12/25/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 359)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 359

Date: 12/25/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: The rec room of my childhood home in Edmonds, WA 


This improvisation uses a static drone figure played quietly, with melodic gestures above it that independently shifted in dynamic level from quiet to medium loud.  The concept of voice independence has been a continuous theme in my playing for some time now, but I’m now working towards adding a new level of depth to this concept by isolating fingering systems that allow for volume independence within the separate parts.  I used a single fingering gesture, which had a mid-register drone.   The melodies above it were approached freely and used a total of 4 pitches from the fingering’s overtone series, in addition to a 5th tone added by flexing my embouchure.  The fingering system was as follows:

(Left Hand) 1, Palm Key F only, Octave // (Right Hand) 2-3, Low C.  Trill the F key (1) in the right hand continuously.  

The static drone created by this fingering system was an F (quarter step high) in middle octave.  I worked to maintain this drone at all times at a consistent dynamic level, though there were a few moments when it unintentionally dropped out.  Above this drone were the 4 melodic pitches C#, F#, C, and E, all in the upper to extreme upper register.  The F# functioned as a central pivot point in the melodies, with improvised phrases moving towards and away from it.  A 5th tone, an upper register E was played by shifting my embouchure and scooping up into the F#.  As stated above, a central theme during this piece was to maintain a duality of thought–maintaining the static volume in the drone, and freely shaping the volume level of the melodies.  At a single point during the improvisation, I did pull the drone out intentionally to draw the focus to a single upper register melodic pitch, which was played at the high point of volume during the improvisation.  


The image “Pretty much every” accompanying today’s post by Douglas Gordon (1992-?).