11/17/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 321)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 321

Date: 11/17/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: My brother’s apartment in the Haight district.  San Francisco, CA


This morning Bad Luck had a two hour clinic in Berkeley, discussing our music, compositional process, and specifically the mixed use of electronics and acoustic playing in our band.  All of my playing is amplified in Bad Luck, and while practicing a bit during a free hour this afternoon I was happy to find myself back in a fully acoustic setting.  I practiced in a small room in my brother’s apartment, with my bell against a wall in front of me.  I improvised a piece that used constant tonging, exploring slight changes in my articulation and the harmonic profile of the improvisation.

During this piece I avoided allowing any of the resonating tones to emerge above a very low level of volume.  For this reason the recording was amplified quite a bit in order to clearly hear the intricacies of the improvisation.  This accounts for the disproportionately louder breathing.  The improvisation uses three fingerings and a light articulation with my tongue against the reed.  The three fingerings were chromatic, and I began with the second of the three.  As I moved from Fingering 2 towards Fingering 1, the harmony descends.  I then ascended back to Fingering 2,  and moved the harmony upwards into Fingering 3, and finally back to Fingering 2.  I followed this basic shape throughout the improvisation, moving at a flexible tempo.  As the piece progressed I began incorporating heavier and heavier articulation, which began gradually slowing the tempo down and adding harder tongue articulation.

The fingerings used during this improvisation were as follows:

Fingering 2 (the fingering which opens the piece) Mid range.

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

Fingering 3 (Low range)

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

Fingering 1 (High range)

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


The image “The Shadow of Tragedy” accompanying today’s post by International News Photo (May 16, 1932.