12/01/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 335)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 335

Date: 12/01/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


This afternoon I practiced out of the book “Repository of Scales and Melodic Patterns” by the great saxophonist Yusef Lateef.  As is often the case, I chose one specific page and made it the focus of my practice session.  This particular exercise used the B diminished scale in various melodic and rhythmic permutations, including notes groupings of 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 tuplets.  The challenge for me was to execute these passages with solid articulation, phrasing, and time.  I specifically struggled moving in even time between sixteenth note groupings of 5 and 7.  In trying to shift between these odd phrases, I decided to re-visit a compositional model I have explored I believe a total of 3 times now during the 12 Moons project.  I tackled a partially improvised, partially composed model based off of 10 melodic sets that were combined at-will.

Previous versions of this model included the following: composed material played strictly fast, little dynamic shifting, flexibility to choose melodies at will, wide intervals at all times, and disjunct rhythms.  I stayed true to some of these ideas but stretched the boundaries of others.  During this piece the melodic material was very intervalic overall, but I did include more diatonic langue here.  I also used more dynamic shaping from loud to soft, specifically within the same melodic gestures.  Unlink my previous models, I made the 10 figures flexible in their tempo throughout the piece.  Finally, I also used silence.  The use of silence became a particularly important, spur of the moment improvisational shape.  Near the mid point of the piece I would sporadically interject a half second or so pause between some figures.  I then decided to dive head first into longer bouts of silence, and maintained the flexibility to include this at will until the piece’s conclusion.


The image accompanying today’s post by Warburg, depicting the Magritte Museum at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Belgium, Brussels.