06/30/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 181)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 181

Date: 06/30/2013

Instrument: soprano saxophone

Location: A trail on the edge of Mountain Lake in Moran Sate Park.  Orcas Island, WA


This morning I woke up early and my wife and I walked to Mountain Lake to take in the morning calmness.  The lake is large and clean, so much so that I could toss a rock off the edge of a bluff and watch it sink fully to the bottom.  I walked about a quarter way around the lake on a trail that followed it’s edge.  I stopped to play beneath a large pine tree on the edge of a bluff that overlooked the lake.   Though this recording does not accurately capture it, the echo from my horn traveled an amazing distance, bouncing and pulsing with a warm sound around the lake.  I was at least ½ of a mile away from our campsite, and when we walked back in I was told by our comrades that they could hear me practicing, and thought I had walked just a little ways into the woods.  

During this improvisation I focused on tight sound clusters in various combinations.  A recurring theme became the major chord multiphonic which I would hold out and increase in tempo before abruptly cutting it off with my tongue.  With the clustered pitches, I worked to create simple, almost folk-like melodies with tiny chord flutters.  I would set these against the more severe but steady multiphonics.  Mid way in the piece I worked to bridge these two approaches by unifying the clusters into quick melodic actions that combined various chords.  


The image “Tatra Mountains” accompanying today’s post by Emil Orlik (1898)