12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 227
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)
This entire day I’ve felt a storm in my mind. My thought processes have felt scattered, with periods of obsessive cycles on the same topical theme over and over. I woke up thinking about the current conflict in Egypt, listening about it all morning and reflecting on it all day, and frankly all of the past two full days, but the news of it I feel has little directly to do with my internal knots. It must be playing a role, but I’ve felt my own problems trump those of others today, which, given the terrifying reality of life in that country at this moment this seems indulgent and selfish. But none the less, this is my state of being today. The sounds captured in this improvisation were developed first thing in the morning, but because of their striking similarity in sound and overall approach to yesterday’s improvisation (Day 227), I decided to wait to record until the end of the day to see if I would evolve a bit. I did not, and the piece did not. This improvisation, I can truly say was a full, unswerving reflection of myself on this day.
The improvisation hinges on a 6-pitch gesture, with each note played with the same fingering: (Left Hand) B-G keys, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) F-E-D keys, Side F
Written in the tenor key and in ascending order, this fingering creates the tones: Eb (quarter step sharp, E (quarter step sharp), C#, E, F#, B. The Eb and E create a wonderful tight-knit cluster which is capable of sustaining beneath each of the pitches above them. Though I did stray a bit from these 6 pitches, I generally tried to maintain the bottom Eb and E while exploring the upper tones. As the piece evolved, I began adding slight pulses of sound by flicking open and closed the Palm Eb and Low Eb keys. I also focused on using an extreme amount of air and higher whistle tones from air interacting with my reed. I felt this contributed towards the quiet torrent of sound used in this improvisation.
The image “Self Portrait" accompanying today’s post by Jackson Pollock (1931-1935).