11/22/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 326)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 326

Date: 11/22/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


This improvisation came to me immediately as I began practicing this morning.  In it I used a simple folk melody played through a series of split tone and multiphonic fingerings.  Buried internally within the chords, the melody used the pitches Gb, Ab, Bb, D during the ascent, and the Bb, Ab, Gb on the descent.  As the melody ascended, I used fingerings which added a new key as each pitch climbed higher, and then subsequently began releasing one key per pitch during the descent.  The improvisation overall was felt in a 6/8 meter, with occasional diversions way from triple into duple phrasing.  I played the bulk of the material at medium tempo but gave myself the liberty to transition into slower or faster tempos at all times. 

During the piece I used a familiar technique of phasing in and out of octaves, exploring the beautiful colors hidden within the chord structures.  When diverting away from the cyclical 6/8 feel, I would often create punctuations in either the upper register or lower register, while then interjecting the 6/8 melody once again.  At other points I faded out the melodic cycle, while cross-fading in the Concert D (the highest tone in the melody) which them came to dominate the sound spectrum as a sustained pitch.  Even during these brief moments of sustain, I wanted the improvisation to possess a feeling of forward motion at all times.

The fingerings and primary melodic cycle were as follows (in order of execution)


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

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

3.  (Left Hand) 1-2, Octave, Palm Eb key only, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C

4.  (Left Hand) 1-2, Octave, Palm Eb key only, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C, High F


5.  Same as fingering 3.

6.  Same as fingering 2.


The image accompanying today’s post by Elias Friedensohn.