12/07/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 341)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 341

Date: 12/07/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone 

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


While practicing this morning I worked with two consonant chords, pairing the two into a variety of contexts spanning quiet, delicate sounds to more aggressive smears in the extreme upper register.  After working for some time without finding any one particular direction that really struck my ear, I began recording to try and stimulate the process.  I eventually settled on a more defined rhythmic pattern, and then worked to control the internal structure of the chords to create more a melodic landscape as well.  After a number of takes, today’s improvisation finally took shape in the form of a dance-like, folk melody.

The upward smears that take place periodically during the improvisation were one of many sound components I explored while in the early stages of sculpting the piece.  After the more defined 6/8 rhythmic pattern took shape, I decided to use these smears inside of the improvisation. My first attempts include more indeterminate executions of the smears, but I eventually came to love the gentle, recurring nature of the 6/8 melody, and instead decided to use the smears as a means to give the rhythm a moment of pause before storming back in.  The melodies had a number of pitches buried internaly within the chords, but I focused my mind of two simple melodic gestures to improvise around.  The first melodic gesture/fingering used the pitches F# and B, and in the second gesture/fingering, C# to A.  The two fingerings are notated as follows:

Fingering 1: F# and B

(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 2-3, Low C.  High F# key pressed open, then closed.

Fingering 2: C# and A

(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 2-3, Low C.  Palm Eb key pressed open, then closed.

The upward smears were made by using Fingering 2.


The image accompanying today’s post by Robert F. Bukaty.