10/02/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 275)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 275

Date: 10/02/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


Yesterday my friend and musical colleague Jacob Zimmerman and I gave a demonstration on the music of Roscoe Mitchell at Cornish College of the Arts.  Among many topics discussed was the strong prescense of Roscoe’s own saxophone technique in his composition.  Today I decided to work with this theme, and composed a short series of pitches intended to be improvised on and selected directly from the page.  Each of these pitches were played in the left hand only.  In the right hand I maintained a continuous “walking” trill with my index and middle fingers on the F clutch key.  

Because I was limited to working with fingerings in the left hand only, I used alternate fingerings in addition to traditional fingerings to allow for more chromatic pitches.  The trilling in the right hand added a fast wobbling that simulated a vibrato.  Because of the F clutch key being trilled in the right hand there were specific pitches that would become trilled if I were to play them.  I avoided these until about :45 into the improvisation, and then began intermittently incorporating them into the single pitch melodies.  The trilled pitches were as follows:

G>F#, G#>F#, B>A#, G>F# (middle octave), G#>F# (middle octave), B>A# (middle octave), G>F# (altissimo octave).

Overall I used wider, more dissonant intervals but there is some smaller, step-wise motion in the improvisation as well as some altissimo register notes, but these were used more infrequently.  I used aggressive articulation and a quiet to medium-loud level of volume throughout.  The pitch series improvised off of was as follows:

A, Eb, C, C#, F, D*, Eb, C, E*, Bb, D, C#, Eb, A, D*, C, A, Bb, C#

The * denotes alternate fingering. 

D* Palm D key only

Eb* Palm D and Eb keys only

E* Palm F key only


The image “The subway” accompanying today’s post by Jose Clemente Orozco (1928).