05/21/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 141)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 141

Date: 05/21/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Small Theatre at Chief Sealth International High School.  Seattle, WA


The physical landscape outside looked like a perfect grey scale today, and the radio was filled with harrowing stories from survivors of the devastating Tornado in Oklahoma.  This improvisation is dedicated to those folks now recovering.  This sound exploration surveyed a mood of melancholy that I carried with me through most of the day.  I seemed to feel every physical motion and mental experience very personally today and with an unusual amount of sensitivity of thought.  In my improvisation I tried to capture this depth of mood as best I could, exploring brooding melodic figures mixed with the constancy of a continuous, slow trill in the lower end of the instrument.  

This is an unusual melodic and harmonic action, in that the continuous whole-step melodic figure in the low end was achieved but pressing and releasing the octave key.  This created a muted figure that was only audible at a low volume.  At the same time, the fingering produced quiet bends in the upper register from a Concert Eb to an E.  This forced me to split my mind completely, focusing simultaneously on maintaining an even tempo in the slow trill, and bending, warping and sliding melodic figures in the upper register.  It truly was a marriage of two completely different trains of the thought.

The fingering was as follows:

(Left Hand) Fork F, A keys, Low Bb // (Right Hand) F-E keys, Low C.  To create the trill, open and close the register key with the thumb.  The melodic shapes above are achieved with the embouchure.  Other rhythmic and melodic cycles were made by opening and closing the side Bb, C and High F keys while also trilling the B key in the left hand.


The image “White Painting” by Albert Kotin (1950’s).