12/15/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 349)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 349


Instrument: Tenor saxophone

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


On December 5th, the world lost a powerful icon for freedom, activism, and humanity.  Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  As with millions of people throughout the world, I’m saddened by his passing but so thankful for the living legacy his work has given us.  So many leaders of men are expected to be effective yet remain clean of controversial opinions and actions.  Madiba showed me that activism, diversity of political thought and a clear vision can effect change in so many lives.  My improvisation today was inspired by and dedicated to the memory of Nelson “Madiba” Mandela.

Today I did my sincere best to impart a loving, radiant atmosphere.  In this piece I worked with primarily the major pentatonic scale in D Major, creating a sound profile that I felt  had an almost dance-like quality to it.  I recorded many versions of this improvisation, most of considerably longer length than the piece chosen today.  I used the recording process to whittle down extemporaneous material, and arrived at a very simple, melodic piece.  I used traditional fingerings as well as a split-tone sound, and a multiphonic fingering.  The split-tone was approached with false fingerings to create a sound cycle with the pieces D, E and F#.  This is the texture that opens the improvisation.  I also used this same fingering to create the split tone chord E and C# that is held near the 1 minute mark.  The multiphonic fingering was a simple D major chord that I began incorporating at the mid point of the piece.   These two fingerings were as follows:

Sound Cycle (D, E and F#) and Split-tone chord (E and C#)

(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Octave, Palm Eb only, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2.  To create the Sound Cycle, take away the F key, Palm Eb, each in turn, exploring a total of 3 pitches: D, E, and F#.

D Major Chord/Multiphonic

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

Rest in peace Madiba.


The image accompanying today’s post is Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia Trial.