07/29/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 210)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 210

Date: 07/29/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


This past year or so I’ve become more interested in directly incorporating key clacking within a melodic-based composition.  To explore this idea, today I maintained a continuous roll which acts as a kind of percussive drone beneath the pitches that were played.  To make the listener subconciously aware of its use, I made a simple melodic figure with the high C# that overwhelms the percussive sound, but still allows it to be quietly audible.  The clacking roll has very little room for dynamic shaping, versus the C# which can range from whisper soft to blatantly loud.  The C# figure opens the improvisation, and it’s application was for use as both a melodic figure, but also a simple point of focus to almost draw more attention to the continuous roll beneath it once the C# finally disapears.  

After the first minute or so I abruptly abandoned the C# melodic figure in favor of the clacking only.  Though the C# figure does fade back in verbatim, this initial dropping out signals a change in the piece, and from this point forward the new melodic material is more diverse in range, volume and sound textures explored.

The fingering system used during this improvisation was as follows:

(Left Hand) Bis Bb key only, Octave // (Right Hand) Rapidly trill the upper right hand clutch key.

The upper octave tones, as well as the pitch bends were then created by slowly opening and closing the Fork F key (about ¾ the way open in total) in the Left Hand.  The slight trill interruptions which begin near the end of the piece were done by quickly flicking open and closed the F Palm key in the Left Hand as well.


The image “Cicada” accompanying today’s post by Dr. Harold E. Edgerton (1939 or before).