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EXPERIMENTAL IMPROVISATION PRACTISE AND NOTATION.
AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY. ADDENDA 2000-
by Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen
A pdf edition is available here.
Newsletter with feeds and editorial digest a couple of times a year:
Archive of Newsletters
This is a continuation of the previous large bibliography with its more than 650 entries which ended with the publishing year of 1999 (apart from some very few exceptions, please see note 1) in that text). This one solely lists works and literature published from 2000 and on, while newly discovered addenda to the other one are included there.
If you are here for the first time or if you are doing a general literature search, be sure to see the old and very large one here.
See some imagined FAQs here!
In the event that an URL is no longer active, you may try www.archive.com with its "wayback machine" which can in some cases find old material, even after many years.
Even though many entries are detailed, I've taken a more relaxed approach to this addenda list than to the other bibliography. It aims less towards being exhaustive, in the relative meaning of making sure I get all I think may be important to some degree, not that exhaustiveness really could exist in an absolute sense. There is much less systematic search of databases etc.(see the remarks before each category in the "Appendix" section in the large bibliography). Therefore, those who search should even more here not refrain from making their own investigations! It must also be noted that not only are databases better updated now than at the time of completion of the big bibliography, but they might have grown both more, bigger and more comprehensive. This could be an open field for further research, certainly also into materials dating before 2000.
Readers are welcome to suggest new material (here), but I reserve the right to decide about possible inclusion, with views to both quality and the limitations of the scope of this list (for instance, it deals exclusively with music).
Items here appear with their category codes between (parenthesis), distinguishing the new list from the old.Don't forget to look up the "see also" references at the beginning of thematic sections - one writing may have several virtues ;-)
This system has been employed for classifying the subjects (taken over from the 1945-1999 bibliography):
VARIABLE WORKS AND AURAL SCORES WRITINGS OTHER
A. EDITIONS OF WORKS AND AURAL SCORES
A1. 13 representative examples (annotated)
A2.1. Some relevant independently published composers (Danish and foreign). A checklist.
A2.2. Some Danish and foreign anthologies/series/collections.
A2.2.1 SELECTED PUBLISHED WORKS (new category)
A3. Danish works.
A4. Aural scores (both foreign and Danish)
B WORKS AND AURAL SCORES HAVING BEEN PUBLISHED IN EXTENSO, BUT NOT AS INDEPENDENT EDITIONS
B1. Improvisation recipes by students of Aalborg University
B2. Various works published in Denmark
B3. Various foreign works
B4. Aural scores (both danish and foreign; annotated)
C: WORKS AND AURAL SCORES, PARTS OF WHICH HAVE BEEN QUOTED IN PUBLICATIONS
C1. Danish / publ. in Denmark
D. UNPUBLISHED WORKS AND AURAL SCORES
D1. Various works - Danish and foreign
D2. An annotated selection of compositions by Niels Viggo Bentzon available at Edition Wilhelm Hansen
E. WRITINGS ON NOTATION
E1. General and large writings
E2. Specific themes
E3. The "Bent Lorentzen - debate" 1987-88
F. COLLECTIONS OF EXERCISES, WRITINGS AND MUSIC WORKS FOR EDUCATIONAL USE
F1.1 Collections of exercises and related writings
F1.2 Lilli Friedemann
F1.3 Gertrud Meyer-Denkmann
F2 Miscellaneous writings
F3 Music works for educational use, collections of such works and series
G. WRITINGS ON IMPROVISED MUSIC
G1.1 General surveys and general history
G1.2 Periodicals, specialised
G1.3 Periodicals, general
G2.1 Documentation, reports and discussion concerning specific improvisors, groups, works, events, tendencies
G2.4 Earle Brown's December 52
G3 General philosopy, aesthetics, music theory and music analysis
G3.1 Improvised performance practise related to experimental and new works
G5 Miscellaneous writings
H. OTHER WRITINGS.
H1 General accounts of music history, dealing thoroghly with themes concerning new notation forms and/or improvisation
H2.1 Bibliographic and discographic literature
H2.1.1 Publisher's catalogues
H2.2 Biographcal literature
H3.1 Literature on music therapy
H3.2 Writings related to the teaching of Intuitive Music and Graphic Notation at Aalborg University and other places
H4 Miscellaneous other writings
I. RECORDINGS (only a restricted category here)
I1. Variable works and music played from recipes
I2. Free improvisations
J. ELECTRONIC ADDRESSES AND RELATED
J1.1. Selected internet addresses
J1.2: On Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies on the internet
K.EXHIBITIONS OF NEW NOTATIONS AND THEIR CATALOGUES
a) Copied from Davies (1986B;E1)
b) Some further exhibitions and catalogues
L. EDDIE PREVOST ON ASSOCIATION OF IMPROVISING MUSICIANS
M. A SHORTLIST OF RECOMMENDED WRITINGS
CONCERNING LIBRARIES (abbreviations used and various information)
AEST: Æstetikbiblioteket, Langelandsvej 139, 8000 Århus C, Bygning 582. Open shelves. Contents can be seen from the internet - see J1.1.
AUB: Aalborg Universitetsbibliotek, Langagervej, 9220 Aalborg Øst. Open shelves. Contents can be seen from the internet - see J1.1.
AUM: Institutbiblioteket for Musik og Musikterapi, Kroghstræde 6, Aalborg Universitet. No public loans.
BRIT.LIBR.: British Library, London. Contents can be seen from the internet - see J.
DKDM: Det Kgl. Danske Musikkonservatorium, København. A substantial part of the collection on open shelves. In the year 2000, an registration was started (CDs first), becoming available in REX (see Kgl. Bibl. under J).
DKDM+D: Same, recording matching the entry exists also.
EM: Esbjerg Musikkonservatorium. Open shelves. No public loans.
FRBMB: Frederiksberg Musikbibliotek.
GLHB: Gladsaxe Hovedbibliotek.
HB: Hovedbiblioteket, København. Open shelves, however, literature of earlier dates in stores.
IMD: Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Nieder-Ramstädter Strasse 190, D-64285 Darmstadt, tel. +49 (0)6151 13-2416 eller +49 (0)6151 13-2417. Special library for new music. Accessible for persons according to arrangement. Possible to obtain loans via post, also internationally.
KB: Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Kbh. [Royal Library, Copenhagen]. Contents in the database REX, also on the internet, see under J.
LOGOS: Logos Music Archives, Kongostraat 35, B-9000 Gent, Belgium. Library and archive for experimental music. Periodicals are indexed so that one can search them according to keywords etc. Contains also a number of unpublished music works.
MI: Musikvidenskabeligt Institut ved Københavns Universitet. Open shelves.
MKAR: Musikkonservatoriet, Århus. No public loans. Open shelves. Contents acquired from the year 1990 can be seen in an internal database, before that time on catalogue cards.
MVAR: Håndbiblioteket. Musikvidenskabeligt Institut, Langelandsvej 139, bygning 580, 8000 Århus C.
NJMK: Nordjysk Musikkonservatorium. Open shelves. Internal database.
OUB: Odense Universitetsbibliotek. Situated at the Conservatory of Music. A limited selection on open shelves. Contents can be seen in Odin, see J.
SB: Statsbiblioteket, Århus. Public loan. Contents can be seen from the internet - see J.
ÅB: Århus hovedbibliotek.
DR: Danmarks Radio, internal library.
VARIABLE WORKS AND AURAL SCORES
A. EDITIONS OF WORKS AND AURAL SCORES
A2.2. Some Danish and foreign anthologies/series/collections.
(a2.2)/ Ames, Anke: Gaia. Kompositionen für improvisors, Dortmund (Musikverlag Manfred Weiss) 2003.
Collection of open compositions. Graphics and German texts.
(a2.2)/ Lely, John; Saunders, James (ed): Word Events. Perspectives on Verbal Notation. New York (Continuum), 2012.
A comprehensive anthology of 40 scores. All accompanied by, as far as has been possible to collect, a recent comment by the author, and by an editor's comment. In total, more than 170 are cited in the book.
First part of the book is a detailed description of the functions of the co-called Systemic Functional Grammar. It aims at being descriptive, not prescriptive and sees a number of contextual, situational and social dimensions as part of the language. These dimensions are illustrated with references to the pieces of the anthology. One point pointing to the relevance of this approach is that suggestions for performance need not be formulated in the imperative.
Collecting a vast material in one publication, the book is indispensable for Fluxus studies. However, in Fluxus focus is often on the overall performance situation, including its theatrical elements, and sound production is often touched upon just as a hint or in indirect ways. This is so even though Fluxus used the music performance situation as its jumping-off board. Moreover, it used the the music production habit of the score (rather than a theater manuscript), thus employing a division of labor between author and performer - and extending insight into the ideas of specific pieces beyond the performers.
Those who, like the present author, take a more definitely focused approach to differentiating sound, its structures and processes will still find pieces and composers of interest. But this is not what the book is largely about.
There is a good reference list, including sections on anthologies, publishers and internet sites.
(a2.2)/ Marclay, Christian: Shuffle. 75 photographs to be used ad lib. to play from. Publ. by aperture.org, 2007. Also distributed by Thames and Hudson. http://aperture.org/shop/books/shuffle
At the exhibition 22nd March – 5th April 2014, Library of Birmingham, the following text by Christian Marlclay (which is not to be found present at the publishers' site) appeared: "The deck of cards can be used as a musical score. / Shuffle the deck and draw your cards. / Create a sequence using as many or as few of the cards as you wish. / Play alone or with others. / Invent your own rules. / Sounds may be generated or simply imagined.
(a2.2)/ Toxvaerd, Laura: Compositions. 18 graphic scores. Gylling, Denmark: Spring, 2016. http://forlagetspring.dk/rapidcart-157/index.html
This book was published out of a desire to satisfy the curiosity of some of the the authors' audience members about how how musicians and composers work: "... a more clearly articulated sense of the germinating and progressively emerging time in the music could very well serve to enrich their experience", she says (p. 8-9). Moreover, "the final artistic result - the work of art - is not enough... My research method is based on examining the process that leads forward to a piece of music" (p.10-11). This is because "the artistic working process includes skills, knowledge and experiences that the world should not miss out on" (p.10).
So is this anthology a collection of pieces one could play? Yes and no. On one hand, according to the author "it is possible for the reader with some measure of knowledge about music to perform the musical works herself" (p.8). On the other, as we have seen, a main point is to document creative processes. There are no tables for explanation of symbols. Instead, we are given verbal accounts of the genesis and characteristics of six pieces - and of their subsequent revisions. Each piece undergoes two revisions, thus totalling 18 pieces. Revisions were undertaken both because something did not succeed and proved too difficult to realise - or, inversely, because something went surprisingly well, or simply because new ideas occurred. Still, to be sure, it was the aim to keep pieces sonically recognisable, but many details could change, including some formal characteristics.
The author played along in all cases (sax, clarinet, voice). The last revisions were played with another ensemble, however having the same additional instruments: piano, bass and drums. So we are not dealing with "ensemble ad libitum" here, rather with a rhythm and a melody section. LPs documenting the two last, revised series are released on ILK Records, White Label Series releases #6 & #7, 2016.
The first versions depict sequences described in a relatively simple way, primarily with words. The latter versions make good use of colours and suggestive shapes and illuminate the descriptive text. They may also be inspiring to look at in their own right.
(a2.2.1) SELECTED PUBLISHED WORKS (new category, not in the pre-2000 list)
(a2.2.1)/ Ames, Anke: Bast Siegel, Dortmund (Musikverlag Manfred Weiss) 2005.
For music and dance. 40 sheets, some of them in colours. Texts in English and German.
(a2.2.1)/ Broetzmann, Peter: Signs. A card game, 2002.
A collection of cards in a box with various fantasy-stimulating suggestions. Made for an exhibition at Ystad Art Museum, Sweden in a number of 120 copies. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A2.2. SOME DANISH AND FOREIGN ANTHOLOGIES/SERIES/COLLECTIONS.
(a2.2)/ See also: Bergstroem-Nielsen (2007;G3) - Sauer (2009;(E1))
(a2.2)/ See also Gronemeyr et al (2007; g1.2)
(a2.2)/ Stockhausen, Karlheinz; von Hintzenstern, Michael: Booklet for Stockhausen Complete Edition CD 17.1, 2005.
This booklet contains reprints of 6 out of the 17 pieces notated with texts contained in the collection For Times to Come (1970, publ. 1976): Shortening - Awake - Halt - Presentiment - Inside - Waves. Also a short article by Michael von Hintzenstern on the history of this ensemble, the collaboration with Stockhausen over the years and a report of the work preceding these recordings.
(a2.2)The Great Learning Orchestra: A4 rum.
Anthology of open compositions, each written on one A4 piece of paper. Recordings are frequently included. http://a4-room.com/ Downloaded 17.December 2019. See also about the catalogue from the exhibition (k)/ 30.August 2014 - 30.November 2014, Marabouparken, Sundbyberg, Stockholm.
These composers are represented: Anastasios Logothetis - Anders Erkéus - Anna Nygren - Annika Ström - Arijana Kajfes - Arnold Dreyblatt - Bebe Risenfors - Björn Wallgren - Carl-Johan Rosén - Christian Wolff - Christine Ödlund - Christopher Hobbs - Cornelius Cardew - Daniel Bingert - Daniel Goode - Dave Allen - David Jackman - David Liljemark - David Linnros - Ebba Matz - Emily Roysdon - Erik Bünger - Erik Satie - Eva Löfdahl - Frederic Rzewski - Gilbert Johansson - Girilal Baars - Gunnar Sandin - Hans Andersson - Henrik Andersson - Henrik Rylander - Hong-Kai Wang - Howard Skempton - Hugh Shrapnel - Håkan Rehnberg - Håkan Sandsjö - Ingvar Loco Nordin - J.G. Thirlwell - Jacob Dahlgren - Jan Liljeqvist - Jannike Grut - Jennifer Rahfeldt - Jeremy Cocks - Jesse Glass - Johan Boberg - Johan E. Andersson - Johanna Billing - Johannes Bergmark - John Cage - Jonas Nobel - LaMonte Young - Lars Bröndum - Leif Isebring - Leif Jordansson - Lina Selander - Lisa Hansson - Lisa Ullén - Lise-Lotte Norelius - Liv Strand - Maria Arnqvist, Cecilia Österholm, Jari Happalainen - Martin Q Larsson - Matti Bye - Mattin - Nils Personne - Olof Olsson - Paul Bothén - Paul Burnell - Pelle Halvarsson - Per Magnusson - Pessi Parviainen - Peter Geschwind - Peter Lindroth - Peter Schuback - Pontus Langendorf - Rinus van Alebeek - Robin McGinley - Sara Lundén - Shida Shahabi/ Anton Svanberg - Stefan Klaverdal - Thomas Brandt - Thomas Elovsson - Tommy Wahlström - Tony Harris - Ulf Grahn - Ulrich Krieger.
A2.2.1 SELECTED PUBLISHED WORKS (new category)
A3. DANISH WORKS.
(a3)/ Else Marie Pade: Faust, 1962. Facsimile af partitur til elektronmusik. Offset-print 48,5 x 65 cm. Oplag: 420. Signeret, dateret og nummereret. Copenhagen, (Den Danske Radeer-Forening, Nr. 524), 2012.
A4. AURAL SCORES (both danish and foreign; annotated)
(a4)/ Damgaard, Lisbeth: Aural score for Pade, Else Marie: Symphonie Magnetophonique (1958), in: Bruland, Inge: Else Marie Pade og Symphonie Magnetophonique. biografi, interviews, lyttepartitur, partitur, cd, Museum Tusculanum Press (University of Copenhagen)
(a4) Blair, Sarah: The ornament of grammar, Journal of Illustration Vol. 6 ,1, 2019, pp. 137–160. doi: 10.1386/jill_00008_1
This article points to the historical significance of Bauhaus and subsequent tendencies which used abstract visual forms for expressive and narrative purposes, as predecessors for graphic notations - or aural scores - in music. Using tweets by Donald Trump as especially featured examples, the author presents a number of own analyses of grammar and rhetoric structures in English sentences.
Author's abstract: Part of an ongoing research project to interpret linguistic grammar visually, this essay presents initial experiments to visualize rhetorical patterns in English sentences. Creative contextualization is offered with reference to earlier visual forms that were treated as a kind of language. A certain strand in Modernism in particular that running through the Bauhaus, which used abstract devices as a foundational design syntax paved the way for post-war picture books to activate the narrative potential of simple coloured shapes; and, again, avant-garde musical scores from the 1950s onwards used exploratory graphic notations to instigate expressive new treatments of sound. My own visualizations are playful in spirit but posit a serious idea that grammar works by means of deep aesthetic tendencies. My case studies – featuring a model user and a model abuser of English – flag up common patterns in typical sentence constructions under seven descriptive labels.
Ultimately the essay suggests that Illustration might flourish at the level of the sentence, the basic unit of meaning within word-based language and, in very simple terms, the expression of a thought. Ornamenting the rhythm and flow of how a sentence operates is one means of ‘seeing’ a voice lending shape to thought at a detailed level.
B WORKS AND AURAL SCORES HAVING BEEN PUBLISHED IN EXTENSO, BUT NOT AS INDEPENDENT EDITIONS
B3. VARIOUS FOREIGN WORKS
(b3)/See also ringgespräch (2004; (G2.1)).
(b3)/ la Barbara, Joan: "Voice piece: one-note internal resonance investigation" (1975) and "Circular Song". In: MusikTexte 116, p.6-7, February 2008.
Two pieces exploring extended vocal techniques notated with verbal and graphical means.
B4. AURAL SCORES (not publ. as separate editions; both foreign and Danish)
(b4)/ Bremberg, Brita; Kruse, Gro Shetefig; Nielsen, Mette Stig: Listen to Scandinavia, Copenhagen, Edition Wilhelm Hansen 2007.
The electronic music by Bent Lorentzen comes with an aural score by the composer.
C: WORKS AND AURAL SCORES, PARTS OF WHICH HAVE BEEN QUOTED IN PUBLICATIONS
(c2)/ See also ringgespräch (2004; G2.1); Nonnenmann (2010; G2.1); Spahlinger (2015;g2.1)
(c2/)/ Spahlinger, Mathias: "doppelt bejaht" (2009) for symphony orchestra, in: Nonnenmann, Rainer: "Wider den Utopieverlust. Mathias Spahlingers "doppelt bejaht" beschreitet neue Bahnen". MusikTexte 124, Februar 2010.
