07/06/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 187)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 187

Date: 07/06/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


The morning I worked on playing a challenging piece of solo music that I’ve written as part of a new large ensemble piece.  The music is inspired by the saxophonist Julius Hemphill, and in my brief study of his music, I’m amazed by his compositional structures.  He will pair an improvisation with the unlikeliest of melodies, or set multi-horn writing to melodies which sound solo specifically like an avant solo line.  The the idea of pairing strong elements together to create a unique whole became the theme for my practice session today, and also my recorded improvisation.

I decided to work with a fundamental element–the triad.  This improvisation is in the key of G major, with the first pitch staring on the 3rd, and the triad is played in a very common pattern called “thirds."  I cycled this same triad at the same tempo, with the same articulation multiple times.  I decided to vary only the potential volume use and the length of the final concert G altissimo pitch.  The abrupt shift to the noisier, block chord multiphonic represented pairing of "strong” compositional elements.  There are two multiphonics used here, which are each, as the triad, very commonly used.  The first is a G major chord which is slightly sharp, and slightly de-tuned, and the second is a de-tuned G major multiphonic with a center a bit closer to tempered pitch.  The fingerings used for each multiphonic were as follows:

G major chord #1

(Left Hand) B-G keys, Octave, Low C# // F-D keys, Low C

G major chord #2

(Left Hand) B-A-G keys // (Right Hand) F-E keys, Low C


The image “Untitled” accompanying today’s post by Rosalind Nashashibi (2003)