09/08/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 251)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 251

Date: 09/08/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


On the drive home from Oregon, my wife and I listened to an amazing celtic flute solo on the radio.  The musician created the illusion of a virtuosic duet being played, but it was in reality a carefully executed composition for flute played live.  It was one of the best examples in my memory of using specific techniques–quick tempo, heavy ornamentation, octave displacement, and dynamic shaping to create a vivid illusion for the listener.  This area has been a major for focus for me as well the last few years, but also the true use of polyphonic sound to thread chords together.  In my improvisation today, I decided to improvise a flash composition that used the opposite approach–obvious melody and chordal accompaniment.  

The melody in this improvisation does however use polyphonic sound, and the fingerings allowed for a pliability of the pitches.   The chords played in the harmonic accompaniment were derived from the fingerings used in the melody, so in this way the melody and chords are interrelated by pitch content and the physical bond of the fingerings.   The melody centered around a Concert B (quarter step high), C# and D, each in the upper register.  These were played with the following fingerings:

Concert B (quarter step high)

(Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Octave // (Right Hand) E-D keys

Concert C# and D

Same as above, but slowly open the Fork F key in the left hand while adding pressure in the embouchure and bending the air flow up.  

The harmonic accompaniment, as stated above, was derived from this same fingering.  The first example of this can be heard at :27 in the recording. There were two chords used, written below in ascending order of pitch:

Pitches: G, E, C

(Left Hand) B-A-G keys, Octave // (Right Hand) E-D keys.  (Same fingering from the above melody).

Pitches: F#, E, B

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


The image “Corio” accompanying today’s post by Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack (1943).