Graphically and text-notated composition. Performed at Donaueschinger Musiktage 2009.
D. UNPUBLISHED WORKS AND AURAL SCORES
(d1)/ Wilson, Peter Niklas: "Ohne Titel" [posthumous - für Kontrabasquartett und Ensemble (2001)], MusikTexte 99, Dezember, 2003.
A plan to play from. Wilson was both musician and writer about improvised music.
E. WRITINGS ON NOTATIONRead an introduction to literature about notation here. If this link does not work, click here.
Une introduction en Francais sur notation ici. Ci cette link ne functionne pas, cliquer ici.
E1. General and large writings
See also: Lely et al (2012; A2.2); Storesund (2015;G3.1), Boulez (2007;G2.4).
(e1) / Amelunxen, Hubertus von (ed.); Appelt, Dieter, Weibel, Peter (Hrsg.): Notation. Kalkül und Form in den Künsten. Contributors: Amelunxen, Hubertus von; Appelt, Dieter; Baumgartner, Michael, Beauvais, Yann; Blum, Eberhard; Boulez, Pierre; Frizot, Michael; Greenough, Sarah; Haus, Andreas; Kanach, Sharon; Kittler, Friedrich A.; Kudielka, Robert; Lammert, Angela; Louppe, Laurence; Mannoni, Laurent; Rajchmann, John; Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg; Schmied, Wieland; Schneider, Birgit; Schubert, Howard, Speck, Reiner; Weibel, Peter; Zimmermann, Heidy. Exhibition Catalogue, Berlin (Akademie der Künste)/Karlsruhe (Zentrum für Medientechnologie), s.a. . 423 pages. ISBN 978-3-88331-123-4.
This book comprising more than 400 pages in large format is an exhibition catalogue. Apart from a full catalogue of all exhibited works and various additional illustrations, 23 articles deal with "notation" in some broad sense of the word. Thus, from von Amelunxen we can learn that a number of architects from the 1950s and on incorporated flexibility into their plans and drawings. Hans-Jörg Rheinberger examines various forms of notes and schemes made by practioners of natural science. - Since there is no clear (let alone common) definition of the subject matter among authors, the book appears like a giant, concerted brainstorm. One may find materials to nurture the readers' own thoughts, but I have not come upon any systematic mappings and guidances. There seems to be a need also of writers who commit themselves to such research which could make it possible to approach more of an overview of what has happened in art and science fields outside one's own.
(e1)/ Ashwal, Gary; Malsbury, Evan; Chung Soojin; Prajapati, Sheetal; Feldman, David; Welch, Samsurin; Mikyung Kim, Eugene: Pictures of Music . http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/picturesofmusic/index2.html
A general web presentation of a number of American and some European composers' graphic works.
(e1) Bosseur, Jean-Yves: Du son au signe. Paris (Éditions Alternatives), 2005.
P. 102-134, "La notation à partir des années cinquante", is a fairly comprehensive collection of excerpts from works notated in new ways. They are presented in an order of increasing openness. These examples could be a good supplement to the authors' general book on new music Bosseur 1993; H1. It is recommended to look at both, since tendencies and purposes of the notations are more explained there - in particular, verbal notation is given a less superficial treatment.
Previous chapters deal with older notation. This includes also tendencies to specify more and more - Mälzel's invention of the metronome, as we learn p.87, was a piece of technology influencing this in the beginning ot the nineteenth century. It is documented how Beethoven had an ambivalent attitude to exact tempo indications, both showing his interest and at times stressing their limits or being irritated at them.
Composers featured in the new music chapter (some with several examples) are: Kagel, Ferneyhough, Penderecki, Ligeti, Stockhausen, (Mion, transscriptor for Francois Bayle), Earle Brown, Feldman, Cage, Christian Wolff, Cardew, Bussotti, Logothetis, Pousseur and Tom Phillips.
(e1)/ Buj Corral, Marina: Circular Graphic Scores: Between Time and Space. BRAC - Barcelona Research Art Creation. Vol. 2 No. 3, October 2014, pp. 277-300
From the author's English summary: "...it has been found that frequently circular notation corresponds to musical structures of cyclic and repetitive nature. Moreover, circular scores allow incorporating elements of openness in interpretation, such as the duration of the work, the choice of reading direction or starting point. Circular scores advantage the analysis of the musical structure of the piece and provide flexibility to interpretation. In addition, they show that spatiality is a condition of music, as well as temporality". Works by Lombardi, Crumb, Takemitsu and Bergstroem-Nielsen are quoted.
(e1)/ Buj Corral, Marina: “Grafismos en la música: Origen y desarollo de las partituras graficas", www.sinfoniavirtual.com Edición 24 · Enero 2013,ISSN 1886-9505.
A good elementary introduction to the phenomenon of graphic notation. Mention is made of inspirations from visual art to the New York School composers, to Haubenstock-Ramati's distinction between graphic notations and musical graphics (the latter are seen as primarily visual works, although they may be translated into music by players). Further, of the new, open performance practise, the influence of indeterminacy and "philosophical and political aspects" - the latter dealing tith the inclusive aspect extending into non-professionals. The author has studied these matters within a visual arts university institute.
Quoted are: Feldman, Projection 1; Brown: December 52; Schnebel: Mo-No; Cage: Variations III;Cardew: Treatise; Yoko Ono: Voice Piece for soprano. Further, two aural scores: Stockhausen: Study II (Studie II) and Wehinger's aural score of Ligeti: Articulation.
(e1)/ Buj Corral, Marina: Partituras gráﬁcas y gráficos musicales circulares en el Arte Contemporáneo (1950-2010), 2015. http://hdl.handle.net/2445/96609 Downloaded 17. January 2019. PhD, University of Barcelona.
The PhD behind the summarising article Buj (2014; E1). Even if the Spanish language may scare some English readers, they too are highly recommended to look into this, since everything is amply illustrated. The wealth of details include elaborate discussions of concentric and spiral forms, and a separate appendix presents graphic notations by no less than 91 recent composers, not counting the historical ones, and with many being represented with several works. They include Mestres-Quadreny and others who only rarely appears in English or German language contexts and are, with name format as in the thesis and with numbers of quotations cited in brackets:
Adams S. (1) - Adan V. (1) - Ashley R. (1) - Balanyà J.M. (1) - Balcells E. (1) - Baschet F (1) - Basset C. (2) - Bergstrom-Nielsen C. (1) - Bernasconi S.G. (1) - Bouchourechliev A. (1) - Bourgeois L. (1) - Burtner M. (1) - Bussotti S. (1) - Cage J. (1) - Catalano J. (2) - Cleland A. (1) - Cooke R. (2) - Crumb G. (16) - Davorin-Jagodic M. (1) - Deleuze P. (1) - Demnitz D. (1) Sixties. - Ekimovsky V. (1) - Englert G. (1) - Finer. J. (1) - Gandhini (1) - Gregorio G. (1) - Gross S. (1) - Hamel P.M. (1) - Haubenstock-Ramati R.(2) - Hellerman W (1) - Hindemith P. (1) - Jeney Z. (1) - Kagel M. (1) - Kailelei T. (1) - Kayn R. (1) - Keebaugh R. (1) - Kirkpatrick R.J . (1) - Koellreutter H.J. (3) - Komorous R. (1) - Kriwet F. (1) - Kupkovic L. (1) - Kutavicius B. (2) - Labat J.Y. (1) - Laloum C. (1) - Legname O. (1) - Lidholm I. (1) - Logothetis A.(11) - Lombardi D. (5) - Loyato M. S. (1) - Marbble M. (1) - Martorell D. (2) - Maxwell K. (1) - Mayhew M. (1) - Mestres-Quadreny J.M. (5) - Muchmore P. (3) - Mullen-White E. (1) - Munari B. (1) - Nemescu. O. (4) - Oiiveros P. (2) - Olsson V. (1) - Papaloannou H. (1) - Perry F. (1) - Polonio E. y Santamaria R. (1) - Prates E. (1) - Rands B. (1) - Reichenbach D. (1) - Riley T. (1) - Roden S. (1) - Rossinyol J. (1) - Sardà A. (1) - Sauer Th. (4) - Schaeffer B. (3) - Schafer. M. (1) - Schidlowsky. L (5) - Schubach P. (1) - Semescu O. (1) - Sharp E. (3) - Smith B. (2) - Stockhausen K. (3). - Takemitsu T. (10) - Tanios Porto N. (1) - Tenney J. (1) - Toledo M. (3) - Top E. (1) - Torah R. (1) - Tsubonou K. (1) - Valcárcel E. (1) - Van der Waal A. (1) - Villa Raja J . (1) - Xenaquis I. (Xenakis) (1) - Zhukov S. (1)
(e1)/ Cox, Christopher: Every Sound You Can Imagine. Programme booklet for the exhibition at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2008. ISBN 978-1-933619-15-6. Also online at IIMA: http://www.intuitivemusic.dk/iima/cox_es.htm.
This short article brings to light some important aspects of the role of notation in Western music culture. "...notation is a relatively recent invention in the history of music, as is the distinction between composition and performance" the author states. However, he goes back to the Middle Ages to point out that the role of notation initially was that of a "Mnemonic aid...that became ever more necessary with the introduction of multiple melodic lines". In later history, the market replaced courtly patronage, and written music became the answer to the need of the market for exchangeable objects and commodities (with the invention of printing as an important step, I am tempted to add). Copyright legislation pushed this development further. Staff notation became an international standard but later went into a crisis after mechanical reproducing means were invented. Some composers began to employ new sounds that could not be notated in the old system, and new electronic instruments were invented. During the same period, jazz became a part of Western culture, in which the score was considered "a mere sketch, a springboard for creative improvisation". Some composers with classical background saw experimental notation as a springboard for improvisation; some jazz composers saw it as a means to avoid chaos and competetive behaviour. A number of experimental scores were written from the 1950s and on. From the 1990s and on, the popularization of electronic music production together with video production revived the interest in notational experiments on a cross-aesthetic basis.
(e1)/ Cox, Christoph: "Die Partitur fliessen lassen. Die Geschichte der musikalischen Notation und die Arbeit des Klangkunst-Kollektivs "Grúpat"". MusikTexte 125, Mai 2010, p.51-57.
Comments to works by the "Grúpat" group are preceded by a historical overview of the role of notation in Western music.
Scores are special for Western culture; globally, oral culture is the norm. In the middle ages notation was employed as a memory aid. With capitalism, the market became the place for sustaining musicians economically instead of wealthy maecenas, and the score became an object that could be sold. - In this way, Cox ironically remarks, the score assumed a reputation as the basis of music, in a manner comparable to philosophical assumptions stating that "essences" are more fundamental than "phenomenons". Improvisation in real time became suppressed because of this development. With the advent of electronic reproduction technologies, the role of the score was strongly challenged, and at the same time, many new sounds became possible for musical use, not just tones and their combinations. This being so, and with jazz having become part of Western culture, there was a fruitful climate for the discovery of indeterminacy, experimental music, graphic scores and improvisation. Earle Brown employed 'indeterminate notation strategies' in order to revive improvisation among classical musicians. Free jazz composers like Anthony Braxton and Wadada Leo Smith, however, used scores in order to avoid chaos and competetive behaviour - the author sees Zorn's game pieces in this context, too.
While these phenomena were typical of the 1950s and 60s, the next historical change came about, according to the author, in the nineties. Cheap and portable computer technologies and the internet made information more sharable, also between art forms. In this new context, the score becomes a means for coordination of events. Instead of the old notion of 'synaesthesia' one could speak of 'metapher' and an interest in combining contrasting sensory experiences.
Since long, non-traditional scores have challenged both the concept of the musical work and that of copyright. Cox sees this as typical of the Grúpat collective and describes a number of their works. He also thinks that the idea of "flow", which is typical of the most recent historical phase, has become a theme in the works here.
(e1)/ Dimpker, Christian: Extended Notation. The depiction of the unconventional. Zürich/Berlin (LIT Verlag), 2013.
This book is an updated version of the kind of catalogue books published by Stone (1980;E1), Risatti (1975;E1) and Cope (1976;E1). The author makes his aim explicit: it deals with nethods being "1.as exact as possible and 2. as simple as possible. Moreover, they may 3. not be contradictory to traditional notation, but should instead extend and be closely related to it. Finally ... they need to be... compatible with, and distinct from, all other signs of the system" (p.2). This approach means, for the author, that even proportional or optical notation (using space measured in centimeters instead of metrum) is excluded.
So this work is not aiming at a comprehensive view of new notations and understanding of their systems but confines itself to a listing of details that can be added to metric notation. Alas, we are still in need of such a systematic survey. In the meantime, one must still point to the last section of Karkoschka (1966;E1), to Gieseler (1975;H1), Brindle (1975/1986;H1), Maegaard (1964/1971;H1 - for those who read Danish), Sutherland (1994;H1). And, to the recent Sauer (2009;E1) at the time of writing. As well as, of course, to individually published works and various additional writings. PhD students searching for issues, go ahead!
On its 346 pages it covers, however, a wealth of alternative techniques, also vocal, electroacoustic and sound recording. As the author states p.2: "these criteria... remain subjective, and anyone who cannot accept them might not be satisfied with the results of this work. In such a case, other methods may, however, be derived from the presented suggestions and this work be used to study unconventional instrumental playing techniques and the elements of electroacoustic music".
(e1)/ Herndler, Christoph; Neuner, Florian (Hg): Der unfassbare Klang. Notationskonzepte heute. Wien (Klever), 2014.
The background for this compilation of articles is an exhibition and a symposium helt at Galerie Maerz in Linz, Austria, 2014 (see under category k).- Through a large part of the 270 pages of this book, composers present miscellaneous thoughts and glimpses from their works. Historical recapitulations are also stated in some cases. The focus on new notations and exactly how the composers use them is not always a very firm one. But in any case, the book provides names and notation examples, and additional related information in some cases, concerning a number of composers that seem to become visible precisely from the Austrian perspective. They are:
Heisig, Wolfgang; Ullmann, Jacob; Kuorliandski, Dmitri; Maierhof, Michael; Schmucki, Anette, Liberda, Bruno; Muenz, Harald (who works with screens in real time), Szlavnics, Chiyoku; Adamčiak, Milan; Peschek, Alfred; Ablinger, Peter; Lucier, Alvin (Memory Piece quoted in extenso), Klement, Katharina, besides Herndler, Christoph (see other entries about his works).
See also the review "Klänge notieren aber wie? Zum Sammelband "Der unfassbare Klang - Notationskonzepte heute"", MusikTexte 147, p.92, November 2015.
(e1)/ Herndler, Christoph: Bestimmte Unbestimmtheit. in: Herndler, Christoph; Neuner, Florian (Hg): Der unfassbare Klang. Notationskonzepte heute. Wien (Klever), 2014, 240-252.
The viewpoints already stated in Herndler (2011;g2.1) appear again here, with a number of aspects made clear with new, concise and thought-provoking formulations. For instance: "Analogous to the way in which the circumference of a circle may be described by means of a formula determining only relations, not the size of the circle, then one can imagine notations which rather determine sounding relations than sounds themselves" (p.243). There is also a pointing out that by means of such notations, we have now the opportunity to present the form of the composition much more clearly to the interpreter and others - the notation would speak about the form directly, unclouded by the filling out of details practised in traditional notation. In a certain respect this would be analogous to the way in which musical forms, for instance the fugue, were commonly known earlier. Such a notation would be analytical, and Herndler coins the word "notational graphics", to be distinguished from "musical graphics", "graphic notation", "graphic scores" and "musical graphics". The works "abgeschritten, der kreis" (2009) and "supermixen" (2003) are here, too, treated in details.
(e1)/ Kopp, Jan: "Vom Handlungssinn der Schrift. Die Erfahrung des Musikers als Gegenstand von Komposition". MusikTexte 125, Mai 2010, p.32-43.
The title of this article could be translated as "On the significance of action in music writing. The musicians' experience as the object of composition".
Starting-point of the discussion is two prominent historical instances of polemics about notation and performance respectively. The first is Dahlhaus' critique of Earl Brown's notion of 'action writing' which he finds regressive, seeing it as suggesting an escape from dealing with the work as an aesthetic object and with its structure. The other one is Adorno's critique of alleged, superficial "just play" attitudes.
This leads the author to proposing the thesis that a music work exists on three levels at the same time: those of abstract and formal structure, acoustic sound phenomena, and a sequence of physical actions. It is important, he implies, to consider the potentials of them all.
Next follow four analysis of music works. Karlheinz Stockhausen devised an open form for Klavierstück XI (1956) in order to create a new, more lively, kind of instrumental music, on the background of the fixed character of electronic music at that time and of what he called "radio listening", characterised by habitual listening expectations.
Morton Feldman attempted to introduce an irrational contrast element in the form of unspecified, non-standard intervals in "For John Cage" (1982) by using double accidentals. Klaus K. Hübler, in "Opus breve" (1987), details out playing actions using several systems or "parts". Thus the work structure is very much tied to the actions have been notated as polyphony, although there is a "listener-player-dilemma" in that these cannot be heard in their totality.
"zikaden" from Mathias Spahlinger: vorschläge (see (F1.1:1993) is notated with verbal means in few sentences. Yet it accounts for all three levels of the music work: structure, sound and actions. Moreover, through the commonly understandable medium of words (and, one might add, the short and concise character of the text), the "listener-player-dilemma" is to some extent solved, or bridged.
The author concludes that the idea of a "new instrumental music" (as Stockhausen sought for) needs yet to be more fully explored and developed. There is a discrepancy between listener's and musicians' points of view. Composers, on their side, tend to stick to their interest in the work as an aesthetic object, concentrating their efforts on structure and sound, neglecting the potential of action, including communicative behaviour.
Sticking to conventions of notation will not do justice to the manifold imaginable compositional intentions, neither to the expectation that new aesthetic contents and experiences are formulated in new music texts, says the author. To him, the analytical examples demonstrate that musical content and form of notation are intimately bound to each other.
To be sure, the situation to strive for ought not be narrowed down to "communal listening" (as Stockhausen also stated as an ideal), but could be called a "communal aesthetic practise".
