09/03/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 246)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 246

Date: 09/03/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: My cabin at the base of Mt. Index.  Mount Index, WA


I spent the day at my cabin; reading, practicing, and sitting inside tending to the fire were the main events of my day.  I had my dog to keep me company, and the weather was mild and the cabin warm and dry. This is a small 110 square foot, one-room cabin located at the base of Mount Index in the Central Cascades.  This was the first time I’ve been to the cabin this summer, and the space itself was so particularly calm today I felt compelled to bring to life the sound of the room as I experienced it.  The full day I didn’t run across another person.  The dominant sounds of this day were the rustling maple leaves outside the cabin and the crackling fire burning in the stove.

This recording marks my second time documenting in this space during the 12 Moons solo project.  When I practice at the cabin it’s generally in front of the fire.  There is a strong, primordial draw to watching a fire.  When I practice or perform I often shake myself out of a several minutes long deep stair into soul of a particular object.  We all do this from time to time, whether in a deep state of focus or simply meditating on a thought, but I believe we all feel a deep connection to the fireplace.  The glare has a heavy pull to it in such a small room, and my improvising today strived for a balance between my horn and the fire I was tending.  

This improvisation was developed over the course of about an hour, with careful thought as to which sounds should be introduced and how much space to leave.  The improvisation is based off of two themes, each with two sounds apiece.  Overall I felt this improvisation had a strong compositional core, with themes, space, a coda, and a feel of a slow, malleable ¾ time signature.

Theme a.

Sound 1. Sustained D Pitch 

-(Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Octave, Low B

Sound 2.  Sustained B (quarter step sharp) and C in the upper register

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

Theme b.

Sound 1.  (This chord was also used in my improvisation from 09/01/2013 as well as my composition Willing Joy).  I used my embouchure to pull pitches in and out to maintain the ¾ feel, but the full chord used the following pitches: E, C D.

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

Sound 2.  A (quarter step sharp) B (quarter step sharp).

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


The image accompanying today’s post is the Skykomish River with Mount Index in the background.