07/23/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 204)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 204

Date: 07/23/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


An improvisation with a steady pulse of energy was my aim today; something that began with action and maintained it throughout.  During this piece I explored chord clusters with a variety of tone colors and tried to immediately begin the improvisation with hightenened energy.   The larger sound picture gave me the impression of multiple musicians interacting at the same time, and I used three fingering actions as points of departure to do this.  Fingering action 1 uses a simple major chord shape.  Fingering action 2 is a split pitch gesture that bends up from a Concert D  (quarter step flat) to a Concert F (quarter step flat).  Fingering 3 is the single pitch F (quarter step flat) which is noticeably more accented than the other tones.  These fingering actions are stitched together with a recurring intermediary fingering cycle described below.

While playing this piece I found myself focusing on textural themes in Gamelan music.  I imagined a symphony of mallet percussion with interlocking melodic figures that combine in equal intimacy with rhythmic cycles.  In that music I hear a great deal of individualism, but only insofar as the larger group will allow for this without compromising the vision of the entire ensemble.  I worked to balance these overarching themes as I played.

The fingerings and pitches were as follows (all notated in the tenor key and in ascending order of pitch)

Fingering action 1: Ab muted difference tone, E quarter step flat, C

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

Fingering action 2: E quarter step flat, G quarter step flat.  Use embouchure to bend from E to G.

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

Fingering action 3: G quarter step flat.

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

The intermediary finger cycle that combines Fingering action 1 and 2 is done by opening the F key (right hand), followed by the B key (left hand) and finally the B key is then put back down (but the F remains open), each in turn with the overall cycle happening very rapidly.


The image “Pan (C-337)” accompanying today’s post by Marco Breuer (2003)