(e1)/ Rebelo, Pedro: "Notating the unpredictable", Contemporary Music Review, 2010, 29:1, 17-27
After some reflections on notation as documentation, communication and medium of reflection, the author elaborates on the notion of notation as a production means or tool - one more synonym he uses is "generative environment". This is followed by quoting some of his own graphic works, and discussing the special situation arising when the score does not consist of fixed elements but can change during the performance.
(e1)/ Sauer, Theresa (ed): Notations 21, New York (Mark Batty Publishers), 2009. www.notations21.net
This anthology documents how the field of innovative non-traditional notations is strongly alive. Most of the notations quoted have been created after 2000, next comes the nineties, followed by the eighties, so there is no lack of proof of recent work being made. Cage (1969;A2.2) was the inspiration for this work - contemporary technique allows, however, for colours. Works, some of them entire ones, comments to works, short composers' biographies and articles providing personal thoughts by composers about the nature of their notations are included. Attempts at historical and systematical overview is not the focus here but the book might well inspire others to such endeavours (you may, in any case, consult Cox (2008:(E1)). A useful and inspiring collection for everyone interested and a must for libraries that have an interest in new music.
The following authors are represented (there are 165 authorships, that is, a few works have several authors): Victor Adan, Beth Anderson, Kerry John Andrews, Steve Antosca, Cecilia Arditto, Robert Ashley, Kevin Austin, Trevor Baca , Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, Steve Beck, Irene Becker , Cathy Berberiane, David Berezar, Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen , Philip Blackbourn, Benjamin Boretz, Sam Britton, Earle Brown, Herbert Brün, Ellen Burr, John Cage, Allison Cameron, Joe Catalano, Raven Chacon, Chris Chalfant, Jef Chippewa, Kyong Mee Choi, Henrik Colding-Jørgensen, Nick Collins, David Cope, Philip Corner, Brent Michael Davids, Tina Davidson, Mario Diaz de Leon and Jay King, Robert Denham, Halim El-Dabh, Robert Erickson, Pozzi Escot, Julio Estrada, Rajmil Fischman, Robert Fleischer, christopher cox, Bruce L.Friedman, Guillermo Galindo, Malcom Goldstein, Daniel Goode, Guillermo Gregorio, Barry Guy, Barbara Heller, Brian Heller, William Hellermann, Mara Helmuth, Sven Hermann, Christoph Herndler, Alan Hilario, Robin Hoffmann, Peter Hölscher, Tsai-yun Huang, Christoph Illing, Lynn Job, David Evan Jones, John Kannenberg, Suk-Jun Kim, Panayiotis Kokoras, Slavek Kwi, Joan la Barbera, JohnLane, Mark Langford, Hope Lee, Cheryl E. Leonard, Charlotte Lindvang, Anestis Logothetis, Bent Lorentzen, Martin Sebastian Loyato, Michael Maierhof, TYler Mains, Keerit Makan, Dan Marmorstein, Dimitris Maronidis, Tony Martin, Kate Maxwell, Cilla McQueen, Rajesh Menta, Ann Millikan, René Mogensen, Stephen Montague, Robert Morris, Gordon Mumma, Gaël Navard, Phill Niblock, Gary Noland, Makoto Nomura, Eoin O'Keefe, Pauline Oliveros, Vagn E. Olsson, Paul Paccione, Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri, Brice Pauset, Tommase Perego, Joe Pignato, Jonathan Pitkin, Samuel Pluta, Larry Polansky, Alwynne Pritchard, Anthony J.Ptak, Takyuki Rai, Randy Raine-Reusch, Jon Raskin, Henrik Ehland Rasmussen, Herman Rechberger, Will Redman, Wendy Reid, Steve Roden, Dirk Rodney, Keren Rosenbaum, David Rosenboom, Marina Rosenfeld, Daniel Rothman, Theresa Sauer, R.Murray Schafer, León Shidlowsky, Catherine Schieve, Daniel Schnee, Brian Schorn, Barry Schrader, Phillip Schulze, Michael J.Schmacher, Eliott Sharp, Marilyn Shrude, Stuart Saunders Smith, Juan Maria Solare, Mathias Spahlinger, Jack W. Stamps, John Stead, Norbert Stein, Hans-Christoph Steiner, Peter Sterk, Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Stump, Chiyoko Szlavnics, Yuji Takahasi, Justinian Tamusuza, John Tchicai, James Tenney, Voya Toncitch, Laura Toxvaerd, Jeffrey Treviño, Andrea Valle, J.Simon van der Walt, Ivan Vincze, Stephen Vitello, Doublas C. Wadle, Jennifer Walshe, Clive Wilkinson, Michael Winter, René Wohlhauser, Ge-Suk Yeo, David Young, Katherine Young and Jonathan Zorn, Judith Lang Zaimont, Edson Zampronha, Peter Zombola, Jonathan Zorn , Richard Carlyon, Philip and Gayle Neuman, Morgan O'Hara.
(e1)/ Solare, Juan Maria: "Notación: fetichismo e iconoclasia" (Necesidad y relatividad de la partitura) (2008). In Spanish. L'Orfeo (México) Nr. 1 (Octubre de 2008) (http://www.lorfeo.org/01Oct/html/invitada.htm). Also at International Improvised Music Archive: http://www.intuitivemusic.dk/iima/jms_nfi.htm
The article discusses a variety of general aspects around notation, including relations between written and oral procedures in conveying musical ideas. Both the practical effectiveness of the score (in some cases) and the directness of oral procedures, as well of recordings, video etc. (in some cases) are taken into account. A number of new ways of notation have the purpose of inspiring musicians, leaving decisions to be made independently. But they too depend on the pre-existing idea of notation. - To understand the full perspective involved in musical communication, one has to recognize that both written functionality and an oral one (in the expanded sense) are involved.
E2. NOTATION, SPECIFIC THEMES
See also: Bergstroem-Nielsen (2017;G2.1) - Blair (2019;A4).
(e2)/ Anderson, Virginia: “Well, It's a Vertebrate …”: Performer Choice in Cardew's Treatise', Journal of Musicological Research, 25: 3, 291 — 317, 2006. DOI: 10.1080/01411890600840578 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01411890600840578
The relation between Cardew's work as an assistant for Stockhausen and his own ideas for Treatise are examined here, on the basis of Cardew's own accounts of this. Treatise was, at least partially, born out of a reaction against the strictness of Stockhausens' Plus-Minus, felt by Cardew and some fellow players. Also receiving detailed examination are the performances of the work during Cardew's lifetime, using Treatise Handbook [see under e2 in the 1945-2000 section] which has a detailed list, but also original material from author's own contacts with involved persons. Various additional info is given - for instance that Treatise Handbook was written in response to a plea from the publishers (although no source for this is referred) - and that the compositions included in Treatise Handbook are realisations of pieces from Treatise. Also receiving detailed attention is the process which lead Cardew to abandon any explanations, away from his original intention to provide a set of symbols with comments.
(e2)/ Buj corral, Marina: El pentagrama desde la mirada gráfica: propuestas en la notación contemporánea. Poster presentation from VI International Congress Synesthesia, Science and Art, Alcalá la Real (ESP), 18-21 de mayo 2018. www.intuitivemusic.dk/iima/mb.htm This short poster presentation deals with how traditional staff notation may be treated creatively in a context of free graphic scores. It could be an inspiration for further creative reflection and creation. Illustrations from scores by Luening, O., Bussotti, S., Raine-Reusch, R., Austin, L., Brown, E., Gandini, G., Cage, J, Nomura, M., Crumb, G, Cooke, R. (e2)/ Buj Corral, Marina: Sinestesias en la notación gráfica: lenguajes visuales para la representación del sonido. Cuadernos de Música, Artes Visuales y Artes Escénicas 14 (1): 45-64. Downloaded 17.January 2019 from http://doi.org/10.11144/javeriana.mavae14-1.seln
Comments examples of scores employing visual languages of comics, collage, sculpture, video and film, photography and drawing. Authors cited are Berberian, Moran, Schidlowsky, William Hellerman, eugènia Balcells, Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, Fred Frith, Perejaume, Randy Raine-Reusch, Kerry John Andrews.
(e2)/ Hutchkins, Charles Céleste (2016): "Temporality, Structure, Symbols, and the Social: Graphic Notation as Process" in: Redhead, Lauren and Hawes, Vanessa (ed.): Music and/as Process (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 136-155.
A simple classification umbrella is unfolded over graphic notations: those with "lifeline" and "Gestalt scores". An additional point is made about symbols and their interpretation as abstractions from the resemblances of well-known shapes.
"Lifeline" is derived from the discourse around Cardew's Treatise and is used more or less synonymously with time-line and left-to-right reading - but it does not have to have exact unit indications. "Gestalt scores" are on single pages and allow the eye to wander freely. Scores with images in boxes use a technique known from comic strips: boxes progress in time, but within them, there is independence from detailed sequencing. And thus is may make sense, as featured in one the examples by Mark Applebaum, to have lines acting as lifelines, but bending back also. Members of the choir "Vocal Constructivists", in which the author participates, had a particular enjoyment of this paradoxical feature. Another interesting observation is that the shape of boxes may influence the interpretation of their content greaty, even if content is the same.
Along the way examples by Cardew, Mark Applebaum, Anthony Braxton, Redhead and the author himself are presented and discussed. Also discussed are works by Boguslaw Schaeffer and Earle Brown's December 52.
(e2)/ Jahn, Hans-Peter: "Zur Qualität des Gedächtnisverlusts. Fesseln der Notation", MusikTexte 109, Mai, 2006.
One of the papers from the Notation Congress Berlin December 2005. The author makes the statement that playing from traditional notation presupposes loss of memory. This action sets the musician free to give shape to the music. Also many small free spaces appear, from one note to the next, creating "paradises of freedom". This is contrasted with the situation of improvising and its "sloppy regulations" (p.21). That which is notated is compared to a crash barrier on a motorway, whereas the music consists of all that which is not notated. This is contrasted to the situation of improvisation: "In improvisation there are no such crash barriers. There are only agreements and random happy moments of a musical logic, as well as the randomness of collectively composed cogency", p.21.
This is an interesting contribution to comparatively discussing characteristics of improvisation and composition, because the author sets forth a coherent view of what is the interpreter's co-creating role when playing from traditional notation. At the same time, there is analysis enough of elements of improvisation to yield substance to his discussion. An additional delight is the extraordinarily brilliant rhetorics.
One possible critical question to this article could be concerned with how small the free spaces have to be according to the author in order to be interesting? When do they cease to be "paradises" and instead become "sloppy"? This question seems important because so many experimental notations devise free spaces of many sizes, often bigger than traditional note-to-note ones while still maintaning something seemingly comparable to the "crash barrier" mentioned in the article - you may for instance think of Earle Brown, as well as of many others.
(e2)/ Lock, Graham: "What I Call a Sound": Anthony Braxton's Synaesthetic Ideal and Notations for Improvisers, in: Critical Studies in Improvisation (www.criticalimprov.com) vol.4, 2008.
Unfortunately, none of Anthony Braxtons' compositions are still published in writing, even though a large text (Heffley (1996;C2) comments them extensively, however without going very much into the notation. Through this text one can gain a little more insight into various signs he employs, which in many cases differ widely from one work to another.
(e2)/ Lukoszevieze, Anton: "Die Welt als Musik durchwandern. Der US-amerikanische Komponist Philip Corner", MusikTexte 99, Dezember, 2003.
Comments on graphic and verbal music works with several examples. P.C. got additional inspiration for his work with graphic notations during a stay in Korea.
(e2)/ Möller, Torsten: "Im Zeichen der Konsolidierung. Der Berliner Notationskongress 2005 - Notation zwischen Norm und Excess", MusikTExte 108, p.80,, 2006.
The author reports from a notation congress having a narrow focus centered on traditional notation and analyzes how this perspective might be widened out.
(e2)/ Möller, Torsten - Shim, Kunsu - Stäbler, Gerhard: SoundVisions, Saarbrücken (Pfau) 2005.
An inspiration for this book was the very classic book Notations, compiled by John Cage (a2.2 1969). And in one of several introductory articles preceding this collection of notation samples, Paul Attivello deplores that new notations of the Darmstadt generations were put aside by more conservative notation trends. Composers like Sylvano Bussotti, Aldo Clementi, Franco Evangelisti, Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, Mauricio Kagel, Anestis Logothetis and Dieter Schnebel deserved more attention according to this author. But despite these statements, this book contains mostly music notated in the standard way, sometimes with sketches being more interesting than final results when seen from a visual aesthetic point of view. Some exceptions, besides realisation scores from electronic music, are instances of innovative notations by Anton Lukoszevieze born 1956 (free graphic notation), Alwynne Pritchard born 1968 (mobile), Yuji Takahashi born 1938 (free graphic notation), as well as use of optical notation by Vykintas Baltakas born 1972, Aldo Clementi born 1927 and a complete sound poem by Josef Anton Riedl born 1927.
There is no accounting for the criteria of selection of composers. As a catalogue of contemporary music quite generally this book could serve as a reference work or as a work for browsing through, with its inclusion of 153 living composers and biographical notes of each one. All editorial texts are in both English and German, and texts accompanying the composition samples are in English. But the reader seeking information about innovative notations is likely to be disappointed. See Sauer (2009;(E1)) for a very different collection!
(e2)/ Redhead, Lauren (2016): "Notation as Process: Interpretation of Open Scores and the 'Journey Form' " in: Redhead, Lauren and Hawes, Vanessa (ed.): Music and/as Process (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 116-135.
Discusses solo performance experiences as an organist with recent open works by Scott McLaughlin (Music in Two Dimensions No.2, quoted in extenso) as well as by Adam Fergler and Caroline Lucas (excerpts quoted). Philosophically she underlines the "work-as-process" character of open works, referring to Hegel, Ingarden, Bourriaud and Foucault and others. Readers are advised to supplement this part, if desired, with the classic and influential text Eco (1962;G3).
(e2)/ Steinbeck, Paul: The Art Ensemble of Chicago’s ‘Get in Line’: Politics, Theatre, and Play. Twentieth-century music 10/1, Cambridge University Press, 2013
Amidst other analytical matters outside the scope of this bibliography, glimpses are revealed of some notation details p.10ff. They consist simply of a triangle as a symbol of "improvisation" and very short descriptions of theatrical action - and lines between them describing what is supposed to lead to what.
(e2)/ Sørensen, Søren Møller: "Partituret lyver". Interview med Juliana Hodkinson. Autograf vol. 9/2, april 2000.
Interview with composer Juliana Hodkinson who makes performance practise an issue of experimentation in her compositions. This may lead to abandoning traditional forms of composers' control, such as conduction or a metrically defined tempo. She states her interest in the playing process in its own right despite seeming "imperfections" compared to the score. She also states a comparison with Japanese writing and spoken language in order to make clear how written/spoken forms do not simply mirror each other.
e2/ Trescher, Margret: "Cornelius Cardews "Treatise" und die Gruppe AMM", MusikTexte 86/87, November, 2000. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed as a special exception.
(e2)/ Wilson, Peter Niklas: "Die weisse Leinwand. Notitzen zum Verhältnis von Bildender Kunst und improvisierte Musik" in: MusikTexte 100, Februar, 2004.
Deals among other things with action painting, giving ´inspiration to improvisors Phil Minton and Keith Rowe and with graphc scores, dealing with Cardew: Treatise as a prime example
(e2)/ Woolman, Mat: Sonic Graphics. Seeing sound, London (Thames and Hudson) 2000.
Deals with several kinds of visual design related to sound, among others CD covers. Music notation is touched upon in one chapter, quoting Paolo Motta and text compositions (with layout) by Stephen Montague (probably previously unpublished pieces in both cases).
F. COLLECTIONS OF EXERCISES, WRITINGS AND MUSIC WORKS FOR EDUCATIONAL USE
F1.1 COLLECTIONS OF EXERCISES AND RELATED WRITINGS
(f1.1)/ See also: Bergstroem-Nielsen (2007;G3); Rüdiger et al (2004;F2); Christensen (2010;F2); ringgespräch (2002;G2.1); Rieger (2011;G2.1); Adrian (2012;F2); Duch et al (2015;G2.1); Corbett (2016; F2); Schwabe (2017;G2.1).
(f1.1)/ Agrell, Jeffrey: Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians. 500+ non jazz games for performers, educators and everyone else, Chicago (GIA Publications) 2008.
The notion of game within improvised music has established itself during recent decades. Also often called "exercises" or maybe "pieces", the genre in question here concerns propositions of ideas/guidelines/rules for getting started, or for advanced explorations of possibilities. This collection was explicitly made for classical musicians, and tempo, meter, scales, motivic development and ABA as well as other classic form schemes are frequently referred to, however along with other dimensions of timbre, dynamics and polyphonic texture, for instance. Improvisation being perhaps more common in experimental than in classical music (except with organists), this book seems to fill a large gap. And if "classical" musicians became more interested in improvisation, perhaps the gap between "classical" and "experimental" would shrink or become more bridged.
The book is a creative explosion coming from an author who played the French Horn in a symphony orchestra for a quarter century without ever improvising on it. But in his second career as a horn professor at the University of Iowa, he turned to exploring how to use the instrument in improvisation.
The collection is very extensive as the number of games, 500+, mentioned in the subtitle already suggests. And so is the build up of different chapters and sections.
Even the introduction is multi layered. After the starting section, "why improvise", a number of sections follow with advice to specified target groups. Then come ideas on principles and elements of training.
The main part of the book starts out with general reflections and advice relating to the games. Then comes chapters with "Quick start improvisation game favourites" with sections devoted to solo or different numbers of players. Next two hundred pages describe twenty four additional categories of games. Each category comes with a small informative introduction, and they are in total: warm up games, rhythm games, accent games, dynamics games, melody games, form games, harmony games, bass line games, aural games, nontraditional score games, conducting games, energy/mood games, texture games, timbre games, composition games, depiction games, technique games, accompaniment games, style games, text games, storytelling games, miscellaneous games, improv set ups and extended combination games.
To round up, there is a third part with "Ressources", providing various lists of musical materials and dimensions, a section on composition for improvisors, and more. And yes, the games are then indexed, not just in one list in alphabetical order, but in various ways by chapter and number of players four indices in all.
As mentioned, the main focus of this collection is "classical", but experimentally oriented improvisors and composers may pick up a lot of good ideas too. The same goes for jazz players who will have less immediate reservation to block forms etc. Whether classical or nor, music has many dimensions, and such things as nontraditional scores, texture, timbre and more is also dealt with here. In this context could also be mentioned a category like "depiction games" which does not designate directly which musical elements to use.
