12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 291
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)
This morning I spent some time reflecting on how much my past study of classical Hindustani music has shaped my musical sensibilities. But in general I realize how my musical study–those touchstone periods of great importance from my past, return time and time again to influence my current music. In today’s improvisation, I decided to reference musical concepts from my own past. This was namely done in three areas:
1. The use of a fixed scale, the idea being taken both from my study of Indian music, but also my early grade school study of the blues scale.
2. Drawing on split tone fingerings I have developed in the past, and applied harmonically over this fixed scale.
3. The use of “interruption,” a common theme in my music throughout the last several years.
This improvisation uses a hexatonic scale (with the root repeated in the next register for a total of 7 pitches). In descending order and in the key of Bb, the pitches were as follows:
E, Eb, B, Bb, Ab, F, E.
After the initial statement of the scale with a very plain-spoken descent in the notes, I interrupted this sound world by descending the scale harmonically. The pitches were grouped as E/Eb, B/Bb, Bb/Ab, F, E. The F and the E each had overtones of the octave above them, with the E also including a very present B in the upper register. The fingerings for these note groupings were as follows:
E/Eb: (Left Hand) Fork F, 2-3, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Side Bb
B/Bb: (Left Hand) 1-3, Low B // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C, Side Bb
Bb/Ab: (Right Hand) 1-2, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C, Side Bb
F: (Left Hand) 1-2-3, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-3
E: (Left Hand) 1-2-3, Low B // (Right Hand) 1-2, Low Eb
After the statement of these chords in the descending scale, I abruptly transitioned into a static harmonic, and percussive motion with the two chord clusters B/Ab, and Bb/Ab. I recall using this sixteenth note phrasing with these two specific chords in the past during my 12 Moons project. I decided to use them none the less as a nod to the theme of “fingerings developed in the past." I also decided mid improvisation to begin singing the upper notes of each chord into the horn a two different points. These chords were fingered as follows:
B/Ab: (Left Hand) 1-3, Low B // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C
Bb/Ab: (Right Hand) 1-2, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C, Side Bb (same as above).
The image "The White House” accompanying today’s post by Jose Clemente Orozco (1925).