10/06/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 279)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 279

Date: 10/06/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


I’ve spent time with more aggressive sound executions the past several weeks, and while practicing a bit this morning I focused on tiny, subtle sound worlds.  I became interested in a combination of small sound constructions where I combined elements of varying levels of stability.  For example, the two pitches that begin the improvisation were extremely solid despite being played very quietly, but by adjusting my embouchure at :49-1:04 a brittle major chord emerges that at all times hinges on collapse.  It was extremely difficult to make it speak, let alone sustain it.  The bit of warbling in this chord was not intentional but was instead a bi-product of trying to hold it out as long as possible.

During this piece, movement between the F–quarter step flat, and Eb–quarter step flat became the central melodic figures.  I worked to balance this direct note-to-note melodic motion with chords that emerge from each of these pitches.  This included, for example the middle octave F opening up to become the fundamental of a Bb minor chord/multiphonic in 2nd inversion.  This can be heard at :38-:43.   The upper octave Eb then moves down slightly from time to time to take on a major chord shape.  The fingerings used during this improvisation were as follows:

F–quarter step flat (middle register)

(Left Hand) 1-2-3 // (Right Hand) 1-3

Eb–quarter step flat (upper register)

(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Palm Eb key only // (Right Hand) 1-3

Bb minor chord

(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Low B // (Right Hand) 1-3

Major chord (slightly loosen embouchure pressure)

(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Palm Eb key only, Low B // (Right Hand) 1-3


The image “Haley’s comet as It Looked in 1910” accompanying today’s post by United Press International (1910).