08/26/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 238)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 238

Date: 08/26/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


In my improvisation today, I explored clear melodic and harmonic ideas that were stated plainly–directly.  They then morphed to become part of a broader, thicker texture and took on an indirect role.  This could be akin to the experience of being a single individual amidst a crowd of people.  To outline this concept, I used two fingerings to create 2 direct sound environments, and then adjusted my embouchure and air flow to include these same sounds indirectly into the larger web of action.  

I began the improvisation with a single pitch which becomes a kind of touchstone throughout the piece.   The other chords contain it in the bottom of their voicing as well.  This first tone, and subsequently the note above it, used the first fingering to achieve the first chord.  This included the notes D and F (quarter step sharp), with the following fingering:

(Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Fork F, Octave, Low B // (Right Hand) F-E keys, Side F# key.

The second chord, comprised of the pitches D and F natural, used same fingering above but added the Low C key.  I alternated between these two chords to create the first direct statement of sound. From here I added the second melodic idea, again stated as directly as possible.  This idea was a simple folk-like melody built off the first fingering alone, played by adjusting my embouchure and air flow.  This melody used the pitches Eb, F, G, F, Eb and can be heard for the first time at 1:10

I then alternated between the two fingerings, slowly adding and taking away the Low C key to bring out a full color spectrum inherent in these fingerings.  The transition into and beginning of this section can be heard at 1:53.  As stated above, I then tried to fold in the two ideas above in a more indirect manner, changing the focus towards a more sound-texture environment, and only rarely played them in their original or “direct” state.


The image “Lady in Woods” accompanying today’s post by Paul L. Anderson (1915).