In my own experimental improvisation context, traditionally sounding material may also occur, be it in an encounter with different musicians or resulting from collective invention. Agrell's suggestions could inspire me to reach beyond stereotypes here. For instance, he mentions several times the "Oom Pah" march character which so often will turn up working with beginners and occasionally also later on and gives ideas how to sophisticate it and go beyond this cliché.
"Conducting games" encourages people's own creative use of conducted improvisation which looks like a healthy thing. This phenomenon became known from the pioneers Butch Morris and Walter Thompson (reference is made to the latter in this book), and use of their specific systems is not the only possible way to practise conduction.
Here are some samples:
OOM PAH MARCH
Two players. One player plays an oom pah rhythm on steps one and five on beats one and three of a measure in cut time. Player Two improvises a march over this accompaniment. Try different kinds of marches: slow, fast, quirky, and/or minor.
Give the oom pah more interesting rhythms, such as the 3 + 3 + 2 clave or other Latin rhythms.
Have the bass descend on scale steps 1 7 6 5 (in C: C B A G).
Two to four players. Player One makes flamboyant doodles on a piece of paper, then Player Two adds to the drawing. Take one minute or less in total. Next both play the piece, giving it an evocative title such as "The Mysterious Life of a Humpback Whale" or "My New Shoes Are Too Small."
Repeat with three players, using "Revenge of the Bacteria" as the title.
Repeat with four players, using "Cobras, Pythons, and Me" as the title.
Repeat all with new titles.
This is hardly a book one can "read through", rather a pool of ideas to return to for inspiration again and again. A weighty contribution to the field of "improvisation exercise collections" (category F1.1 in this bibliographic system), a tour de force as to systematic mapping of a universe of games, and a must-have for so many libraries at music departments at colleges, universitites etc.
(f1.1/) Agrell, Jeffrey: Improv Games for One Player. A very concise collection of musical games for one classical musician. Chicago (GIA Publications), 2010.
This little book consists partly of a selection of exercises/games from Agrell (f1.1;2008), partly of new ones. Whereas the other one is very comprehensive and has extensive indexing facilities and advice sections, this was made deliberately of a small size in order to "fit comfortably into the average musician's instrument case", according to the introduction.
(f1.1/) Agrell, Jeffrey: Improv Duets for Classical Musicians. A Concise Collection of Musical Games for Two Players. Chicago (GIA Publications), 2010.
Exercises, using Agrell (F1.1; 2008), but also new ones.
(f1.1/) Agrell, Jeffrey and Strohschein, Aura: Creative Pedagogy for Piano Teachers. Using Musical Games and Aural Pedagogy Techniques as a Dynamic Supplement for Teaching Piano. Chicago (GIA Publications), 2013A.
Exercises, using Agrell (F1.1; 2008), but also new ones.
(f1.1/) Agrell, Jeffrey: Improvised Chamber Music. Spontaneous Chamber Music Games for Four (or Three or Five) Players. Chicago (GIA Publications), 2013B.
Exercises, using Agrell (F1.1; 2008), but also new ones. (f1.1)/ Agrell, Jeffrey: Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians Volume 2. 642 Non-jazz games for Performers, Educators and everyone else, Chicago (GIA Publications) 2016. (f1.1)/ Agrell, Jeffrey: Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians Volume 2. 642 Non-jazz games for Performers, Educators and everyone else, Chicago (GIA Publications) 2016. A direct continuation of the previous volume with even more suggestions of playful games, pieces, exercises in improvisation. Please see the text in this bibliography on the first volume Agrell (f1.1; 2008)- on how contents are structured, on what is "classical musicians" and some thoughts on the significance of these endeavours to refresh the understanding of classical music. The scope goes again from how to practise scales and arpeggios in new and challenging ways to working with advanced structural aspects.
(f1.1)/ Agrell, Jeffrey: Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians Volume 2. 642 Non-jazz games for Performers, Educators and everyone else, Chicago (GIA Publications) 2016.
A direct continuation of the previous volume with even more suggestions of playful games, pieces, exercises in improvisation. Please see the text in this bibliography on the first volume Agrell (f1.1; 2008)- on how contents are structured, on what is "classical musicians" and some thoughts on the significance of these endeavours to refresh the understanding of classical music. The scope goes again from how to practise scales and arpeggios in new and challenging ways to working with advanced structural aspects.
Here is one example of the latter from Movement Games, "Movement Variations" which may make players more conscious of how the common density varies or not: "... Players stand in a big circle with instruments. Taking care to be silent about one-third of the time, players move slowly while playing in towars the center of circle and back out to the periphery at random. As they move inward, they increase the density of notes played as well as volume. The farther out they are, the softer and fewer are the notes they play..." (p.270).
New in this volume is a short chapter on "marketing" - both concerning students and how to get it into music curriculums. Currently (time of writing is 2016) improvisation is spreading out (also in non-jazz forms) in Western higher music education, which strongly seems to be a background for the feasibility of publishing this second volume. On the other hand, we are just at the beginnings, and thoughts on how to meet possible skeptic students' or committee's attitudes may be appropriate.
New game categories are Audience Games (or Audience Involvement Games) and Movement Games. The former may employ simple forms of conducting with gestures or use of pre-made instructive cards to hold up. The latter may explore relations between gestures or other movements and the music.
A must-have for libraries which should make sure they have the first volume too with its many introductory texts.
(f1.1)/ Ausländer, Peter: Experimentelles Musik- und Tanztheater in der schulmusikalischen Praxis und in der kulturellen Jugendarbeit, Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Spiel und Theater NRW e.V, Vlotho 1997.
Includes a printing of the open composition PLAY III by Johannes Fritsch.
f1.1/ Bergstrøm-Nielsen, Carl: Intuitive Music - a Mini-Handbook. New online edition 2009ff here.
Handbook for people who wish to play or teach freely improvised music and improvisation pieces. With sections on how to start with different types of groups, training of musical awareness, parameters of the musical sound, the history of improvised music and a bibliography.
(f1.1)/ Bergstroem-Nielsen, Carl: The methodology of Godfried-Willem Raes' improvisation teaching at conservatory of Gent, Belgium - revisited. https://intuitivemusic.dk/iima/gwr_m.pdf
A 2020 revised version of an earlier article from 1998. The teaching in question began at an early time of the spreading among European conservatories of such teaching. Based on interviews and later attendance of a workshop, the article describes general circumstances and views, a theoretical background in the affect theory of Manfred Clynes which connect affects to motoric patterns. This, then, becomes a basis for his concept of music rhetorics aiming at making clear statements. Another special feature is "sociometric analysis": the placement of participants in the room are marked out on a piece of paper by an observer, and arrows between the players in question are drawn each time there is an initiative from one player and a following from one or more players.
(f1.1)/ Eikmeier, Corinna: Ungewohnte Positionen. Ein praktischer Beitrag zur Anwendung der Feldenkrais-Methode in der musikalischen Improvisation. Fernwald (Musikverlag Burkhard Muth), 2010. An exercise collection of Feldenkrais techniques. See Eikmeier (2016A;F2) for more description.
(f1.1)/ Hansen, Niels Chr.: Different Approaches to an Improvisational Practise based on the Piano Music of Toru Takemitsu". JMM, Journal of Music and Meaning vol.6, 2008, http://www.musicandmeaning.net/ With audio samples.
This project aims at establishing an improvisational practice for pianists based on the piano music of the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu.
Through musical analysis of Takemitsu’s music we seek to point at different compositional practices that can be converted into concrete, pedagogical exercises to be used for teaching in improvisation. Some of the improvisational guidelines are then combined into a complete piece of music, which is subsequently evaluated and used as a basis for a discussion of the further perspectives of the project.
The practical experience so far suggests that this method can be used for:
* encouraging an improvisational approach to interpreting music,
* countering the fear of improvisation among the performers of classical music,
* strengthening the understanding of contemporary music,
* disseminating the knowledge of traditional Japanese music
— and last but not least the project implies the possibilities of creating an artistic musical product in itself.
(f1.1)/ Hall, Tom: Free Improvisation. A practical guide. Boston (Bee Boy Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-615-38862-1. www.freeimprovisation.com .
Some improvisors make soundscapes with many ever changing details, others use pulse and ostinatos. This collection of 124 exercises wanders between both approaches - roughly every other section makes a shift. Thus, the first one, "Beginning Exercises" starts out with sounds on a pulse and variations of this - a bit later some exercises also abandon the pulse, then we return to building up grooves from individual ostinatos. But "mirroring" and "ending" exercises which follow apply to any kind of improvisation. Next section features "Duets. The Art of Relationship" which is entirely about the players' free choices of music sounds, focusing awareness in different so as to make choices more conscious. Next section again is "Advanced Groove Exercises", etc. With its slight priority given to the pulse and groove-approach, the book could be compared to Stevens (f1.1; 1985), but is far more comprehensive. However, there are plenty of ideas for the other approach as well throughout. In such a pluralistic encompassing of the two approaches, there is both conflict potential and integrative potential. Perhaps the following statement takes account of this ("Tip", p. 31): "If you want to improvise in any other manner besides stream of consciousness, it is essential to be aware of the choices being made. Without a group awareness of these choices it's difficult to develop them, improvise with them, or refer back to them...".
The author has a strong sense of what musicians' awareness and focusing can do. Thus, for one example, the "Ending" exercises already mentioned work with uncovering "potential endings", the simplest form being to focus on that and stopping at the first one. Additional variants ("steps") involve several "endings" within one piece (must be general pauses...) and more choices. Also, the relationship aspects is the theme of many good proposals (other words for this could be group-dynamic or social aspects). "Duets. The Art of Relationship" were mentioned above. "Groups within the Group" is another essential aspect of free improvisation that deserves attention and certainly gets it in the eight exercises under this heading. They suggest, among other things, that smaller groups or solos simply occur during the improvisation without fixing when it will be.
The view of possible musical material in the book is a broad one taken in a pluralist sense, as suggested earlier when discussing the two different approaches to improvisation. It is good to have mention of such dimensions as "Creating Space - Playing Silence" and "Musical Parameters", but these are short and could invite so many further ideas. Likewise, a chapter of seven pages deals with "Textures", from the point of view of handling and repeating them, not with how actually to invent them. How to magine and combine individual sounds into textures, how to use instruments in interesting ways, etc. could be a theme of further explorations.
This work is nevertheless the exercise collection coming closest to my own one, Bergstroem-Nielsen ((f1.1); 2009ff) in its design and scope till now. It describes probably the differences between us that I would have put his Chapter Twelve, "Tasting Shapes", at the very beginning. This is about stimulating the playing fantasy by, among other, visual and verbnal means. Regardless, this book can be very useful to a wide field of improvisors and educational contexts.
To give a more detailed impression of the subject matters, here is a list of the chapters' titles - after some introductory texts aiming at encouraging beginners and at characterising the free playing way - : Beginning Exercises - Duets: The Art of Relationship - Advanced Groove Exercises - Textures - Creating Space - Playing Silence - Groups Within the Group - Melody and Accompaniment - Musical Parameters - Tasting Shapes - Combining Exercises - Warm-ups - Solo Exercises. An index of exercises can be found at the end.
(f1.1)/ Lewis, George: "Teaching improvised music: an ethnographic memoir" in Zorn, John (ed.): Musicians on music. New York (Granary Books/Hips Road), 2000. ISBN 1-887123-27-x
This article reveals details about George Lewis' pioneering work with introducing improvisation courses in higher education as a professor since 1991 at UCSD (University of California San Diego). Descriptions of this are preceeded by a discussion about the use of fixed licks in jazz contra more process-oriented approaches. Also by accounting for his own background experiences, among other places in AACM. A community-based pedagogical nurturing of beginners was characteristic. So was also "pre-concert meetings" during which the concert programme was discussed and decided upon by the collective.
Dealing with the founding of a new academic field of study around improvisation, details and names are mentioned. A wide selection of "post-colonial" and "post-modern" areas of interest, including feminist musicology and queer theory. Names of collaborators include Professor Jann Pasler, ethonomusicologist Margaret Dilly, European music historician Jane Stevens (x). Also European authors writing about music were seen as relevent, including Globokar, Prèvost, Peter Niklas Wilson, Fr. Rzewski, Wolfram Knauer, Ekkehard Jost. finally, a short list of other institutions that also incorporated experimental improvised music into their programmes is given: California Institute of the Arts (among others Wadada Leo Smith), University of California at Irvine (James Newton), Mills College (Chris Brown, Glenn Spearman). Since the normal atmosphere in music training was one of competition, improvisation demanding personal involvement rather than dealing with comparable skills could feel new and confusing to students.
"Music 133" was a mandatory undergraduate course held 1995-96. Students were to develop their own creative practise, both solo and in ensembles. Listening to recorded examples was important - a large list of both American and European improvisors is stated. Also the study of first-hand accounts in text form by improvisors was considered essential. For a "midterm examination", a tape with a solo, accompanied by a written comment was required. Some students received the distinction of being on a concert programme. The final examination implied playing as a member of two ensembles - and, not least, writing a "process journal" the judging criteria of which was "throughness of engagement". Over three pages, the author quotes from such journals and comments on them - topics may concern both methodological / musical issues related to practising and its developmental work as well as to challenges related to appear as a performer and those stemming from negative attitudes on the side of fellow students. This is interesting reading for teachers of free improvisation. He concludes with considering possible basic structural problems in this teaching and by emphasising the importance of musicians reflecting on and documenting their work in text form.
(x) In his keynote lecture at vs. Interpretation Festival Prague, July 17 2014, Dana Reason and one more person was mentioned as those who founded the discipline of Critical Studies, as well as the year 1990.
(f1.1)/ Mäder, Urban; Baumann, Christoph; Meyer, Thomas (2013): Freie Improvisation – Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Vermittlung. Part of a series: Forschungsbericht der Hochschule Luzern – Musik 5. Electronic document. Downloaded 12.November 2018 from https://zenodo.org/record/31339/files/2013_5_Maeder-Baumann-Meyer.pdf
English translation of the "Ansagen" list here: www.intuitivemusic.dk/iima/metalt.htm
A report from free improvisation teaching at the Conservatory of Luzern, Switzerland. When writing this text, it is taught as a specialised main study direction (requiring also a main instrument) within the Bachelor of Arts degree programme, and also to other students at shorter courses. According to the authors, free improvisation (not to be confused with other kinds of improvisation teaching also practised) was taught at this conservatory since 1989. However, it developed and grew through intensive collaboration with Internationale Tagung für Improvisation during the nineties. This was a large congress and festival organised by the musicians' organisation Musikerkooperative Schweiz and realised in cooperation with the Conservatory. Presently six teachers are employed as appears from the last appendix - the two first authors of this book are pioneers who were active during the building years, the third a Swiss music journalist. The discipline is group improvisation, and there is no mention of solo.
The book is an investigation of didactic concepts and ideas and can also be used as a practical manual by virtue of the exercise material and the concise descriptions from the six teachers of their design of a first lesson in free improvisation.
A number of general musical notions are relatively briefly reviewed - historic developments within classical avantgarde and jazz, material, form, parameters, the role of practising and more. This serves as a basic springboard for defining formal goals of learning, such as these are to be made explicit in terms of musical abilities and personal competencies for the official curriculum description, and also to make goals clear for students and for the teachers' evaluation. Criteria concerning what is "good enough" and, implicitly, can pass in an examination context, are included in the discussions. Such a pompous notion as "aesthetic maturity" is an example. It is conceded that this theme is "comprehensive", and it is finally circumscribed like this "... the following thesis may be valid: the more experience one has with improvisation and the higher the level of aesthetic maturity with the totality of participants, the higher becomes the common understanding during the interactive musical creation process" (p.32). For another pompous concept, "criteria of musical quality", a long checklist is proposed as an aid in asserting (p.40-41).
This working out of concepts is certainly of interest to all those colleagues at other educational institutions who are about to apply free improvisation as a new discipline.
However, the expertise of the authors seem to be especially manifested in the discussions of didactics. There are observations concerning how students' view of musical material change when they get increasingly used to improvising non-tonally: "The working in free group improvisation steers clearly towards the goal of putting dynamics, articulation and timbre into the foreground. Experience shows that musical communication broadens through this reversal of the hierachy... contact with each other becomes more immediate" (p.32). A special and important theme is "reflection aspects" (Reflexionsaspekte) discussed p.31ff. The German philosophical tradition seems to benefit an expanded know-how about analysing and learning from what you have done. Social and musical aspects; chance versus precision, hierachy of attention (concerning musical parameters), aesthetic maturity (see also above), individual preferences and "archtypical" (meaning very general habitual ways of music) are headings of this section.
And the enquiry goes even further to candidly list and discuss a large number of problems typically encountered in the teaching. Just a few examples are: "
: unexperienced students do not perceive the shape, the effect and the development potential of the material presented in the beginning and will hardly take developmental expectations into account" (p.35). " : The larger the amount of noise found in the material played, the lesser meaning is assigned to it" (p.35). And one more: " : Often, a beginner's group has problems with finding a common, plausible ending. This is because they quickly forget what happened and because of the corresponding weak orientation when seeking forward... the end ...drags out very long or it becomes fragmented" (p.35). General problems also known outside education...
The second aspect of the book is the materials one can use practically. "Materialzirkel" (p.44f) presents a limited number of essential exercises and other ways of working aiming at heightening concsiousness of the material. In the appendix p.63f there is an innovative list, "Ansagen". This word might be translated into "Suggestions" or "Hints". Seemingly belonging in an informal place, they are such little advices like "try to listen as if you were outside the group and heard the totality" or "play according to your impulse and attempt to quickly understand what this impulse might lead to". There are twenty-six in all, divided into these categories: "for becoming conscious", "for listening", "for deciding whether to play or not to play", and "for common form creation". Categories are cutting into essential problems, and isolating this as a didactical genre is a thing of great merit. As known from practise, everything said about the playing before playing again, even if the context is ever so fleeting, will influence the musicians. This list is pure gold dust - it makes great sense to describe such tiny advices in their own right. They do go beyond a simple "Let's play again", they suggest a focus of attention but are yet not to be called "exercises".
