06/27/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 178)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 178

Date: 06/27/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: A forest between Maxwelton Road and Highway 522.  Langley, WA (Whidbey Island)


I welcomed the transition from afternoon to evening with this improvisation.  After teaching and rehearsing for the bulk of the day, on the way home I stopped at a pullout in the forest.  It looked to be an old logging road that cut up into a now very overgrown forest–nature is taking it back.  The forest was somewhat thinned out, but plenty of mature douglas fir and cedar remained all around me.  I recorded this improvisation with the mic gain turned extremely high, and played at a whisper soft volume.  Though the setting was very tranquil, the busy highway could be heard only a few hundred yards away.  It was a reminder that the river of car noise could become part of the beauty of my experience.

During this improvisation I worked with a delicate texture.  The full melody used two fingerings, each with the same sustained drone beneath.  The improvisation opens at the highest point of volume and introduces the major 7th interval, which I resolved up to nearly meet the bottom pitch an octave higher.  But like my surroundings, the figure was imperfect.  I could not fully reach the true second octave.  Even in this very consonant resolution, there is the smallest amount of ever present dissonance.  I tried to create a texture as subtle as the fading afternoon around me, and I truly felt a part of that natural transition.  Also of note, near the end of the improvisation there is a high pitched buzzing.  This was a mosquito!

The fingerings used were as follows:

(Left Hand) Fork F, A key, Octave // (Right Hand) F key, Side F#

Eb quarter step high drone with D in upper register.

(Left Hand) Fork F, A key, Octave // (Right Hand) F-E keys, Side F#

Eb quarter step high drone with Eb semi tone flat in upper register.


The image “Observation: The Sun-1” accompanying today’s post by Hiroshi Yamazaki