis Bb, 

3. Palm Eb key, Octave, Bis Bb, A key

4. Palm Eb key, Octave, Bis Bb, A key, G key

5. Palm Eb key, Octave, Bis Bb, A key, G key, F key

6. Palm Eb key, Octave, Bis Bb, A key, G key, F key, E key

7. Palm Eb key, Octave, Bis Bb, A key, G key, F key, E key, Eb key

Using the theme of “7” I would often, but not always play the scale a total of seven times before pausing.  This was also true of the longest developmental section of the piece, which had puckish notes played with equal spacing.  During this section I followed the pattern 1 // 12 // 123 // 1234 // 12345 // 123456 // 1234567, doing the cycle a total of 7 times.  


The painting “Barge Peniche” accompanying today’s post by Joan Mitchell (1975)