A list of exercises also appears. Strangely, after seeing how much care has been given to developing understanding of material and going beyond tonal habits, it weighs heavily the traditional hierachy of parameters and dimensions. For instance, there are only six ones concerning timbre, and the use of other material than pure tones is not even mentioned. Perhaps this list has been pasted in from a context not dealing with free improvisation.
Instead, enjoy the exercises presented earlier in "Materialzirkel" - and, not least, in the six short accounts of how a first lesson could be done. They articulate very well thoughts and techniques. And generally they emphasise a learning atmosphere in which teachers take ample time to let discussions and music develop on their own account and employ an absolute minimum of directiveness - even if, as we have seen, keen reflection lies behind.
(f1.1)/ Mäder, Urban; Meyer, Thomas; Unternährer, Marc: Vermittlung freier Improvisation. Ein Kompendium. Hofheim (Wolke Verlag), 2019.
This must be the most comprehensive collection of free improvisation training exercises till now (2020). It comes from the conservatory of Luzern where the authors Mäder and Unternährer are teachers and at which place (in collaboration with Basel conservatory) students have the advanced option of taking both bachelor and masters' degrees in free improvisation, even if they also think the subject can also work excellently as a secondary one in a number of music educations.
First chapter introduces the overall working method: "play - listen - discuss - play" (p.26) and discusses some general issues. One of these is how to judge the quality of improvisations. Here, as throughout the book, authors speak from their extensive teaching experience with striking critical remarks. Improvisations may be characterised according to a model including a triangle of notions that include autenthicity, original ideas and craft. Ideally they should be in balance. However, if for instance authenticity is lacking, then the musical expression becomes "impersonal and academic". If, on the other hand, it is over-emphasised, then "playing becomes narcissistic and excessively focused on mood, self-experience and self-absorption" (p.25).
In addition to what can be understood from the "play - listen - discuss - play" cycle, what could be called "short suggestions" play a major role (German: Ansagen). These are a sentence or a few describing a special focus, but being open for the improvised process. A few examples: "Listen to the space where you are" (p.39), or "Try to identify a musical process and anticipate its continuation" (p.43). These "short suggestions" possess a special congruence to the oral culture surrounding free improvisation, in their shortness that can be easily remembered. They are a kind of exercises; however, there is another category of working tools for the teacher called "exercises" (Übungen) which are more similar to what we normally understand as such. They are generally more elaborately described and fix the musical content more. As a possible third category, "Konzepte" are mentioned. This is a special German word for open form composed pieces, for instance graphic or verbal scores. They may according to the authors be used but with caution, since focus of the teaching is on free improvisation.
Then comes a discussion of how the very first lesson may be organised and what to be especially careful about for the teacher. A fine text in itself, but it can also be significantly supplemented with the detailed accounts of first lessons described in Mäder et al. (F1.1; 2013). And to finish off the initial intro to the free improvisation study and its contents, there is a section on the concert concluding the semester, with a special collection of short suggestions before playing - like for instance: "Listen well! In case of feeling uncertain or nervous: listen even better!" (p.36).
Second and following chapters form a large compilation of exercises, mainly in the "short suggestions" form, going thoroughly into the far corners of the craft and commented from practical experience. There are "classic" exercises like listening to the space around in silence, rounds like "only to (or another number) at a time", ones focusing on specific parameters of the sound material, and miniaturs - but i great diversity of variants and with additional ideas. Parameter exercises start with "density of material", a term not easy to define, but most important for playing practise, and related to pauses/silence which is also treated in a detailed manner a little later. "Orientation" exercises are innovative - like "Try to recognise the tendency within a musical process and to anticipate further development" (p.43). This may overlap with the aspects of "Form" which are treated in the following large chapter. Working within this field may lead to gaining "more tempo in reacting and perception of informations" (p.41). One further innovative theme is "style" - working with idioms, to recognise them, deal creatively with them without becoming bound to rigid ways of playing.
The final main chapter deals with reflecting on the music through common discussion. Perspectives of listening can be very different between individuals: "the one who takes great care to differentiate within the very low dynamics might pay less attention to the large dramatic bow - and vice versa" (p.113). Apart from of course acting as a direct background for playing at a particular occasion, also players' emotional states may come to the foreground. This is especially so with untrained players, and the teacher must provide some space in the discussion for it, but also gradually seek to move the focus towards the common music, when it presents an obstacle to the creative flow. then, "aesthetic maturity" can develop with the student, characterised by greater tolerance, acceptance of the musical phenomena as they are, and flexibility of musical action.
Because of the quality, size and scope of this book it must be fiercely recommended to both free impro teachers but also to everyone interested in developing free improvising who can read German language. It is only available in print - the reader may take some inspiration from the precursor Mäder et al. (F1.1; 2013) on the internet, but that does not feature the many exercises.
(f1.1)/ Oshinsky, James: Return to Child. Music for People's Guide to Improvising Music and Authentic Leadership. Philosophy, Games, and Techniques developed by 'David Darling, Bonnie Insull, and Participants in Music for People workshops. http://www.musicforpeople.org 2008 edition. Sold at the website (pdf and paper editions available).
Usually, exercise collections deal with the music material, the "how to use it" aspect and how to act musically within the group. This one, however, has a few concepts like those of the extremes of "Yea" (strong) and "Ooh" (soft) sound and some more, also advice on practising traditional material. But else, it lingers on describing an egalitarian view of playing (which may serve as a preparation for participants) and on providing advice for workshop leaders. Both could be useful as a supplement to other exercise programs.
(f1.1)/ Stenger-Stein, Gabriele: "Spontaneität und Wachsamkeit. Improvisation - als Weg und als Ziel? Improvisation im Instrumentalunterricht, i Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation, März, 2000.
A large collection of exercises included.
(f1.1)/ Schwabe, Matthias: "Einführung in musikalische Improvisation. Spielregeln in Kurzfassung", Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation LXXIV, april 2011, p. 49-54.
& nbsp; The author presents a collection of favourite improvisation exercises. They have their origin partly with the author, partly with Lilli Friedemann. Some draw on Schwabe (F1.1;1992), others are also by the author and were not published before. Exercises are grouped into the following categories: communication games - experimental games with sounds and noises - metrical-rhythmical games - melody playing.
(f1.1)/ Toop, David: Search and Reflect: the Changing Practise of Improvisation. New Sound (Serbia) 32, 2016 (Serbian and English), p.119-129. http://www.newsound.org.rs/en/Issues/issue_no_32.html Authors' abstract: The first part of the essay paints an insider’s picture of the British improvisation scene (among its representatives are the AMM, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Derek Bailey, and John Stevens), mainly during the 1970s, based on the author’s own experiences as a musician within this scene. An improvisational attitude is placed opposite a culture that favours planning, control, and structured, goal-oriented strategies.
The second part of the essay is a description of the author’s academic pedagogical work as conductor of a large improvising ensemble, the Laptop Orchestra, based at London College of Communication. Supported by his own experiences as an improviser, the author presents the Orchestra with exercises, qualities that are needed to create satisfying improvisations, and possible learning outcomes. Keywords in his approach are interaction, close listening, sensitivity, tolerance, and self-determination.
Keywords: The Laptop Orchestra, pedagogy, improvisation workshops, the British improvisation scene, John Stevens.
There are quotes from the author's worksheets with issues for students to reflect on, both concerning requirements for improvising and also pointing out some typical challenges.
F 1.2 LILLI FRIEDEMANN
(f1.2)/ Schwabe, Matthias: "Lilli Friedemanns Wege zur experimentellen Improvisation", Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation LXXIV, april 2011, p. 10-13.
& nbsp; Introduces Lilli Friedemann's quite different collections of exercises. Quotes a few selected ones which have proved especially important to the outhor's long-standing activities as a workshop leader and comments on their usefulness, together with some general remarks.
F2 MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS
(f2)/ See also: Borgo (2005;G1.1); Funk-Aydemir (2006;G3); Gagel (2010;G4); Mäder et al (2015;F1.1); Seuthe (2015;G2.2); Gustavsen (2010;G3).
(f2)/ Adrian, Signe og Jensen, Jesper Juellund: "Spilleregler og musikalsk kreativitet". Musikbladet for gymnasie- og HF-lærere (Gymnasieskolernes Musiklærerforening), December 2012, p. 26-34. ISSN 1604-049x
A short, but comprehensive, systematic presentation of possible categories of "playing rules". This is taken in a broad sense and includes traditional formal/compositional devices as well as much more, such as various dimensions of context and the way the rules are given. This could be, for instance, general directions for the process ("kill your darlings") or considering the difference between exact directions and describing of general goals. Strictness or looseness exemplifies further, also reflections on the context of the production process, as well as the (imagined) circumstances of performing.
(f2)/ Baumann, Christoph; Mäder, Urban; Meyer, Thomas: "Freie Improvisation: Möglichkeiten und Grenzen ihrer Vermittlung. Skizzen zu einem Forschungsprojekt an der Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften und Künste, Musikhochschule/Jazz-Abteilung, Luzern", Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation LXXIV, april 2011, p. 60-62.
& nbsp; Informs concisely about improvisation teaching at Hochschule Luzern for all students, curriculum, goals, and discusses questions arising.
(f2)/ Bramley, Charlie: "Too important to be left to the Musicians. Un-musical Activism and Sonic Fictions. in: Rothenberg, David (ed.): vs. Interpretation. An Anthology on Improvisation, Vol.1. Prague (Agosto Foundation), 2015, p. 110-18 (=2015A).
The author advocates for the limitless social potentialities of improvised music. He accounts for his own experiences with fear of performing music and being regarded as "unmusical". After that he took initiatives to arrange improvisation sessions. Also he started to play (around 2008) in "Felt Beak" in Newcastle, a network of improvisors focusing its activity on frequent playing sessions and releases. The text goes on to discuss and critisise the elitist character of music culture. Most disturbingly, betrayal of the social possibilities of improvisation comes from improvisors' own organisations who promote "top", "renowned", "finest" etc. improvisors - and thus advocate for professional superiority, thereby reducing and the radicality of the music form. [At the time of writing this, various video samples and other documentation were available on the internet. At Vimeo, the organisation characterised its music as "improvised and experimental pop music"]
(f2)/ Bramley, Charlie: "Too important to be left to the Musicians. Un-musical Activism and Sonic Fictions. in: improfil. Theorie und Praksis improvisierter Musik. Nr. 78, April 2015, p. 8-10 (=2015B). A slightly different version of the 2015A one. This has the benefit of some additional remarks about how the author starts a workshop.
(f2)/ Christensen, Mogens: "...Sed vitae. Om at så en tanke - i stedet for altid at omplante viden". (Dansk Sang, Folkeskolens Musiklærerforening), 2010.
Theoretical perspectives, advice and suggestions around creative music making with school children. Many thinkers and concepts receive mention - among them Luhmann, Scharmer, emergence and serendipity in a theoretical introduction. Especially Part 3 and 4 + 5 contain specified examples of where to start musically. These parts also bring forward general basics of composition to consider - such as analysing into parameters, balancing culmination/low points in various parameters and various approaches to development and form. With this gentle throwing into perspective of central musical matters, the book could yield relevant texts for both the disciplines of musical analysis and concerning composition of new music in general.
(f2)/ Corbett, John: A listener's guide to free improvisation. Chicago (Univ. of Chicago Press) 2016. Both paper and ebook editions.
This book is a pioneering initiative. It builds up a method of where to focus musical attention and how to train it.
As a first preparatory step, a comparison is made to bird-watching: it's open to everybody, "Field methods you figure out on your own are equally worthy", and "close attention is richly rewarded" (p.4).
Then, the point of departure is to look at the common expectation of what musical elements are supposed to be, also across stylistic differences. So, concerning rhythm, the author affirms that there need not be a steady pulse and goes on to discuss notions that might adaequately describe the situation instead. He suggests to relax, breathe and then begin to observe whether the music is static or changes. He likens different speeds in improvised music with a "tidal pull" (p.27) having ebb and flow. One additional suggestion is to listen to music without a drummer.
Improvised music does not have duration standards either, as songs generally, so one must be prepared to stay for an amount of time. Some ideas follow on how to stay calm, relax and take posession of one's own experience. Observing "who is doing what" is described as a basic observation technique, to become able to focus in on individual parts of the soundmaking activities, including those sounding unusual, even if the instrument be-well-known. We have the ability to listen selectively, and this observation focus makes sure it comes to use and those strategic details are perceived.
Next training step concerns individual starts and stops. "Each time an improvisor starts or stops, they have made a choice, a decisive mode..." (p.44). Having observed what happens here, one has the possibility to begin to speculate about which decisions seem having been taken.
Now the listener will be prepared to observe the interaction dynamics. Dialogue may be the easiest to recognise, at least in its simple forms, by its conversation-like characteristics. But there are others: "Independent simultaneous action", "imitation", "consensus/dispute", "support/stepping up" "making space vs. being tentative" and "counterpoint".
Now two important issues remain to focus on. The first is transitions - improvisations may lead to relatively stable states which may become broken up again. So close attention should be given to the changes and their details. This leads directly to the next: becoming attentive to the emerging overall structure of an improvisation. The author's metapher for an initial explanation of this goes: "Think of those butcher shop posters, with an animal mapped out into segments; to understand a particular cut, you've got to have a picture of where it fits on the beast". And he goes on to remarking next: "this will be tremendously variable" (p.80). No doubt this is true... however, in order to provide some more concrete hints, he mentions two possible general principles - the first pointing forward most of the time, building towards "a finale, a climax, if you will" (81). The other does not build tension but "features juxtaposition" (p.81).
By now we have been roughly through the fundamentals, as brilliantly laid out by the author with more details than can be mentioned here. There follows additional propositions of a more advanced kind. Occasionally some personal opinions having a more restricted generality occur. Thus, the author recommends going on further discovery by studying individual players - but one might also think more in terms of bands or a music background one. Trios are praised as the ideal group size, but not everyone would agree to that. However, these reservations are not important considering the book's great merits.
(f2)/ Dillan, Lisa: Norges musikkhøgskola - 20 år med improvisasjonsundervisning. Improvisationsfaget ved Norges musikkhøgskole fra 1994-2014. http://nmh.no/forskning/arne_nordheim-senteret/enheten_for_improvisert_musikk/20-ar-med-improvisasjonsundervisning/improvisasjonsfaget-ved-nmh Accessed 3.May 2016
This is an account of primarily the mandatory parts of improvisation teaching at this institution since 1994. Notions of free improvisation as well as "genre-free" improvisation appear here. Besides the mandatory parts, among others, "improvisation based contemporary music" also exists. Some basic notions within didactics receive short mention: meta-competencies (general competencies of improvisation) versus special knowledge (of genres or styles and their requirements; aspects of communicative exchange; of possible roles to choose and of the relation to intuition and how to cultivate readiness to improvise, both individually and together.
(f2)/ Eikmeier, Corinna: Improvisieren mit einem improvisierenden Körper / Improvising with the improvising body, in: Gagel, Reinhard;Schwabe, Matthias (Hg/eds.): Improvisation erforschen - improvisierend forschen. Beiträge zur Exploration musikalischer Improvisation. / Researching improvisation - researching by improvisation. Bielefeld (Transcript Verlag) 2016A. Bilingual throughout.
The Feldenkrais method aims at strengthening body consciousness. The research reported about here aims at characterising improvisational movement qualities, and the conclusion lists trends observed, pointing towards a healthy functioning of mind-body coordination. Among them are the direct translation of stimuli into music and fine differentiation. The full PhD is published as Eikmeier (2016B; F2). Previous studies on the subject were the exercise collection Eikmeier (2010;F1.1) and the article(2010;F2).
(f2)/ Eikmeier, Corinna: Bewegungsqualität und Musizierpraxis. Zum Verhältnis von Feldenkrais-Methode und musikalischer Improvisation. Fernwald (Musikverlag Burkhard Muth), 2016B. PhD.
Comprehensive account of a research project that concludes with reflections on the uniqueness within improvisation and the way conventional music teaching is conducted. See Eikmeier (2016A; F2) for more information.
(f2)/ Peter Johnston: Teaching improvisation and the pedagogical history of The Jimmy Giuffre 3. International Journal of Music Education 31(4) 2013, 383-393. Around 1960, an experimental jazz group in New York called Jimmy Giuffre 3, consisting of Giuffre, Paul Bley and Steve Swallow, worked radically and consistently with training themselves to be able to move freely between playing tonally and not, between fixed pulse and not. Although not so generally known as some of their contemporaries, the author proposes that their working method provides some very suitable ideas for developing new methods of jazz pedagogy which can train improvisation abilities rather than just repertory. Quotations from interviews with group members, describing a few exercise situations, are included.
(f2)/ Frith, Fred: "Teaching improvisation. Not teaching improvisation.What does an improvisation teacher do?", Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation LXXIV, april 2011, p. 21-28.
& nbsp; Surprisingly to me, this article features a model of improvisation teaching hvaing its background at the authors' activity at Mills College, California, which is seemingly based on strictly disciplined exercises: rounds, groups with elected "directors" and "restriction exercises", with no mention of how free forms of playing could be employed. - And at the same time, thre are observations and anecdotes showing much sensitivity to, and experience with, the improvised process. They deal with basic questions students may ask, with the practise of leaving activity open to students, with classical musicians' inhibitions towards improvising stemming from the way they have bene trained, with warning against the belief that improvised music is superior to everything else, and with reflections on similarities between improvising and conservation. He makes the following characterisation of the values of a good improvisor (p.26): "The values that are associated with a good improvisor aren't dissimilar to the ones you look for in your friends: being a good listener; sensitivity to your social surroundings; being there when you're needed but knowing how to step back too; knowing when to be supportive, when to be assertive, when your opinion is valuable, when to just go along with something, when to insist! Patience. Tolerance. Openness..."
(f2)/ Heyne, Hannes: "Lebenslang Improvisieren lernen", Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation LXXIV, april 2011, p. 14-17.
Various general considerations about didactics in teaching in schools. Interesting counterpart to Steiner (F2;2011) in its optimism about the feasibility to deal with improvisation on any age level. As an example, young people's appetite on adventure is mentioned, and there is the practical suggestion to take inspiration from initiation rituals and perform outdoor actions, and to work with self-made instruments.
(f2)/ Haenisch, Matthias; Godau, Marc: "Improvisierendes Wissen / Improvising knowledge. Perspektiven einer system-konstruktivistischen Improvisationsforschun / Perspectives of systemic-constructivist approach to improvisation research. In: Gagel, Reinhard;Schwabe, Matthias (Hg/eds.): Improvisation erforschen - improvisierend forschen. Beiträge zur Exploration musikalischer Improvisation. / Researching improvisation - researching by improvisation. Bielefeld (Transcript Verlag) 2016, p.31-63. Bilingual throughout.
