08/31/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 243)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 243

Date: 08/31/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


Unlike yesterday, today I devoted a lengthy period of time directly to both my practice and my recording.  This improvisation is based off a series of 4 chord clusters with a recurring melodic figure used as a pivot point between the chords.  I wanted 4 strong chordal components to draw from at will during the improvisation, each of which occupies a different kind of sonic space.  Chord 1, for instance is a very stable two-note cluster, versus Chord 4 which is made up of three pitches with  brighter and breathier tone qualities.  Some chords saw more use than others.  The chord fingerings and pitches were as follows (as notated in the tenor key of Bb).  They are also written in their order of use during the piece:

Chord 1:  C#/B

(Left Hand) A-G keys, Low C# // (Right Hand) F-E-D keys, Low C

Chord 2: Bb/Ab

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

Chord 3: E, C, D, G

(Left Hand) B-A keys, Octave, Palm D, Low Bb // (Right Hand) F key

Chord 4: Bb, A (quarter step flat), F

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

Chord 4 does not appear until the mid to later half of the improvisation, where there is an exploration of the four chords only with no melody.  This is also the only point in the piece where there is absolute silence used as a compositional device.

The recurring melodic figure that linked the chordal activity primarily moved to Chord 1, with the eventual motion to Chord 2 being perceived by me as the tonic.  This melodic figure was used specifically because of it’s tuning in relation to the chord clusters, but also because is just had a very calm, pleasing aesthetic quality to me.  The fingerings and pitches, again notated in the tenor key were as follows:

A (quarter step sharp)

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

D (quarter step flat)

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


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

The image “Proof for plate (folio 17) from FOLDER, Volume I, number I” accompanying today’s post by Grave Hartigan (1953).