07/03/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 184)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 184

Date: 07/03/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


I focused today on the technique of melody with harmonic accompaniment.  I often work on combining harmony with internal melodies, as opposed to the playing of a series of chords followed by a melody–one separate from the other.  In this improvisation I tried to combine both approaches, that is, using an independent single pitch melody followed by a secondary melody which takes places within a series of chords.  I began by playing bluesy figures, and decided to work with this spirit.  

To begin sculpting this improvisation, I used a series of multiphonic fingerings with very consonant chords.  These were 2-note mutliphonics, with the upper tone being far more present in volume than the lower.  The chord pairs were are follows (first note is the top note, and the second the bottom):




The upper (first notated) pitches create a descending minor shape: Db–C–Bb.  The lower (second notated) pitches create a descending chromatic shape: E–Eb–D.  With these chords as my starting point, they were ultimately used to create a chord progression with an internal “secondary” melody using the notes written above.  I then began playing a single note melody with the pitches G, Ab, G, and E.  These notes make up the primary melody, which opens the improvisation.   I thought of the improvisation as being in the key of Bb, with the secondary melody (that using chords) really establishing this mood, and the primary melody being more of a bluesy ornamentation.  In the mid point of the improvisation I began adding a third and more harmonically dissonant melody, which used the perfect forth interval on the pitches B and E.  

The multiphonic fingerings (for the secondary melody) were as follows:

Db/E (Left Hand) B-A, Octave Palm Eb // (Right Hand) F-E keys, Low C, Side F

C/Eb (Left Hand) B-A, Octave Palm Eb // (Right Hand) F-E keys, Low C

Bb/D (Left Hand) B-A, Octave Palm D // (Right Hand) F key, Low C


The image “Flowers in a Vase” accompanying today’s post by Frederick Papsdorf (1940)