Reports from an empirical interview study of how higher education students learn improvisation. On p.90f some general conclusions are drawn about conflicts in the institution and their consequences: There are competing practises in instrumental teaching. How can one see improvised music as a natural activity, open to everyone, when practice and specialisation is a prerequisite? This dilemma has further consequences for the way participants evaluated the results according to the authors. Participants recognised generally that success in playing could aptly be described according to aesthetic criteria, yet they withdrew from employing these and referred instead to subjective preferences and listening attitudes, even when progress in learning was observable. This "immunization" (p.95) against assessment became an ideology in order to affirm both successful playing results from experience and training (subjectively seen, it can be added) and at the same time that it has no prerequisites. This way both kinds of expectations from differing teachers' groups can be met. But it has the price of an "unobservable quality". And: "If one cannot observe the artistic demands of the practise, they can easily run the risk of the artistic claim falling flat" (p.95).
(f2)/ Hickey, Maud: Learning From the Experts: A Study of Free-Improvisation Pedagogues in University Settings. Journal of Research in Music Education. Jan.2015, Vol. 62 Issue 4, p 425-445.
Author‘s abstract: There is a growing interest in alternative forms of pedagogy for students in K–12 settings. [K-12 acc. to Wikipedia means primary and secondary school in the USA and some other countries - from kindergarten to twelfth grade, before college.] Free improvisation, a relatively new and unfamiliar genre, offers potential as an ensemble for teachers to provide in order to offer more egalitarian and creative music experiences for their students. The purpose of this multiple case study was to determine common elements of instruction among four university free-improvisation instructors in order to inform K–12 music education. Pauline Oliveros, Fred Frith, Ed Sarath, and David Ballou were interviewed and observed in order to find common elements among their teaching. Data collection included transcripts from interviews and field notes, recordings, course materials, and other documents, such as course syllabi, university catalogues, texts, and press material about the pedagogues. The common themes that emerged among the four pedagogues included an array of unique teaching exercises, facility with nontraditional vocabulary, the establishment of a safe and egalitarian teaching space, lack of evaluation, leader as guide, comfort with spontaneity, and pedagogue as performer/improviser. The conclusion offers ideas for implementing these ideas in K–12 and music teacher education.
(f2)/ Mäder, Urban: Freie Improvisation als Herausforderung / The challenge of free improvisation. In: Gagel, Reinhard;Schwabe, Matthias (Hg/eds.): Improvisation erforschen - improvisierend forschen. Beiträge zur Exploration musikalischer Improvisation. / Researching improvisation - researching by improvisation. Bielefeld (Transcript Verlag) 2016, p.31-63. Bilingual throughout.
Summarises Mäder; Baumann; Meyer (2013;f1.1) and provides some additional comments about feedback from students. Thus it can serve as a shorter report in English language.
(f2)/ Rüdiger, Wolfgang; Gagel, Reinhard (ed.): Ensembleleitung neue Kammermusik. Dokumentation und Arbeitshilfe des Modellprojekts, Bonn (VdM Verlag - www.musikschulen.de) 2004.This book accounts for a "model project" undertaken by VdM - Association of German Music Schools - having the aim to set up a new in-service training programme.
The course took place during 4 short periods during the span of one and a half year and ended with an examination featuring several kinds of presentations.
During the first period, open works which were graphically and verbally notated and written for variable instrumentation were presented to participants and worked with in practise. At the second, a multitude of projects which participants had carried through at their own schools were presented, taking inspiration from the open works presented, but working out further their own ideas. Then, at the third period, activity turned to a practical study of concert works by new music composers, so as to take inspiration from the variety within experimental music in general.
An important section of the book features presentations by 13 participants - written versions of those given at the course, many of them with excellent ideas and detailed accounts of methodical work.
In addition, the book contains lists of relevant open works for educational use - recent ones, composed after 1990 - both for specific instruments and for open ensemble. They come with annotations making it possible to judge whether they might fit into specific needs and with contact information about composers and publishers. Various documenation of information material, press articles and short biographies and contact information of contributors make up the last part of the book.
This is an inspiring account of what can be done through training of dedicated professionals, along with being a useful book for practioners by virtue of the good ideas and proposals as well as the bibliographical lists of playing material. For those engaged in improvisation and creative cooperation in performance of music in general, it can be especially delightful to experience a new music context taking this dimension as the real basis and working on it in depth while at the same time also taking inspiration from detailed studies of the important cultural context of new music. It avoids the pitfalls of accepting the dogmas of metric note-writing as the only notation and of the isolated composer - which might entail a bias towards a passive listeners' role since this could limit practical playing a lot.
An interesting detail to mention could be the long list of characteristics of "New music in its improvised and compositional variety" that came out of common discussions during the second period (p.13). It could be a possible source of inspiration for cultural and educational strategies. The beginning reads:
"- associates to basic human experience and makes people sensitive for them. It makes them conscious and structures them into an artistic form; because of this, it can also be perceived as fascinating within everyday life.
- takes up basic body expression with which every human comminicates since being born: breathing, voice, gesture, body movement etc..." (...)"
Contributors other than the editors were: Geisenberger, Beate; Guntermann, Fred; Grümmer, Ulla; Hinz, Sylvia; Krauss, Hans; Jones, Ivan; Laubenberger, Jutta; Loof, Birgit; Nessling, Lisa; Karstens, Thomas; Schmoeckel, Stefanie; Schreiber, Gudula; Schelski; Uhl, Stephan.
(f2)/ Schlicht, Ursel: "I feel my true colors began to show. Designing and teaching a course on improvisation", Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critiques en improvisation, Vol 3 (2), www.criticalimprov.com, 2008.
A good, detailed improvisation teacher's account of fundamental considerations, contents and outcome for the participants from courses at a contemporary arts' college, Ramona College in New Jersey, over 14 times 3 1/4 hours.
(f2)/ Steiner, Johannes: "Improvisieren in der Schule", Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation LXXIV, april 2011, p. 41-43.
The author proposes a didactic approach to teaching improvisation to young people in schools (an age level of 12 years -sixth class - is mentioned in one case). It is based on indirectness, on inventing language and methods approaching improvisation indirectly. For instance, the word "improvisation" is substituted by "inventing music", "construct melodies" etc. and on using clearly defined elements and rules for their use. This is because of the resistence one may encounter with too direct approaches.
(f2)/ Schwabe, Matthias: Exploring Improvisation - Exploring Music. /Künstlerische Erkundigungen im improvisatorischen Alltag / Artistic investigation as part of the everydaylife of improvisation, in: Gagel, Reinhard;Schwabe, Matthias (Hg/eds.): Improvisation erforschen - improvisierend forschen. Beiträge zur Exploration musikalischer Improvisation. / Researching improvisation - researching by improvisation. Bielefeld (Transcript Verlag) 2016. Bilingual throughout. The author who is director of Exploratorium Berlin describes a basic, practise-oriented framework for understanding learning processes when working with improvised music. It is built around the hermeneutic circle: the present artistic exploration is followed by reflection and insight as well as by conception of new performance rules or settings - all stages also interacting with previous experience and knowledge. This leads on to new artistic explorations and forth in a spiral movement. "Performance rules or settings" as an integrated element in the model point to the importance of changing frameworks or circumstances, regardless whether agreements/graphic scores/compositions for improvisors or changing partners or simply changing acoustics and audiences. Whether there has been made a willful change in conditions from the side of the improvisor or not, a new experience inevitably takes place, and the learning spiral moves on. The knowledge being acquired and accumulated is, according to the author, completely subjective, as there is no "obligatory canon of knowledge" (p.381). Further perspectivation in the direction of theory is approached here not in the form of discussion of theories, but by a didactically oriented continuum describing greater or lesser contingency of working method and art forms - in terms of persons who could inspire participants.
F3 MUSIC WORKS FOR EDUCATIONAL USE, COLLECTIONS OF SUCH WORKS AND SERIES
(f3)/ Nomura, Makoto; Nankivell, Hugh: Whaletone Opera. A 21st Century Musical Journey. With texts in both English and Japanese and 3 CDs documenting one of the performances, Ogawara (Japan) (Ezuko Hall - www. ezuko.com) 2007.
A large-scale work which was created with participants of varying ages. Both simple songs and recipes of improvised soundmaking following the drama appear. "Whaletone scale" is a variant of the wholetone one.
This book serves both as documentation of the performances and as a score for possible future performances initiated by readers. Instructions are, however, often of a sketchy kind, but there is enough flexibility to change them according to own ideas. Also, one can imagine the use of the book as inspiration for the readers' own projects, whether small or big.
G. WRITINGS ON IMPROVISED MUSIC
G1.1 GENERAL SURVEYS AND
See also: Lothwesen (2012; G1.2); Stewart (2016;g2.1); Arthurs (2015;g2.1).
(g1.1)/ Beck, Sabine: "Prinzipiell vielseitig. Vinko Globokar, "New Phonic Art" und die Improvisation der sechziger und siebziger Jahre", MusikTexte 115, November, 2007.
This article is a comparative study describing bvery clearly the different characteristics and ways of working of New Phonic Art, Nuova Consonanza, Musica Elettronica viva, AMM Music, Music Improvisation Company and the Scratch Orchestra - all well-known improvisation groups of the sixties and seventies.
(G1.1)/ Bergmark, Johannes: "What is improvisation and why improvise". Downloaded 16. June 2010 from www.bergmark.org/why.html
Considerations around how improvisation is viewed by musicians and about developments within jazz history. The author proposes that both totally predetemrinistic and the counterpart, totally indeterminate views are meaningsless. The essence of improvisation is not just pure intuition or accept of chance, nor is it the blind following of a psychic condition. In order to approach a better understanding of improvisation, one must consider the fact that both conscious decisions and intuitive elements are part of it.
Surrealism is an inspiration for Bergmark, and he quotes Davey Williams: "We do not need anybody to tell us what to dream. Why then should we have someone telling us what to play?" (no reference given).
The author also deals with the issue of ideology connected to free improvisation and states, among other things, that "there are people that think that the term "free improvisation" gives the impression that we proclaim ourselves as liberated... Unfortunately, this is considerably exaggerated..."
(g1.1)/ Borgo, David: Sync or Swarm. NY/London (Continuum), 2005. May be purchased with or without a CD.
This book sets out to explore the area within contemporary sciences dealing with ”chaos” phenomena, focusing on their possible usefulness for describing improvised music in its complexity.
It also makes a most useful music history summary related to improvised music and, in addition, features various documentation related to Evan Parker.
Written in what seems to be an informal style of popular science writing, one has to probe a little into the chapters to find out what they are all about, even if the author is indeed an assistant professor working at the “Critical Studies and Experimental Practises” program at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the discussions in the book also take place in close interaction with literature which is documented carefully in the notes and in the large bibliography.
Thus, after initial introductions, we find that the second chapter titled with the poetic circumscription “Reverence for Uncertainty” deals with the history of improvised music and discusses some issues of essential interest: the views of performers, of listeners, and issues related to recording and to criticism.
These 22 pages seem to be one of the best introductions written so far to this field of music for students and other interested readers. Starting-point is jazz and how its improvisation aspect has been both restricted and re-activated during history. The author moves on to mentioning developments of composed music since Schoenberg, extending into Cage’s ‘indeterminacy’ and Stockhausen’s ‘intuitive music’. Summarizing this, the author states this information-packed sentence: “These and other modern compositional approaches do vary considerably in their details and individual composers often express extremely different views on the importance and validity of improvisation, but these new approaches did significantly expand the scope and definition of “compositon” as a practise”.
The author next plunges into an extensive discussion of the diverse existing views of improvised music and its culture. One of the many comparisons made is between Evan Parker and Derek Bailey, bringing up issues which concern how much the music should assert an individual style and the cultural context with which the improviser identifies himself – and how much an aesthetic exploration in its own terms. Just one reason why I find this discussion illuminating is because the challenge posed by “afrologists” like George Lewis (please see Lewis (1996; G3) in the 1945-1999 bibliography.) is taken a step further for general considerations – not just for or against Lewis’ views but in the direction of possible re-thinking of cultural identities generally.
The subsection “Experiencing Uncertainty” deals with listening to improvised music. Reference is made to several views stressing the importance of shared knowledge between performers and audience that the music is created here and now. Other views concern the absence of form references and the creative role of the listener following from that, the description of different basic kinds of listening, the importance of listening with a non-traditional focus (which could be textures or the changing appearances of figure/ground/field), and discussions around the terminology with which to describe the multi-cultural, pluralist interaction aspect. This last topic is an important one but might perhaps better have appeared under general attitudes to improvised music, not being specific to listening.
Next subsection “Documenting Uncertainty” deals with recording practise. The reservations made by many improvisers are mentioned, and contrasted to Martin Davidson’s view (director of English Emanem Records) that improvisation (probably because not being repeatable) deserves and needs it more than composed music. Mention is further made on different attitudes among improvisers on editing and adding recorded material. And of the practical advantages of recording – keeping up a tradition, getting to know each other and making understanding easier because it allows for repeated listening. Improvised music may be seen as a “post-literate”, oral tradition. Missing copyright and royalties recognition is mentioned here as an example of how improvised music is still not recognized by the common cultural norms.
At the end of these 22 pages on improvised music (“Reverence for Uncertainty” with subsections), its general development and some main areas of discussion specific to it, we find a final subsection on written improvised music criticism, “Evaluating Uncertainty”. Ensemble rapport and general formal properties of the music may appear as criteria employed. Mention is also made of Couldry’s concepts of virtuosity specific to improvised music (please see Couldry (1995; G1.1) in the 1945-1999 bibliography) and of extended techniques as something that can commented by critics.
The chapter “The embodied mind” deals with notions of mind and body as an interrelated entity rather than a “cognitivistic” view of the mind being in charge and commanding the body to act. Quotations about Evan Parkers’ solo playing by Parker himself and others are taken in to extensively illustrate this point (and there is a short bio of Parker as well).
Chapter “Rivers of consciousness” presents the thesis that improvised music has till now failed to arise academic attention comparable to that of composed music partly because of lack of technological tools, but more importantly, because of its non-linear character. The field of “dynamic systems theory” in mathematics is mentioned and a trio with Sam Rivers is analyzed. In a conclusion, the role of “momentum” (staying where you are) and “inertia” (letting yourself be moved) in playing and their balance is discussed.
Rolf Bader is a German specialist in computer analysis of music. He is not named a co-author of the book, but his contributions form the main basis of chapter 5, “On the Edge of Chaos”. It presents his analysis of improvised performances by Parker, Sam Rivers Trio, Peter Brötzman, and Art Ensemble of Chicago. Measurements took place with intervals of 50 milliseconds, and harmonic overtone components, inharmonic frequencies being part of the sound, along with “any large amplitude modulations” (including those caused by pause occurrences, at end of phrases and elsewhere). The resulting graphic diagrams depict variations in complexity as defined beforehand. This is what the authors label “fractal correlation” although the “fractal” dimension of this is perhaps more to be found in some metaphorical layer than in the actual analysis.
This chapter also has an illuminating quote from an unpublished lecture by George Lewis from 2003, about the underlying sociological and historical reasons for jazz being more centred around individual expression than the European avant-garde and Cage, which might well have been placed in the music history chapter instead. It seems to explain the background of Lewis’ manifesto-like critic (please see reference above) and it goes like this: “After three hundred years of the very real silence of violence and terror, rather than a freely chosen conceptual silence of four minutes or so, one can well imagine the newly freed African-American slaves developing a music in which each person is encouraged to speak, without conflict between individual expression and collective consciousness. In contrast to this notion of improvisation as a human birthright, a simple response to conditions, an embodied practice central to existence and being in the world, Cage's Puritanical description of improvisation contrasted the image of a heroic, mystically ego-driven Romantic improvisor, imprisoned by his own will, with the detached, disengaged, purely ego-transcending artist who simply lets sounds be themselves.” (p.88).
The same chapter also relates an example of chaotic dynamics presenting a challenge even to those accustomed to free improvisation a performance in which singer Sainko Namchylak demonstrated against allegedly not being treated professionally by the organizers of the Guelph Jazz Festival 2003. She expressed that verbally and was then singing with arms folded acress her chest, looking from time to time at her watch, and repeating the same melody for half an hour, while the two other musicians developed a duo in the more "normal" way. The organizers interrupted the concert but after a "collective uproar" from the audience, the music was later resumed. An interesting internet discussion afterwards revealed a true multitude of views on this, some of which saw it as musically captivating.
The sixth chapter, "Sync and Swarm", tells of a "new science of sync" (=synchronization) studied by "biologists, physicists, mathematicians, astronomers, engineers, sociologists and artists". Swarm behaviour by fireflies, ants and bees reveal differentiated forms of swarm behaviour without a leader. Improvised music follows similar patterns. Sync occurs here at start and ending, as "transient sync" when coming together in conspicuous ways and as persistent sync. Studies of "swarm intelligence" in ants have lead to improving telecommunications traffic routing. One list of characteristics of swarm self organization cited (by Bonabeau, Théraulaz and Dorigoo at a Santa Fe institute a physicist, a biologist and an engineer) reads as follows: "1) forms of positive feedback, 2) forms of negative feedback, 3) a degree of randomness or error, and finally 4) multiple interactions of multiple entities" (p.143). Computer simulation has been employed as a research method. Statistics and analysis of the World Wide Web also reveal structures of interrelations between its enormous numbers of pages.
The last chapter, "Harnessing Complexity" treats improvisation teaching and possible strategies for empowering students. It also mentions Zorn's game pieces.
(g1.1)/ David Borgo: Negotiating Freedom: Values and Practices in Contemporary Improvised Music. Black Music Research Journal, Vol. 22, No. 2, (Autumn, 2002), pp. 165-188.
