07/01/2013 (12 Moons Project Day 182)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 182

Date: 07/01/2013

Instrument: Soprano saxophone

Location: Beside Nason Creek near Lake Wenatchee, WA


My wife and I struck out first thing this morning east of the mountains in our 78 VW bus.  We traveled along Highway 2 towards one of our favorite camping spots, a rustic national forest camp on the western side of Lake Wenatchee, about 15 miles over Stevens Pass.  It is a sweltering day, with temperatures around 100 degrees with clear blue skies overhead.   To practice and record, I drove out along the main road a few miles and found a pullout next to Nason Creek, which feeds the lake further to the north.  I made the mistake of waiting until the afternoon and was plagued by mosquitoes, flies and the blistering afternoon sun as I struggled for an hour to play.  Directly in front of me was Nason Creek, and behind me was the main road leading away from the lake.

This improvisation was a response to my discomfort.  I was not only frustrated by the constant bombardment of mosquito bites, but also the flow of traffic behind me–trucks with jet skies and boats in tow barreling down the road, and cars stopping to curiously look at me until driving away without a word spoken.  I decided to respond by improvising a quietly aggressive piece, like the persistent force of the sun beating down on me.  I used detached, high pitched dots and smears, and stayed mostly in the altissimo range of the instrument.  I used single tonging and balanced more isolated pitches with clusters of much higher tones of a greater density of notes.  To create a recurring point of departure I mostly alternated between two fingerings, and occasionally diverged from there to add further pitches.  These two fingerings were as follows:

Fingering 1:

(Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) Low C, High F#  

Fingering 2:

(Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) Low C, High F#, High Side G


The image “untitled” accompanying today’s post by Nathan Lyons (1958)