08/29/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 241)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 241

Date: 08/29/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: The rec room of my childhood home in Edmonds, WA


While practicing this afternoon I decided to tailor an improvisation around a particular 3-note chord cluster.  As in my improvisation from two days ago (12 Moons improvisation day 240), this cluster is a very mystical assemblage of three very close tones.  Instead of having more a nondescript tonal center, to me this is more a grouping with a very definite, consonant quality to it.  The grouping has a total distance of 2 whole steps plus a quarter step.  It’s comprised of the following pitches (in the tenor key of Bb): C, E (quarter step flat), F (quarter step flat), and used the following fingering:

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

The improvisation as a whole is centered around 4 sound areas.  Sound area one, which opens the improvisation is an F# in two octaves.  As the improvisation evolved, I began adjusting my embouchure to make the bottom pitch somewhat sharp and oscillated between unison and the more dissonant interval created by the slight difference in intonation.  This sound used the following fingering: (Left Hand) B key, Octave // (Right Hand) E-D keys, Low C, High F#, Side F.

The second sound area moved into a consonant, de-tuned minor chord with a C# in the upper register, and a muted F (quarter step flat) in the middle register: (Left Hand) B key, Octave // (Right Hand) E-D keys, Low C, Side F.

This chord then firmly becomes a major chord, again with the C# in the upper register, and the muted F moving up a quarter step to sit squarely on pitch, creating a major chord in first inversion.  (Left Hand) B key, Octave // (Right Hand) D key, Low C, Side F.

The fourth and final sound area was the chord cluster described above, which I explored in a quiet, improvised fashion, moving between pitches in the chord and exploring sound color.  I then began opening and closing the B and A keys in the left hand to create a very punctuated, repetitive sound cycle which closes the improvisation.  Overall during this piece, I wanted to impart a feeling of quiet, patient action.  Despite the many held chords, I constantly focused on the pre-planned higher energy trilling that enters towards the end of improvisation.


The image “An Orchid” accompanying today’s post by Georgia O'Keeffe (1941).