07/16/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 197)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 197

Date: 07/16/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


I practiced for a very long time this morning before arriving at this improvisation.  I woke up and started my day feeling a hollowness in me.  I’ve slept badly the past two nights, which I’m sure is related to it, but more importantly I felt this morning like I was in a constant search for something I couldn’t fulfill.  I carried this feeling into my practice session.  It seemed that no matter what I worked on, or how I hard I worked at it I could not be satisfied with the results and did not feel invested in what I was working on.  After following dead end after dead end in my improvisations, I eventually abandoned what I had been practicing and tried to open myself up.  What came out in this improvisation I feel very much represented a culmination of my life energy this morning.  It was almost a cry to purge this mood from me, or at least to embrace it with creative energy instead of allowing a destructive mental state to continue on.

After creating a fingering cycle and listening to the spirit of it, I set out to record this improvisation with no plan except to sing into the horn.  I gravitated towards two pitches, the Concert Bb and C (each a quarter step flat), and used them to sing into the horn with my voice.  As the piece progressed, the return back to the Concert Bb became almost a sonic respite for me that I just yearned to return to.  I built three developmental sections during this piece, each time climbing higher in pitch and letting the sound begin to fracture instead of center inward as in the lower tones.  After each build, on the return back to the Concert Bb and C the sound is noticeably more tense.  This improvisation uses a cyclical fingering system based around two fingerings.  

Fingering 1:

(Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Low B // (Right Hand) F-E-D keys.  Open and close the B, and side C in a cycle of 4 actions.

Fingering 2:

 (same as above, but open the low C# in the left hand instead of depressing the Low B).  This fingering was used during the three building sections where the sound begins to climb and distort.


The image “Untitled” accompanying today’s post by Jose Antonio Suarez Londono (2005-2007).