12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 362
Instrument: Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)
This morning I practiced for several hours before beginning the process of recording. This was an intentional choice. The 12 Moons project itself has, from day 1, become the center of my creative life each day this year. I’ve made every effort to relieve myself of feeling any kind of burden with this daily task. Each day I try and make the process of recording as relaxed as possible, taking advantage of my mood, physical location, and my practice session itself. As the project is drawing to a close, I’ve specifically thought about the patterns that have emerged in my artistic process from day to day.
More often than not I record during my practice session. I’ve come to recognize a flat-out reality that once I’ve recorded, I feel a sense of artistic and personal accomplishment that often makes me loose focus on my instrument for the rest of my practice session. Even if I urge myself to continue practicing, I often feel less reward at the end of the session, finding that the peak of my accomplishment was the recording itself. This is of course diametrically opposed to the all important snails-pace of progress through focused, daily practice. For this reason, in the last 1/3 or so of the project I’ve begun recording towards the end of my practice session. Most days this works fine, but in others days, particularly when my artistic fluidity is slower than usual or if I feel pressured for time, this can lead to a heavy stress load, and often take much longer than usual. However, even in these situations, at the end the day I feel fulfilled knowing that I’ve devoted even more time to the horn. Today was one of the days when my artistic process moved slower than it general does. It took time, but the piece eventually came.
During today’s improvisation I used 2 fingerings and sang into the horn using upward pitch bends. The improvisation was centered around a Concert Db fundamental, with the second fingering moving the piece into moments with an Ab fundamental. I used continuous loops of the gesture as well as silence, soft and abrupt cut-offs. I initially decided to use a single fingering, but during the mid point of the improvisation I felt the piece needed stronger contrast. While singing in the upper side of a pitch bend I decided to move to a Low Bb fingering. I chose this moment because this particular fingering would require a looser sub-tone embouchure in order to match the timbre of the Concert Db. These fingerings were as follows:
Concert Db fundamental:
(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low Eb
Concert Ab fundamental:
(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3, Low C
The image “March 28, 1973" accompanying today’s post by Charles Hagen (1973).