09/29/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 272)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 272

Date: 09/29/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


This morning I spent some time working with two sound clusters, each with tones approximately a half step apart.  They contained (in the tenor key of Bb) the pitches C/C (quarter step sharp) and A/Bb.  After alternating between these two chords for some time, I decided to incorporate them into larger combinations of chords, single pitched microtones and tempered pitches.  These combinations created amazing sound colors with very evocative moods.  I eventually decided to turn these sounds into more melodic cycles that tried to balance melody, harmony and rhythm into interesting combinations.  I felt that this improvisation almost had a dance-like quality to it, with lightly churning rhythms that sometimes held steady or would morph into new patterns and cycles.  

I tried to pace this improvisation in such a way that these melodic, harmonic and rhythmic cycles had forward momentum at all times.  I wanted to weave the sounds together into a labyrinth that seemed to have no beginning or end, just motion.  This accounted for the abrupt ending at the piece’s conclusion.  The interruption of established motives also became a critical element of this piece.  Before recording I practiced interrupting steady pulses with new pulse material, and then approached this with melody and harmony.  Again, during this improvisation I tried to use this concept multi-dimensionally, using the broader themes of continuance and interruption to apply to melody, harmony and rhythm simultaneously.

The bulk of this piece was improvised with a few of the figures, namely the opening figure, having been practiced ahead of time.  I used this opening figure as a platform from which to build, adding new pitches, rhythms and ornamentation such as grace notes and trills.  The 3 pitch areas used to build this opening were as follows:

Pitch: Eb (quarter step flat)

(Left Hand) Palm Eb key only, Octave

Pitches: C/C (quarter step sharp) split-tone

(Left Hand) 2, Octave, Low B // (Right Hand) 1-2

Pitches: A/Bb

(Left Hand) 2, Octave, Low B // (Right Hand) 1-2


The image “Vindivil” accompanying today’s post by Julio Camino Sanchez (1967).