10/18/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 291)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 291

Date: 10/18/2013

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).