This appears to be a spin-off from the ethnographic dissertation underpinning Borgo (G1.1;2005). Even if the book's chapter "Reverence for Uncertainty" makes a very coherent characterisation of the freely improvised music form, this may add some exact references and points. Thus, mention is made of a paper from 2003 critisising the "eurological/afrological" dyad presented by Lewis 1996, taking attention to the prescence of Asian musicians in the Bay Area of USA. P. 184 it is stated in the conclusion: "Free improvisation, it appears, is best envisioned as a forum in which to explore various cooperative and conflicting interactive strategies rather than as a traditional "artistic form"..." (g1.1)/ Fischer, Mikael: Some thoughts on a history of improvised music in Europe. In English and japanese, 2007. Lecture held at Soundplay Festival 2007, Japan. A short concise overview referring to Noglik and Wilson. English version: http://homepage1.nifty.com/ERuKa/cmf/cmf2007_HistoryOfEuroImpro_e.html Japanese version: http://homepage1.nifty.com/ERuKa/cmf/cmf2007_HistoryOfEuroImpro_j.html
(g1.1)/ Jenkins, Todd S.: An Encyclopedia of Jazz and Free Improvisation, Westport, Conn. / London (Greenwood Press) 2004.
This work comprises 390 pages of biographical and other information related to free jazz and improvised music. There are also introductory overviews and chapters and a bibliography.
The introductory chapter "The Path to Freedom" has a good, detailed account of new jazz developments from the American perspective, extending into European free music, making it an important writing on these parts of music history. Credit is also given to backgrounds in experimental composition, although probably with a few misunderstandings of the role of Cage who seems in practise to be rather unknown to the author - he states, for instance, that he used "aleatoric (chance) procedures such as hand signals or cue cards" (p.xxxiv)
(g1.1)/ Matthew Lovett: The Canonisation of Recorded Improvisations and its Impact on Performance Practice, Dutch Journal of Music Theory 13 (1) 2008, 16-24. Accessed 28.June 2017 from http://upers.kuleuven.be/sites/upers.kuleuven.be/files/page/files/2008_1_4.pdf
Recording has long been an integrated and established part of the music culture surrounding improvised music. Yet authors like Cardew, Bailey and philosophers like Benjamin and Adorno see the concert situation as more "true" or "real". Such a canonisation appears, however, not to be in line with a Derrida-inspired view, for which there are as many possible interpretations of the music, but no one being inherently "right". Also, the anti-hierarchical stance of improvising would be against a firm canon. - From a practical view, recordings have to a high degree shaped the history of improvised music, enabling both musicians and audiences to memorise it, to hear it more clearly and to further study it. Conseqently, "...our perceptions cannot help but be influenced by the fact that the original now stands in relation to its copy", p.19.
(g1.1)/ Melvin, Andrew: The Creative Symbiosis of Composer and Performer. [An examination of collaborative practise in partially improvised works]. Brunel University, September 2010. (Contact via CBN)
Characterises historical background, elaborating on a Stravinsky quote about the "post-composer period". This was meant as an ironic comment by Stravinsky to openness in compositions which passed decisions on to the performer. For the author, this label could however be seen as meaningful in a larger perspective. Quoting an author named Handy, he makes a parallel with working life which has now been based on "politics", not "engineering" which built on a sort of mechanical model. The book also describes English composer Wiegold's way of working with symphony orchestras, involving both frequent re-writing and empty spaces in the score; also, it analyses own works.
(g1.1)/ Polaschegg, Nina: Verflechtungen. Zur Neubestimmung des Verhältnisses von Komposition und Improvisation", MusikTexte 114, August, 2007.
In music history writing after 1950, two tendencies are usually attributed a paradigmatic role: on one hand, serialism and its counterreaction, and on the other hand aleatoric techiques and other strategies of opening up the work. "On one hand, these tendencies re-thought principal possibilities of the musical work in a radical way and appeared therefore necessary and revolutionary, but they have had no proper succession" (p.34). A view that sees them as the only ones suppresses or marginalizes the fact that they were only a part of the total picture of tendencies away from traditional concepts of music, musician and musical work. Improvisation played animportant role here, and there has been a continuous development ever since it was re-invented in the fifthies and sixties. For the first generation, improvisation was conceived of in terms of being a new discovery - be it in contrast to composition or as an extension of composition. The second generation views improvisation and composition as different aspects of one and the same music. This may also be named the second improvisation renaissance, of which improvising composers Richard Barrett, Wolfgang Mittlerer, Michael Maierhof, Karlheinz Essl and Bernhard Lang can be mentioned as representatives.
Various collective-like groupings were formed by composers of the first generation. At the same time, musicians from both new music and jazz genres strove towards re-inventing improvisation. Thus, such re-invention took place simultaneously in two cultures.
In order to understand characteristics of the second renaissance, one should know about the first one too, since the second generation took up ideas, models and strategies from the first one.
The article provides descriptions of the first generations groups Nuova Consonanza, Musica Elecctronica Viva and New Phonic Art which represented the 'new definition' of improvisation in relation to the 'canonic' new music. AMM represents an attempt of such new definition beyond both composed music and jazz. Cornelius Cardew appeared then as a special case, both utilizing improvisation as a composer and acting as an improvisor. In this way he was standing between two worlds and became an immediate forerunner of the second generation. His "Treatise" received special, detailed commenting here. Also Earle Brown, Barry Guy, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Anthony Braxton and Bob Ostertag have sections devoted to them.
There are also additional sections ("Er-improvisierte Komposition" and "Kompositionen/Konzepte für Improvisatoren" which discusses and details some ways in which composition is now accepted among improvisors and how composition and improvisation have been combined.
(g1.1)/ Polaschegg, Nina: "(Frei) improvisierte Musik in der Musikwissenschaft", Dissonanz/Dissonance 113, 2011, p.22-31.
An evaluation of how free improvisation has been covered in German musicological literature, including also comments on the state of free improvisation teaching in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (Basel, Leipzig, Vienna, Linz, Bern and zürich is mentioned - Luzern could be added). Comments are given within the categories of handbooks and encyclopedias, psychology of music, sociology of music and music analysis, and also the difference between disciplines of musicology and jazz research (German: Jazzforschung) are discussed.
A concluding section sums up - a number of useful studies have been undertaken, although authors did not know about each other in many cases. Some key issues for further qualifying the discussion are proposed: which concepts characterise the specific nature of improvisation? How can one develop value standards? And is the concept of the work of art to be revised, if relevant at all? How are historic processes of change within free improvised music to be described?
(g1.1)/ Sancho-Velazquez, Angeles: The Legacy of Genius: Improvisation, Romantic Imagination and the Western Musical Canon. PhD, University of California Los Angeles, 2001. Downloaded 15.October 2018 from https://jazzstudiesonline.org/files/jso/resources/pdf/Sancho-Velazquez%20Dissertation.pdf
The disappearance of improvisation in Western classical music in the 19th century still poses a contemporary problem. This work elucidates how the historical changes came about, through focusing on main, leading idas.
Early romanticism cherished improvisation. Originality, spontaneity, inwardness, imperfection (the fragment), organicism and indeterminacy (the subtle) were valued. Inspirations included Rosseau, Goethe and Herder. Already in Kant's theory of genius, creative genius was distinguished from mere imitators as an original creative artist. The genius could depart from convention but was "inspired by nature" (p.38). Whereas Rosseau's earlier idea of "naturalness" appeared sentimental and simplicist, the romantics revered nature as "complex, profound and awe-inspiring" (p.41). Thus improvisation could be seen as the purest form of musical creation. Philosopher Georg Friedrich Hegel described good improvisation as a higher-ranking art form than finished works: "not merely a work of art but the actual procuction of one"(from Lectures on Aesthetics, quoted on p.54). Virtuosic solo improvised performances flourished, and those by Beethoven were legendary.
Despite a seeming "stylistic and aesthetic continuity" (p.32) between music from early and late parts of the century, drastic changes of musical attitudes occurred, leading to an almost complete abolishment of public improvisation. Mendelssohn, Schumann and Liszt all became well-known for their piano improvisations in their early career and all denounced it later, even emphatically, now viewing it as an unserious form of entertainment.
Political circumstances were characterised by revolutions having failed in 1848 and 49 and by a new movement striving to unite the various German states into one country. Establishing a common German musical canon was essential for musicians. An essential, organisational task for composers and musicians was to make trustworthy editions of classics like Bach, Beethoven and Mozart available, and improvisation was rather seen as something decadent. Program music and Wagners' music dramas represented strategies of moving towards concreteness. For Wagner, the leitmotif technique became a "technology" that could be seen as a compromise between a need for a firm design and,by means of its flexibility, the need for what he called "liveliness". These strategies replaced early romanticism's reliance on pure fantasy. Scientific positivism pushed ideas in such directions. Neoromantic artists became priests for the canonic traditions, rather than first-hand oracles: "I believe in God, Mozart and Beethoven", as Wagner lets a young musician speak in a fictious short story.
The concept of genius originated with Kant and was in early romanticism, as in the Hegel quote above, especially associated with musical creation taking place in the moment, whereas later greatness was rather exclusively associated with written works.
Positivism was also behind the emergence of a new musicology concerned with facts, historical as well as acoustical ones. Adherents strove to "rescue music from subjectivism, legitimizing by demonstrating its objective value". Evolution theory also played a role, for which improvisation was regarded as part of an "unconscious" and "spontaneous" early period which the latter part of the century considered unsophisticated and immature (p.236). In philosophy, both Schopenhauer and Hanslick re-interpreted Kant in an opposition to the idealist philosophies - thus there was an affinity even between defenders of program music (Wagner and Liszt) and formalist aesthetics.
A final chapter traces how music came to beconsidered autonomous in the early romantic period, a fine art not attatched to function. As the appreaciation by Hegel and other authors demonstrates, this view was in no way opposed to improvisations. Also connected to an organicist view, romantic art could be seen as a form of resistance to an emerging industrial and mechanised world (p.273). Connecting to lines of thoughts from Gadamer, Christopher Small, Heidegger, Nettl, Paul Riceur and Derrida the author highlights how the concept of play (pointing to processes and events rather than canonic works) connected to music may play a new philosophical and practical role, with less dualism between works and improvisations.
Those who would like to supplement with more details on composers are referred to Gooley (2018;G2.1).
This brilliant text cannot be recommended enough to impro people, classical people including its avantgardists, and to everyone interested in music and history. Thanks to the academic sharpness it keeps clear of anecdotic diffuseness at all times - a danger present within a cultural field so governed by canonic thinking. And the making of this canonic thinking is exactly what it yields insight into. Understanding this may be a clue and a spur for cultural innovation.
(g1.1)/ Sancho-Velazquez, Angeles: Virtuosos, Improvisors, and the Politics of Seriousness in Western Classical Music. Müzik-Bilim Dergisi. The journal of musicology. 2015 Cilt 1 Sayi 6 / 2015 Vol.1 Issue 6. ISSN 2147-2807. Downloaded 15.October 2018 from https://muzikbilimdergisi.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/mc3bczik-bilim-sayc4b1-6.pdf
In a concise form, the author manages to condense a large amount of the essential discoveries from the dissertation Sancho-Velazquez (2001;G1.1) on just 16 pages. The title leads directly into the matters. Below is the author's own English summary (A Turkish summary also exists):
"The transformation that the European music world underwent in mid- nineteenth century resulted in the abandonment of popular forms of virtuosity and improvisation that had been criticized as disorderly and trivial. This article argues that the turn to seriousness was not simply a matter of leaving behind low-quality music, but it was in part motivated by extra-musical political and social concerns. The solemn musical world that emerged during the second half of the century was devoted to revered composers and high musical stan- dards, but a rich Romantic aesthetics and a time-honored tradition of impro- vised music were lost in the process."
It is recommended, however, also to look into the dissertation. Alone a first sight of its table of contents suggests how the general ideas and philosophy changed.
(g1.1)/ Riikonen, Hannu T.: 1960 luku ja uusi tapa improvisoida. Nykymusiikin improvisaatioliikkeen piirissä vallinneista improvisaatiokäsityksistä. [1960's and a new way to improvise Concepts about improvisation among the contemporary music' improvisation movement]. Lisensiaatintutkimus. Turun yliopisto, Taiteiden tutkimuksen laitos, musiikkitiede, huhtikuu 2000. Licentiate dissertation, Turku (Finland), 2000. Turku University Library. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed as a special exception.
Title of this licentiate paper means "1960 and a new way to improvise - Concepts about improvisation among the contemporary music's improvisation movement".
(g1.1)/Toop, David: "Frames of Freedom. Improvisation, otherness and the limits of sponteneity", in: Young, Rob (ed.): Undercurrents. The hidden wiring of modern music. London/NY (Continuum) 2002, p.233-248.
The pre-history of the modern concept of free improvisation is explored here. The pursuit of automatism by André Breton and a number of other authors including Japanese Muroyama Tomoyoshi as well as Tristan Tzara, is onsidered. Further, representatives of glossolalia (Antonin Artaud) and, attempting to draw a connection to the liberation of sound itselv, Partch, Grainger, Varèse, Messiaën and Cage, are mentioned. In more recent developments, mention is made of Lennie Tristano and a number of contemporaries working in the fifthies, before Sun Ra and other presentatives of free jazz and free improvisation of the sixties appeared on the scene.
(g1.1)/ Toop, David: Into the malstroem: music, improvisation and the dream of freedom. [Vol.1] Before 1970, 2016
This book deals with the history of free improvisation, especially in England. Comparing with some reservation - like Nyman (1974;H4) it is an account of phenomena in which the author was deeply involved, like Richards (1992;G5) a looking back on general historic developments seen through the author's eyes, and finally, like Whitehead (1998;G2.1) a compilation of notes and anecdotes supplementing the more "straight" historic accounts.
Toop is "highly suspiscious of" "The orthodox method of understanding musical development...to trace a lineage of musical ancestry, a chain of influence", even though it has a "grain of truth" (p.259). Some of the missing elements might, with a traditional term, be called biographic. Other elements and aspects attempt a corrective in detailing diverse influences beyond the well-known. The focus on that which is unique produces at the end of the book this statement as a general insight: "Many freedoms swirled within the dream of freedom - the challenge was to find ways for them to coexist" (p.291).
Toop was himself a witness and a part of the development since the sixties. Receivers of detailed treatment are AMM, John Stevens, Trevor Watts, Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Evan Parker and Derek Bailey. Also, we hear about surrealism and various automatic writing practises, theremin music, many lesser-known jazz personalities that were important to improvisors, Dubuffet and Jorn, Yoko Ono, Lukas Foss, Takehisa Kosugi, Franco Evangelisti, Alterations, Musica Elecctronica Viva, Roscoe Mitchell, Gutai group and many more.
Throughout, much original information is given, based not only on memories but also on a large number of interviews. One could almost say that the parts written in the most orthodox way are two enquêtes - one about how fellow musicians perceived the music played at a concert, the other about odd experiences with audiences. This comprises barging in, telling a characteristic tale about the seventies.
For those to whom the ancestors mentioned are important, the book may be indispensable. One probably needs to know what is behind at least some of the important names in order to enjoy it. On the other hand, it is a ressource you might wish to return to. To help the reader to trace or re-trace who was mentioned or commented, an index is included.
G1.2 PERIODICALS, SPECIALIZED
(g1.2)/ freiStil. Magazin für Musik und Umgebung. Since 2005, 6 issues per year (paper, no issues online). http://freistil.klingt.org
Austrian journal for various underground-related music which may include materials about improvised music. Contents center around selected musicians.
g1.2/ Gränslöst. Magasin för samtida musik., 1995-2000. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed.
g1.2/ Hurly Burly, 1997-2001. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed.
g1.2/ Rubberneck, 1985-2000. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed.
g1.3/ The Wire, 1982-. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed.
(g1.2)/ Arroyas, Frédérique; Heble, Ajay; Waterman, Ellen (ed.): Critical Studies in Improvisation, www.criticalimprov.com, 2004-.
From the editorial of the first issue: "...a peer reviewed, interdisciplinary, open access electronic journal. Ours is, as far as we know, the first journal to provide an academic forum for a developing critical field that accents the social implications of improvisational musical practices. Indeed, while improvisational music has historically been analyzed within the context of various musical disciplines, what distinguishes the research we aim to profile in CSI/ÉCI is precisely its emphasis on musical improvisation as a site for the analysis of social practice... The idea for Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation comes in large measure out of the research activities associated with the Guelph Jazz Festival colloquium...". The editors signing this are associated with the University of Guelph, Canada. Articles appear both in HTML and pdf.
(g1.2)/ www.onefinalnote.com. Jazz and improvised music webzine, 2000-2007.
Online American based magazine with "features" (articles) and a large number of CD reviews. Contents are at the time of writing this (2008) still available at the URL, and there is a useful "archive" function making all material available. An alternative location to find the material, should it vanish one day, could be the search engine www.gigablast.com, searching un the URL and using the "archive" function.
G2.1 DOCUMENTATION, REPORTS AND DISCUSSION CONCERNING SPECIFIC IMPROVISORS, GROUPS, WORKS, EVENTS, TENDENCIES(G2.1)/See also: Borgo (2005;G1.1) (Evan Parker); Lukoszevieze (2003;G2.1); Schwabe (2001;G5); Saunders (2009; g5); Melvin (2010; G1.1); Herndler (2014;E1); Scott (2014:G3); Redhead (2016;G2.1); Gottschalk (2016;G3); Morris (2012;G3); Toop (2016;F1.1).
(g2.1)/ Anderson, Christine: Review: "Torsten Wagner und Nuova Consonanza", Musiktexte 103, August, 2004.
(g2.1)/ Andersson, Magnus: Interview with Christian Wolff, Nutida Musik 2, 2007.
From a public interview at the festival "Open Form A Paradigm of the Arts", Oslo in March 2007. The interview deals with the nature of open form music, Wolff explains that this is about openness in performance, not just the use of chance. Further, it deals with the work Edges by Wolff (see Wolff(1969;A1) in the 1945 99 bibliography!) according to Wolff one of his most open works and presupposing experience with improvisation. Some more themes brought up by the interviewer are whether open form music is more difficult to listen to than traditional music and whether the experience is a more intellectual one. Wolff's answer to the latter question is negative, for him the physical experience of the sound is the most important. The article contains also a good factbox explaining the meaning of such terms as indeterminate, chance, aleatoric, open form and open art work.
