07/20/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 201)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 201

Date: 07/20/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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

–Due to a mix-up in my daily count, today’s post is now Day 202.  This is correct since it’s now the 202nd day of the year.  Yesterday’s count was 200, which as it turns out was incorrect.  Each improvisation in this daily series is still accounted for, but there was a duplication in my daily count at some point in the past 202 days which has now been caught!–


In my improvisation today, I explored quiet, sustained altissimo pitches with occasional underlying melodies.  The piece opens with three pitches that become the main source material: Concert C, C# and D.   I recorded this improvisation very quietly, and tried to make use of the tiny dots of sound that wanted to pop out in these upper octave sustained notes.  It was extremely difficult to hold onto these notes at such a quiet level of volume, and I practiced simply sustaining them for a very long time during my practice session before attempting to record an improvisation.  

A recurring theme in my music these days is the interplay between two opposing elements on the instrument.  In this case it was the interplay in volume between the high pitches and the melodic action underneath.  There are times where I tried to cross-fade from one to the other, allowing each to speak the most present in turn.  At other times the switch was more abrupt or one was temporarily phased out completely.

The fingerings for the sustained notes were as follows:

Concert C

(Left Hand) Pearl key, Octave // (Right Hand) Side Bb

Concert C#

(Left Hand) Pearl key, Octave // (Right Hand) Side Bb, High F# key

Concert D

(Left Hand) Pearl key, A key, Octave // (Right Hand) Side Bb

The melodic action beneath these sustained tones was done through slowly closing and re-opening the Fork F fingering or G key (each in the left hand).


The image accompanying today’s post by Marcel Dzama