10/03/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 276)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 276

Date: 10/03/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: Practice Room B at South Whidbey High School.  Langley, WA (Whidbey Island)


In today’s improvisation I wanted to explore the idea of stationary sound with accompanying motion.  To do this I structured the improvisation around two specific chord clusters and found fingerings that would allow the main chords themselves to ring out despite a variety of action around them.  There are some melodic and rhythmic cells where the chord is only used sparingly, but during these points the pitches used would move quickly back into the chord, or were used to contribute to the larger theme. There are components of the chord voicing that come in and out, or even morph into more dynamic roles within the “motion."  But there are some common factors that remained as stationary as possible, such as the muted Concert E in the lowest part of the voicing that almost functions as a drone throughout the entire improvisation.

Other techniques akin to the idea of stationary versus motion sound included holding the chord and suddenly bursting into fast melodic and rhythmic cells.  An example of this could be heard at 1:30.  The two chords contrasted in their sound profiles but shared the common lower octave, muted Concert E.  The first chord is dense, with a tight half step cluster in the upper octave.  This is the chord that opens the improvisation.  The second used only the Concert E, with each pitch split in octaves between the mid and upper register.  An example of this second chord can be heard at 2:38.  Each chord was referenced and developed several times and often dovetailed from one to the other.  The fingerings were as follows:

Chord Shape 1 (dense)

(Left Hand) 1-2, Octave, Palm D // (Right Hand) 1, Side Bb, Side F

Chord Shape 2 (octaves)

(Left Hand) 1-2, Octave, Palm Eb only // (Right Hand) 1, Side Bb, Side F


The image "Snow Pattern” accompanying today’s post by Kenji Tadamoto (c. 1959).