10/11/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 284)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 284

Date: 10/11/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


This morning I was emailing back and forth with Erin Waterman, the mother of my saxophone student Carli.  Erin is a passionate advocate for CureSearch, which “Funds and Supports targeted and innovative children’s cancer research with measurable results” (curesearch.com).  Just before Carli’s 4th birthday, she was diagnosed with Lymphoblastic Lymphoma.  Now in the 7th grade, she is a healthy, passionate kid and a very gifted young saxophonist in my studio.  In the coming months, Carli’s mother Erin plans to walk 26 miles in one day in support of CureSearch.  Today’s improvisation was inspired by Erin Waterman and her daughter Carli.

In this improvisation I worked with tonality, balancing fingerings and singing into the horn.  I wanted to create a beautiful, hopeful atmposphere in this piece and I felt that the inclusion of my natural voice would be key in this goal.   I’ve spent quite a bit of time singing into the instrument to pull out both consonant and dissonant textures, but I’ve spent comparatively little time working working on more traditional compositional approaches, such as consonant harmonic movement, voice leading, contrary motion, and non-parallel movement.  In this piece I wanted to directly tackle these areas, but above all I wanted to create an honest, open flow of sound that expressed my deep appreciation for what Erin has dedicated herself towards.  She is an inspiration to us all and I am deeply grateful to know her and her wonderful daughter.

This improvisation was approached freely, but a simple transcription of the first few seconds of the piece was as follows (written below in the tenor key of Bb):

Sung :         F#—————F natural—–F#——A quarter step flat———————F#—-

Fingered:   1……….2……………..1………………………………2…………………1…..

Above: The line (—-) should be interpreted as a sung pitch which is held out.  The dot (.) should be interpreted as a trill to be executed along with the fingered pitch associated with Fingerings Number 1 or 2.

Fingering 1:

(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Low B  // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C.  Trill the D key in the Right Hand constantly.

Fingering 2:

(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Low Bb  // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C.  Trill the D key in the Right Hand constantly.

*Erin will be walking 26 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail for the Ultimate Hike,  benefiting CureSearch for Children’s Cancer.  You can donate directly to Erin’s walking campaign Here:



The image “Untitled” accompanying today’s post by Hayley Tompkins (2001).