3,316 research outputs found

    An investigation of the impact of ensemble interrelationship on performances of improvised music through practice research

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    In this thesis I present my investigation into the ways in which the creative and social relationships I have developed with long-term collaborators alter or affect the musical decisions I make in my performances of Improvised Music. The aim of the investigation has been to deepen the understanding of my musical and relational processes as a trombonist through the examination of my artistic practice, which is formed by experiences in range of genres such as Jazz and contemporary music, with a current specialty in Improvised Music performance. By creating an interpretative framework from the theoretical and analytical processes used in music therapy practice, I have introduced a tangible set of concepts that can interpret my Improvised Music performance processes and establish objective perspectives of subjective musical experiences. Chapter one is concerned with recent debates in Improvised Music and music therapy. Particular reference is made to literature that considers interplay between performers. Chapter two focuses on my individual artistic practice and examines the influence of five trombone players from Jazz and Improvised Music performance on my praxis. A recording of one of my solo trombone performances accompanies this section. It concludes with a discussion on my process of making tacit knowledge of Improvised Music performance tangible and explicit and the abstruse nature of subjective feeling states when performing improvisation. This concludes part one of the thesis. The second part of the thesis is concerned with the development and application of concepts and their outcomes. In chapter three, I present frameworks drawn from concepts in music therapy practice. Musical material from my work with long standing collaborators Steve Beresford, John Edwards and Mark Sanders form the basis of three case studies presented in chapter four. Recordings of trio and quartet pieces accompany case study one and two. A recording of a duo with myself and Mark Sanders accompanies case three. In the conclusion, I provide a summary of the research processes, frameworks for analysis and their outcomes. My quartet record All Will Be Said, All To Do Again, which was recorded in the period of this research, forms part three of the study and is the basis for two of three pieces in the aforementioned case studies in chapter four. Part three also includes a live performance of the quartet featuring myself and the musicians featured in thesis which has been documented and included. I further considered how to share my analytical framework in the form of a software programme, a prototype of which can be found in the appendix

    Keywords in musical free improvisation

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    This is the final version of the article. Available from the publisher via the link in this record.This article presents some keywords and concepts concerning free improvised music and its recent developments drawing from ongoing bibliographical research. A radical pluralism stems from musicians' backgrounds and the mixtures and fusions of styles and idioms resulting from these mixtures. Seemingly very diferent "performance-driven" and "play-driven" attitudes exist, even among musicians who share the practice of performing at concerts. New models of musical analysis aiming specifcally at free improvised music take into account these interactional dimensions and point to the existence of certain typicalsounding characteristics

    Analysing improvised music through a comedic lens

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    Improvisation in modern Western performance can most commonly be found in the mediums of music and comedy. These practices have been an integral part of art performance throughout its documented history, yet there is an underrepresentation of improvisation in academia. Music and comedy academic discussion respectively privilege score-based and written media over the extemporised, and no theories have been proposed in any field to explain the effect of improvisation. However, there are three accepted theories of comedy that can be used to explain the humorous effects of improvisation in theatrical performance. These are referred to as the theories of incongruity, relief, and superiority. Viewing improv comedy through the lens of these theories demonstrates that the idiosyncratic elements inherent in the improvised nature of its performance conform with the conventions established by the aforementioned theories. As these elements are not displayed in written comedy, which the theories primarily address, the argument can be presented that improvisation as a creative approach, regardless of its medium, displays elements of humour. This argument is supported by using these theories to analyse jazz music and in recognising their relationship to jazz and their relationship to improvised comedy is very similar. This connection between improvisation in comedy and jazz goes beyond theories of comedy, and these additional similarities will be examined, before each of the primary theories is analysed in turn Within this thesis, I propose that the world of commonality between improvised music, specifically common-practice jazz, and improvised comedy, including their relationship to comedy theory, transcends the established worlds of composed music and written comedy respectively. Therefore, I will conclude that improvisation should be viewed as its own unique genre of interdisciplinary performance

    Interactions in improvised music: people at play

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    Interactions in improvised music: people at play This project began as an open exploration of musical interactions in a trio in which I have played bass for many years. We gave three concerts for the project and I explored our interactions by talking with the pianist/bandleader and drummer after each concert. They described a broad range of interactions and explored a number of different conceptions of what entails a musical interaction. The musicians were keen to talk about the factors that motivate them to perform together, mainly the desire to play. Play, for them, is its own reward. They aim to collaborate in the moment of performance to create something fresh, rather than display their instrumental technique or present music that has been preconceived. An appreciation of this motivation is needed to understand their interactions in concert. Audience members were also interviewed after every performance. They each experienced the concerts differently, in a way that reflects their preoccupations and interests as much as it reflects the concert event. The research thus provides a view of individuals and their differences that contrasts with the body of music research focused on common experiences within particular musical cultures and the acquisition of the skills required to participate in those cultures. This practice-led research project was allowed to develop and find focus gradually in cycles of performances, interviews and analysis of interview transcripts, concurrent with an ongoing exploration of texts about doing research. Various interactions – during the performances and interviews, between the researcher and the interview transcripts and between the researcher and research texts – contributed to the project’s development. These interactions can be thought of as play between foreknowledge and the unknown. Accordingly, play as described by the musicians and as defined in hermeneutics, was actively pursued as a way of developing an appropriate methodology for the project

