06/22/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 173)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 173

Date: 06/22/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


I spent several hours this morning and afternoon working on a new piece for large ensemble, which I’ll debut at the Racer Sessions in July.  In my writing I worked on atonal chorale figures that have bluesy melodies played on top of them, or at times buried inside the melody of the chorale itself.  With this in mind today I improvised a blues inflected piece that had a recurring harmonic theme, which a complimentary melody within it.  However, the melody is full of nonsequitur rhythms and phrasing that has no single approach, but rather an overall feeling of forward momentum.  The chords themselves have a slightly de-tuned quality, and even though they do have a strong sound of dominant–tonic, they also have instability in their nature.  

I tried to give this piece an unfinished quality, and I began it as though I were caught in mid phrase.  This consonant tonality explored in this improvisation is played by centering on two multiphonics with the following fingerings and pitches:

Pitches:High D, Middle Octave E, Low Octave G

(Left Hand) B-A-G, Octave // (Right Hand) E-D

Pitches: High D, Middle Octave F, Low Octave G quarter step high.

(Left Hand) B-A-G, Octave // (Right Hand) E-D, Side F#

The melodic figures in the piece often overlap with the multiphonic fingerings, so there is a feeling at times that the harmony sits inside the melody.  This is because the mutliphonic chords speak two or more pitches, but also have strong single pitch sounds at their core.  To help differentiate the chords from the melody I struck closely to the rhythm (1&–2) when playing the harmony.


The image “Drawing-Asymmetry #7” accompanying today’s post by post by Jackson Mac Low (1961)