10/12/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 285)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 285

Date: 10/12/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


This afternoon I decided to quickly compose a series of 10 motives without any prescribed melodic, rhythmic or harmonic relationship to one another.  I intentionally used wide leaps in range to further distort any regularity of shape.  As is almost always the case in my writing, the motives bore a strong resemblance to one another after all.  After composing this series of motives, I took each motive and re-wrote the pitches from back to front (retrograde) and maintained the same rhythm.  With the motives now totaling 20, I re-wrote them on a fresh page in indeterminate order in what seemed to me to be an even spread in their orientation.  I then improvised the piece freely, combining motives together into strains of action in various lengths.

While recording this afternoon I found it to be extremely challenging to randomize my playing of these figures.  As is always the case when I perform such a piece, my natural inclination is to scan from left to right, or move directly above or below.  In the split second it takes to avoid this motion, my next most common move will be to go to the extreme opposite side of the page.  For example, if I read a motive in the upper right hand corner, once I’ve avoided looking directly below I very naturally want to simply jump to the bottom of the page.  Combatting both these tendencies is very tricky, particularly at the tempo I recorded at.  After several attempts, I chose my strongest take.  I waited until the end of the day to re-listen to the track and begin my written description, when I mistakenly deleted it.  In the immediate frustration of that moment I put my horn together, turned on the mic and did it again.  The energy in this take was much more focused, possibly because of my pent of energy and natural frustration at having deleted the take only moments before.  However I found my eyes darting around the page indeterminately in a much more randomized fashion, and  my mind was more strongly attached to sculpting the piece than it had been in the lost take.


The image “Former War Factory” accompanying today’s post by Osaka Shomei.