    Chapter 28 The Risk of Improvised Music

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    The idea of improvisation, broadly defined, has been integral to our imagination of the medieval musical past. It can be related to many elements of production: to the act of un-notated creation; to the manipulation and amplification of notated materials; to our observance of rigid rules and formulae; or to spontaneous freedom. Likely a product of the Carolingian Renaissance, this is the first medieval music treatise to address an aspect of chant performance that does not only relate to a memorized repertoire, but includes an unwritten practice of extemporizing an accompanying voice to a pre-given melody. The art of “coloration” or the ornamentation of a line, whether polyphonic or monophonic, had been an integral part of extemporization since at least the time of the Ad organum faciendum treatises. When planning author's ontological inquiries, the author's would do well to remember the possible existence of creativity that is not inspired, or ephemerality that is not performer- or expression-centered

    Interactions in improvised music: people at play

    Get PDF
    Interactions in improvised music: people at play This project began as an open exploration of musical interactions in a trio in which I have played bass for many years. We gave three concerts for the project and I explored our interactions by talking with the pianist/bandleader and drummer after each concert. They described a broad range of interactions and explored a number of different conceptions of what entails a musical interaction. The musicians were keen to talk about the factors that motivate them to perform together, mainly the desire to play. Play, for them, is its own reward. They aim to collaborate in the moment of performance to create something fresh, rather than display their instrumental technique or present music that has been preconceived. An appreciation of this motivation is needed to understand their interactions in concert. Audience members were also interviewed after every performance. They each experienced the concerts differently, in a way that reflects their preoccupations and interests as much as it reflects the concert event. The research thus provides a view of individuals and their differences that contrasts with the body of music research focused on common experiences within particular musical cultures and the acquisition of the skills required to participate in those cultures. This practice-led research project was allowed to develop and find focus gradually in cycles of performances, interviews and analysis of interview transcripts, concurrent with an ongoing exploration of texts about doing research. Various interactions – during the performances and interviews, between the researcher and the interview transcripts and between the researcher and research texts – contributed to the project’s development. These interactions can be thought of as play between foreknowledge and the unknown. Accordingly, play as described by the musicians and as defined in hermeneutics, was actively pursued as a way of developing an appropriate methodology for the project

    Chapter 28 The Risk of Improvised Music

    Get PDF
    The idea of improvisation, broadly defined, has been integral to our imagination of the medieval musical past. It can be related to many elements of production: to the act of un-notated creation; to the manipulation and amplification of notated materials; to our observance of rigid rules and formulae; or to spontaneous freedom. Likely a product of the Carolingian Renaissance, this is the first medieval music treatise to address an aspect of chant performance that does not only relate to a memorized repertoire, but includes an unwritten practice of extemporizing an accompanying voice to a pre-given melody. The art of “coloration” or the ornamentation of a line, whether polyphonic or monophonic, had been an integral part of extemporization since at least the time of the Ad organum faciendum treatises. When planning author's ontological inquiries, the author's would do well to remember the possible existence of creativity that is not inspired, or ephemerality that is not performer- or expression-centered

    On Improvised Music, Computational Creativity and Human-Becoming

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    Music improvisation is an act of human-becoming: of self-expression—an articulation of histories and memories that have molded its participants—and of exploration—a search for unimagined structures that break with the stale norms of majoritarian culture. Given that the former objective may inhibit the latter, we propose an integration of human musical improvisers and deliberately flawed creative software agents that are designed to catalyze the development of human-ratified minoritarian musical structures

    Secret Gardeners: an ethnography of improvised music in Berlin (2012-13)

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    This thesis addresses the aesthetics, ideologies and practicalities of contemporary European Improvised Music-making - this term referring to the tradition that emerged from 1960s American jazz and free jazz, and that remains, arguably, one of today's most misunderstood and under-represented musical genres. Using a multidisciplinary approach drawing on Grounded Theory, Ethnography and Social Network Analysis, and bounded by Berlin's cosmopolitan local scene of 2012-13, I define Improvised Music as a field of differing-yet-interconnected practices, and show how musicians and listeners conceived of and differentiated between these sub-styles, as well as how they discovered and learned to appreciate such a hidden, 'difficult' and idiosyncratic art form. Whilst on the surface Improvised Music might appear chaotic and beyond analysis in conventional terms, I show that, just like any other music, Improvised Music has its own genre-specific conventions, structures and expectations, and this research investigates its specific modes of performance, listening and appreciation - including the need to distinguish between 'musical' and 'processual' improvisatory outcomes, to differentiate between different 'levels' of improvising, and to separate the group and personal levels of the improvisatory process. I define improvised practices within this ifeld as variable combinations of 'composed' (pre-planned) and 'improvised' (real-time) elements, and examine the specific definitions of 'risk', 'honesty', 'trust', and 'good' and `bad' music-making which mediate these choices - these distinctions and evaluatory frameworks leading to a set of proposed conventions and distinctions for Improvised Music listening and production. This study looks at the representation of identity by improvising musicians, the use of social and political models as analogies for the improvisatory process (including the interplay between personal freedom of expression and the construction of coherent collective outcomes), and also examines the multiple functions of recording, in a music that was ostensibly only meant for the moment of its creation. All of this serves to address several popular misconceptions concerning Improvised Music, and does so directly from the point of view of a large sample of its most important practitioners and connoisseurs. Such findings provide key insights into the appreciation and understanding of Improvised Music itself (both for newcomers and those already adept in its ways), and this thesis offers important suggestions for scholars of Musicology, Ethnomusicology, Sociology of Music, Improvisation Studies, Performance Studies and Music/Cognitive Psychology, as well as for those concerned with improvisation and creativity in more general, non-musical, terms
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