12/14/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 348)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 348

Date: 12/14/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


In this improvisation I wanted to evoke a quiet storm of activity that maintained a central theme from start to finish.  I tried to push my ego aside and explore brighter, less nuanced sound clusters towards the end of the piece, all the while keeping my mind bent on the central theme.  This theme was a simple, four-note gesture in the altissimo range that used the pitches F–Db–F–Eb– and began the piece.  This was done using a single fingering and careful manipulation of my embouchure and air flow.  It was fingered as follows:

(Left Hand) Fork F, C, Octave, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2

This is also a multiphonic chord, and during the piece I worked to control the entrance of various part of this chord.  For example, the piece opens with the main theme, and I then began incorporating “resting points” where an F/F# cluster would oscillate before entering back into the theme.  At other points I also began incorporating an F in the mid register, and eventually took away the octave key to let this F dip down a whole step to become an Eb.   During this piece I also progressively added more percussive sounds such as key trilling, and tried to orchestrate a long-range build.  I thickened the textures from the quiet, controlled beginning of the piece to the more aggressive, bright-toned high point at the end.  In the last 30 seconds, I tried to quickly and progressively remove the additional orchestrations such as the key clacking and mid octave Eb to return very briefly back to the original theme.


The image “Untitled (Cracking Painting)” accompanying today’s post by Minor White.