Circle Loops

This is a solo project for alto saxophone and technology. I created this piece for my first year portfolio as in the specification I was told I needed to include a piece created with or involving technology. I decided to work with alto saxophone and the software Ableton Live. This meant I could record all the parts myself as I am a confident saxophonist and therefore would have more time to focus on mastering the technology side of the composition. Ableton Live is a multi tracking software that I had not worked with before, which meant that I had to teach myself the different ways it can be used.

Once I had done as much research on Ableton Live as I felt was needed I began to compose the cells for the saxophone part. I decided not to have any bars within the cells so that each of the cells did not have a divide throughout it. I also decided on this as I did not want to use a time signature. Composing without a time signature helps me to not feel restricted in the process. In total I composed 20 cells for this piece. I decided that this was a strong amount as it gave me enough material to create a varied piece.

Recording the cells for Circle Loops

Once all the cells were recorded and edited I was able to work towards the next element of the piece by deciding the order and structure of the piece in Ableton Live. I started by selecting a few cells and creating repeats of them throughout the piece. I then worked with a trial and error approach by adding and removing different cells. This helped me create a piece that in the end I was happy with as I could try multiple different versions.

Throughout the process of this piece I was able to develop my own ideas of creating a minimalist style. I did this by layering most of the cells to create a thick polyphonic texture as well monophonic sections. I found this a really interesting piece to work on and also found it to be beneficial as I learnt how to use Ableton Live, which is a skill that will help me further down the course.

Catherine Mole · Circle Loops