11/23/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 327)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 327

Date: 11/23/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


A small cocoon is fastened to the outside of my practice room window.   About three months ago a small bug made its way up the window and began constructing the cocoon.  Only a few feet away a massive spider had woven it’s own resting spot.  Over the course of a day or two the cocoon was fully formed.  I had wondered if the spider would make it’s way over to target the easy pray, but it never appeared to do so.  After about 3 weeks, I noticed two wings beginning to push out from the white cocoon, but this is where the process stopped.  Whatever was inside did not make it, and was now frozen in position.  I’ve left it alone on the window to see what the process of diminution would look like.  Its now been about 3 months since the cocoon was formed, Winter has set in, and the little grave looks remarkably unchanged.  I developed today’s improvisation after having looked at it on the window for a minute or so this morning and having forgotten about the cocoon for at least a week. 

During this improvisation I pivoted around two fingerings to create, at the outset, a dark and static mood.  The two fingerings were as follows:

Fingering 1.  Pitches G (lower register) and Bb (upper register)

(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Low B // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low Eb.  Trill open and closed the G key in the left hand.

Fingering 2.  Pitches G (lower register) and A (upper register)

(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3.  Trill open and closed the G key in the left hand.

From these two fingerings I then began exploring the concept of maintaining the more static mood, while quickening the pace of melodic action, representing the forming of the cocoon.  After about 1 minute I began cycling open and closed the G key in the left hand as well as the side Bb key while quickening the overall tempo.  Inside this outer “cocoon” I wanted the internal structure, or mood to remain the same.  Eventually I began incorporating more indeterminate pitches by articulating against the reed, until a point at which the internal structure fractures and all that remains is a series of threaded, punctuated sounds–the outer shell.  After a brief unwinding of these articulations I unstained two pitches, each derived from the original fingerings, followed by a grand pause.  There is then a return to the original body of sound, this time with fractured pitch punctuations surrounding it.  


The image accompanying today’s post from the blog “Inside Art New Orleans” from co-curators Caroline Rankin and Megan Whitmarsch.