We had another interesting workshop last night. In an effort to shake things up, and confront my questions about structured improv, I put out a call to our regulars to bring structures to play.
Howard came in with one of the most successful, "play short notes and play long notes - and don't play all the time". Devin brought a simple conduction piece with only 3 hand gestures for control. (conduction is a totally different rigid prejudice of mine that I'd like to overcome, but that's another posting). I suggested "play 3 different sounds, and only play half the time.
Tim suggested we combine all three. More about that later.
Steven S brought in scores from previous performances. A real history lesson in Halifax experimental music. They were from 1978! And very very long, in duration and physical score length (3 or 4 metres). That was fun. Andrew D, David and Dr. JC were present as well, as was the new guy Bernie who came with his guitar.
The idea Tim came up with was to take scores and actually rehearse them. I like this very much and wish we'd had more time to play with this idea. The big advantage of structures is that we can make discoveries that improve the performance the next time. (sorta like classical music without the pressure and 400 years of history?) I guess it gives us a chance to step outside thinking about the form, and the instructions, and internalize them to free up the listening and really make music.
And I think that's where my problem with structures lies. They can become a crutch which removes the need to listen, act and interact. It can remove some of our responsibility to the music and to the moment.
But it's not always that way. We can practice. I'm personally quite good at that.
Dec 8, 2009 at 21:17