11/21/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 325)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 325


Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


This morning I was thinking about an interesting topic I heard on the radio a while back.  The speaker was discussing the idea of debate as a critical process in conversation, but that it can also carry an intrinsic flaw.  For his example, he showed how two people can argue opposite perspectives on the same topic, but the topic in fact does have a definite answer.  Ultimately one of the two are indeed correct, but the very nature of two people debating one another can lead a listener to believe that the two sides of the argument are roughly equal, when in reality this may be far from the case.  One argument might be wildly off base, but through cleaver techniques it can be presented in a way that seems equally matched to the truth.  Politicians use this tactic quite often to refute an argument they know to be a truth by counterbalancing facts with slight of hand and obfuscation, warping a listener’s mind into believing that their perspective is of equal value.  

In my improvisation, I explored the concept of opposing perspectives and the gradual decay of clarity into a place where both perspectives seem of equal balance.  During this piece I began with undulating tones in the lower register, which I defined as Argument A.   I then interjected upper register flourishes with rapid single pitches and multiphonics.  This represented Argument B–the opposing argument.  As the piece developed, I began gradually moving the lower register pitches (Argument A.) higher and higher, as well as increasing the volume.  I kept the upper register flourishes (Argument B.) at roughly the same volume, but began decreasing the amount of time passing between execution of the figures.  At about the mid point in the improvisation, Argument A. finally settles into a recurring melody in the middle register, played at the same volume as Argument B.  From this point forward the two begin to overlap, until finally they begin to overlap into one broad, undefined perspective where the two arguments loose any sense of definition.  


The image “Between the Clock and the Bed” accompanying today’s post by Jasper Johns (1982-83).