(g2.1)/ Arthurs, Tom: The Secret Gardeners: An Erhnography of Improvised Music in Berlin (2012-13). PhD Music, The University of Edinburg, 2015. Downloaded 17.April 2018 from https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/handle/1842/20457
The Berlin scene for improvised music is described from a number of viewpoints: Sociologically - demographic statistics, even including depictions of how much collaborations and venues overlap, venues, audiences - and "economics and ways of life". Musicians' aesthetic tastes, related to the rest of their lives - how they became attracted to improvised music, whether they had formal education. Moving closer to more standard issues of improvised music literature: material of the music, how one practises. What makes "good music" in the opinion of musicians.
Musicians' opinions on how to listen to improvised music are exemplified as two opposite stances: the 'emic', meaning that there are certain points the listener should grasp if the music is to make sense (encountered with Olaf Rupp and David Diaz). The other stance saw the music as open to the listeners' subjective perception.
Further, the investigation looks at recording the music: whether musicians listen to recordings themselves, opinions of live versus recording, different functions of recordings, such as documentation - public release (many nuances of views on studio work, what to release and whether to edit) - and as a source for electroacoustic composition.
This work touches on the encyclopedic - it could provide a questionnaire for investigating improvised music in any city or other environments - and by virtue of its demographic information as well as the thoroughness of how issues are dealt with it goes beyond what has hitherho been "usual" to write about in the literature.
(g2.1)/ Beins, Burkhard; Kesten, Christian, Nauck, Gisela, Neumann, Andrea (ed.): Echzeitsmusik. Selbstbestimmung einer Szene / Self-defining a scene. Hofheim (Wolke), 2011
A bilingual publication in German and English. "Echtzeitsmusik" - the main name for it all not having been translated into English - meaning "real time music". It was/is a movement within improvised music originating in East Berlin after 1989, having been performed in squat spaces and spreading to many musicians also internationally. The music, generally, characterised by "reductionism", often piano and with pauses.
The book features long interviews and personal statements. There is also a section for critical discussions. Issues discussed are rhapsodic, often changing - even if editorial divisions do exist: "History and stories" - "Discourse" - "Theory and Practice".
It is probably not a book to be read from one end to another unless you feel very much part of the scene or know many of the names. But it could be one to consult when it comes to digging up material around some of the many contributors (typical g2.1 material in this bibliography's terminology ;-). A number of appendixes will support such work. The first one modestly named "artists" is a comprehensive list of artists having performed at the relatively few venues listed, maybe core ones for the movement, September 1996 through May 2011. These venues are "2:13 Club, Labor Sonor, Raumschiff Zitrone, biegungen im ausland and Quiet Cue". The number of names exceed 800. The list is not alphabetically arranged, so maybe chronologically. Instruments played are included. Musicians from the German-speaking area are the majority, but with a number of people from UK and other countries.
Additionally, there are both extensive name and subject indexes for the whole book. Also, small CV listings describe the contributors who are: Thomas Ankershith, Harald (Harri) Ansorge, Serge Baghdassarians, Boris Baltschun, Jürg Bariletti, Johannes Bauer, Burkhard Beins, Marta Blazanovíc, Nicholas Bussmann, Lucio Capece, Diego Chamy, Clare Cooper, werner dafeldecker, Rhodri Davies, Bertrand Denzler, Bill Dietz, Axel Dörner, Phil Durrant, Ekkehard Ehlers, Sabine Ercklentz, Andrea Ermke, Kai Fagaschinski, Fernanda Farah, Kerstin Fuchs, Björn Gottstein, Matthias Haenisch, Hanna Hartman, Franz Hautzinger, Robin Hayward, Teresa Iten, Sven-Åke Johansson, Margrethe Kammerer, Christian Kesten, Annette Krebs, christof kurzmann, Greg Malcolm, Thomas Meadowcroft, Chico Mello, Thomas Breitenstein Millroth, Toshimaru Nakamura, Gisela Nauck, Vered Nethe, Andrea Neumann, Nina Polasschegg, Michael Renkel, Ana Maria Rodriguez, Adeline Rosenstein, Arthur Rother, Olaf Rupp, Ignaz Schick, Ulf Sievers, Stefan Streich, T.Turner, Michael Vorfeld, Antje Vowinckel, David Walker, Steffi Weismann, William Wheeler.
(g2.1)/ Bell, Clive (ed.): LMC...the first 25 years. Resonance 8:2 + 9:1 (double issue, with double CD), special issue on London Musicians' Collective, 2000. LOGOS BRIT.LIBR. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed as a special exception.
(g2.1)/ Bergstrøm-Nielsen, Carl: "Offene Komposition und andere Künste". Bidrag til "Themenschwerpunkt: Improvisieren nach Konzepten", ringgespräch über gruppenimprovisation LXVIII, juni, 2002.
About the activity in Danish Group for Intuitive Music and other similar groups as well as in the teaching at Aalborg University. Discussion of this composition form.
(g2.1)/ Bergstroem-Nielsen, Carl; Debrunner, Ruedi; Stehle, Max (2016): "Brücke zwischen Komposition und Improvisation? "Schwarm 13"", MusikTexte 151, November 2016, p.21-24. Online here.
Documents an initiative of concert activity in Berlin based on improvisation within a framework of "sculpture - swarm - conversation" and some additional programming.
(g2.1)/ Bergstroem-Nielsen, Carl (2017): Musik mitteilen. http://vbn.aau.dk/da/publications/musik-mitteilen(016f89a5-3c8a-48be-aa56-2d47840c2120).html
Analyses a number of open works by Swiss composer Max E. Keller from the beginning of the seventies and provides a glmpse of later similar works. Notation and how it contributes to define the form is one of the themes for discussion. See also the collection of works in extenso at www.intuitivemusic.dk/iima/mk.htm
(g2.1)/ Christian Broecking: Dieser unbändige Gefühl der Freiheit: Irene Schweizer - Jazz, Avantgarde, Politik. Creative People Books, Broeckingverlag, Berlin 2016.
Biography of Irene Schweizer, published on her 75 years birthday. Interviews of a large number of colleagues are included. Review by Reinhard Gagel, in: improfil. Theorie und Praxis improvisierter Musik. Themenheft: Empathie in der musikalischen Improvisation, Nr. 80, Dezember 2017, p.71f.
(g2.1)/ Cardew, Cornelius: Cornelius Cardew: A Reader. Matching Tye near Harlow, England (Copula), 2006.
Essays and writings by Cardew, including (1961;E2) and (1971;G3). Also commentaries and responses from Richard Barrett, Christopher Fox, Brian Dennis, Anton Lukoszevieze, Michael Nyman, Eddie Prévost, David Ryan, Howard Skempton, Dave Smith, John Tilbury and Christian Wolff.
(g2.1)/ Collins, Nicolas (ed.): "Not nescessarily English Music", special issue Leonardo Music Journal 11, 2001.
In his introduction, the editor describes experimental tendencies of the UK since 1960 and on as a "golden age". There was a lively and independent activity both in free jazz and other kinds of experimental music, and a distinctive feature was its pluralism, which disregarded former distinctions between high and low art, composer and performer, and more. The movement was uncommercial, and it needs to be better documented.
Below, selected articles are summarized.
In "The arrival of a new musical aesthetic: Extracts from a half-buried diary", Eddie Prèvost, himself an important figure in the development of improvised music, outlines a personal outlook. This touches on influental groupings such as Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Music Improvisation Compay, AMM, Cornelius Cardew and John Tilbury. Tilbury introduced American indeterminate music to English audiences and Cardew's background in conservatory studies and activity himself as a conservatory teacher also contributed to exchange on various levels. Further, The London Musician's Cooperative [not the same as London Musician's Collective but perhaps a forerunner], associated with The Little Theatre Club and the names of Derek Bailey, Even Parker, John Stevens, Trevor Watts, Paul Lytton, Tony Oxley, Howard Riley and Barry Guy - as well as the Scratch Orchestra.
Matthew Sansom, in "Imagining music: abstract expressionism and free improvisation", outlines features common to Abstract Expressionism painting and free improvised music. Both Surrealism and Dada practised the idea of "automatic writing" and transferred it to the process of painting - "action painting" as it became named by Jackson Pollock. Being present in the process and following the material's "own", emerging tendency, to let go of conscious control, became essential. While reference could be made to figurative elements they were, however, regarded as having a secondary importance. So Abstract Expressionism was centered around the material and form of the art. Thus it differed from symbolism and iconography of earlier times. Close parallels to free improvised music exist in their "artistic agendas" dealing with "processual dynamics". Bailey's notion of "non-idiomatic" music is in line with this. - A fuller understanding of free improvisation may occur by taking these parallels into account.
Hugh Davies accounts for the history of the live electronic music ensemble Gentle Fire in "Gentle Fire: An early approach to live electronic music". This group played mainly open compositions by a variety of composers. Verbally notated cokmpositions by Stockhausen (and Sternklang) were among them, and there was a special collaboration with this composer, Davies having been his assistant earlier. The importance of this ensemble for the open composition music form is illustrated by the fact that a total of 28 different composers were performed (including ones by ensemble members but excluding collective compositions by the ensemble), and 100 works with 245 performances during the lifetime of the group 1968-1974. This article is a fascinating account of this group's career which includes also many details of the historical context. - A composition being typical of the group spirit, according to the author, by Graham Hearn is stated in extenso.
Stuart Jones, in "Making it up as you go along", reflects on his musical career in the ensembles Gentle Fire, British Summer Time Ends and Kahondo Style. This includes also reflections on the nature of pluralism, the mixing of styles: in Gentle Fire, as coming out of a love of "surreal conjugations and juztapositions" that might be akin to British stand-up comedy; later, as from simply following their liking for the popular music they had also played (cf. the editor's remarks on pluralism cited above!).
David Toop introduces the enclosed two CDs with personal memories, "Not necessarily captured, except as a fleeting glance". The variety of experimental music from 1960 and on is also reflected on - the spirit of postwar times he characterizes as "a kind of cultural and political anarchy", on the background of the war that had ended, but within the security of a stable society. That led to "collapsing boundaries" between the various experimental tendencies, and between high art and pop. The Portsmouth Sinfonia lead by Gavin Bryars who was a lecturer at the Portsmouth Art College then, is mentioned. The orchestra often appeared "hilarious" with its seemingly wretched renditions of popular classic excerpts, yet its basis was a serious playing to the best of each one's ability - a pluralist phenomenon.
Finally, there is a section (of seven) pages which, almost slightly encyclopedia-like, provides detailed information on the musicians and the music. Examples of such detailed small articles include the one on The People Band, and the one describing a group composition by Gentle Fire.
Other than by the authors mentioned above, there are also articles by: Doriún Casserley; Alvin Lucier; Scanner; Janek Schaeffer and Joe Banks.
(g2.1)/ Corbett, John: Booklet article, Sounds 99, 3 CD-set Blue Tower Records BTCD 09/10/11, 2000.
Interesting remarks about nations and clichès. "according to this set of clichees, Germans were the power blowers, the Dutch the theatrical ironics, the British some sort of anal-compulsive abstract sound manipulators...there's been plenty of flux, with the Brit Steve Beresford adopting "Dutch" cgharacteristics, and Germans like Wolfgang Fuchs utilizing more "British" aesthetics, and so on" (p.16).
(g2.1)/ Curran, Alvin: "...todesverachtend, lebensbejahend, extasesuchend...". Special issue Improvisation, MusikTexte 86/87 November, 2000.
Historical notes about an important Italian music phenomenon of the seventies and on, Musica elettronica Viva.
(g2.1)/ Decroupet, Pascal: "Vers une theorie generale", MusikTexte 98, August, 2003.
Includes analysis of Mobile by Henri Pousseur and other works - there are mutual reactions, listening pauses, modifying what you play next according to what you have heard.
(g2.1)/ Debrunner, Ruedi (2016): "Schwarm 13", Improfil 79, 2016, 53-56, Mai, p.21-24.
Short documentation of an initiative of concert activity in Berlin based on improvisation within a framework of "sculpture - swarm - conversation" and some additional programming. See also the larger version Bergstroem-Nielsen et al (2016:G2.1).
(g2.1)/ Drees, Stefan: "Erinnerungen mit Beethoven. Kagels Fragment - Hommage in der "Musikzimmer-Szene" von "Ludwig van" (1969/70)", MusikTexte 120, Februar 2009, p.153-156.
Information and comments around the film and the published score "Ludwig van. Hommage von Beethoven", Universal Edition, Wien 1970. This score consists of photographs of rooms and furniture covered with fragments from Beethoven's works put together in collage manner. It it to be interpreted freely by instruments ad lib.
(g2.1)/ Dudda, Friedrich: "Die Wurzel aller Modernität. Die Bedeutung des Ausdrucks "Improvisation" im Idiolekt von Pierre Boulez". "Schlechte Unterhaltungsmusik? Pierre Boulez und die Grenzen der Improvisation". MusikTexte 131, November 2011, p. 28-32 and 33-36.
Boulez was greatly inspired by poet Mallarmé and composer Debussy because of the ambiguous aspects of their works, which he saw as expressions of spontaneity and as improvisational qualities. He also saw "improvisatory" qualities as essential to his own music - by which he meant certain possibilities to freely combine parts of some works, or to let some parameters open, tempo for instance, at certain spots in his compositions. In order for a composition to be aesthetically successful, he views it as an absolute nescessity that both eye and ear must be involved. That is, there must be planning and reasoning, and thus for him improvisation can only make sense as a finish, as the last step in realising a musical work. Forms of improvisation more free than that could only become aesthetic failures according to him, and he judged them as childish.
The second article investigates the thesis by Boulez that the aim of the musical work is to allow us to become more ourselves and constantly to open up new, unexpected spaces. Seen in relation to free improvisation, according to the author, on the grounds of his own arguments Boulez could not think that good free improvised music was logically impossible, only that it would, empirically, be improbable. However, many phenomena in art history have to do with letting go of control and seem to be able to fulfill the aim he formulated and which was stated above. Seen in relation to "conceptual improvisation", to open forms of composition (which, for Dudda, seems to include a practise of "work in progress"), he notes that the function of writing itself is reflected on in this form - only during the compositional work it will become apparent which functions writing is going to have. - The fact that Boulez makes negative statements about the limits of improvisation without having a sufficient first-hand knowledge of the practises he rejects shows that his position is a dogmatic and conservative one. Beyond such limited views, it can be noted that group improvisation, being "poly-individual", has a parallel in modern literature in which the central perspective of one narrator has been expanded in favour of unfolding the narrative perspective from several persons.
(g2.1)/ Duch, Michael Francis; Habbestad, Bjørnar: "Lemur in Rehearsal and Performance" in: Rothenberg, David (ed.): vs. Interpretation. An Anthology on Improvisation, Vol.1. Prague (Agosto Foundation), 2015, p. 130-135.
Describes the free-improvising group Lemur's way of working. Rehearsals are for working with exercises designed by the group. These exercises train abilities such as dealing with timbre: "A performer makes a "core" sound and the rest of the ensemble join in, one by one ... A key objective is to >contribute and expand the core sound, but never lose auditory touch with the original. Copying the sound would then be failing the task" (p.131). It is further remarked that "This is a creative challenge, to both identify and extend your perception of a given sound's essence" (p.131). In further work "The task of defining the core is circulated around the ensemble. - Going still further, "The exercise can also be adapted wo work as a tool to explore different instrument registers, instrumental techniques, or a pitch space. Thus one can work with "the isolation of sounds in all different registers on all instruments. Questions like "How can the flute best color or complement a deep bass sound?" or "How must the horn play in order to blend equally with a flute whistle tone" can for instance be posed and solved. (p.131.32)
Performances, however, were free, avoiding any pre-arranging. Lemur can be heard from the USB key which is part of the publication.
(g2.1)/ Eley, Rod: A Short History of the Scratch Orchestra, in: Cardew, Corneilus: Stockhausen serves imperialism, at www.ubu.com, 2004.
Originally published in 1974 (London, Latimer), this is a critical book in which Cardew and others take their new stand against the playful avantgarde activity of the Scratch Orchestra till then and for an orthodox Marxist position. This essay contains also some information about events and tendencies within the orchestra.
(g2.1)/ Feisst, Sabine: "Etwas Unvorhersehbares tun. Zur Bedeutung der Improvisation bei Cage", MusikTexte 106, August, 2005.
Lecture examining the relation of Cage to improvisation, held at conference "New Directions in the Study of Improvisation", Univ. of Illinois 2004 (org. by Bruno Nettl and Gabrioel Solis). The author previously wrote about this subject in her book Feisst (1997;G1.1)
(g2.1)/ Frisk, Henrik: Improvisation, Computers and Interaction. Rethinking Human-Computer Interaction Through Music. PhD, Malmö Academy of Music, Lund University. Doctoral studies and research in fine and performing arts no. 6, 2008. ISSN 1653-8617. Online: http://www.performingarts.lu.se/upload/performingarts/ImprovisationComputersAndInteraction.zip
Investigates how an open score can take shape, based on the computer used in musical performance, which allows for improvisation and for accumulation of experience. An example is worked out, using Integra Class and Csound software. Among others, theoretical references are made to Eco's ideas about the open work (see Eco (1962; G3) and to some concepts taken from Nattiez. These describe "poietic" (constructive), "esthetic" (interpretative) and "neutral" levels - the last one onsists of the trace left by one of the other ones. In both composition and performing there may be an oscillation between poietic and esthetic levels. "...no matter what the current process is, and regardless of the current mode of interaction, the initiative can shift back and forth between the performer and the electronic part", the author states p.162. Even if the the main initiative is seen as coming from the performer, there is also a feedback from the computer. - The author proposes a notion of 'interaction-as-difference' instead of 'interaction-as-control'.
(g2.1)/ Furnell, Rebecca: Declaring Independence: New Experiments and the Political Music of Frederic Rzewski. MA Thesis, Univ. of Manchester, 2000.
About Rzewski and Cardew (Rzewski advised Cardew not to do the Treatise project) and Sound Pool Events.
(g2.1)/ Gooley, Dana: Fantasies of Improvisation: Free Playing in Nineteenth-Century Music. Oxford University Press, 2018. Excerpts available in Google Books.
Provides a wealth of information about improvisors of the 19teenth century and their music cultural context, both from the early part with public improvisations flourishing and from the decline in the latter part, even if some musicians persisted and the notion of improvisation could survive as purely an aesthetic idea. Much recommended as a supplement to the writings of Sanchez-Velasquez (2001;G1.1 and 2015;G1.1). Abbé Vogler, J. N. Hummel, Ignaz Moscheles, Robert Schumann, Carl Loewe, and Franz Liszt are treated in detail, among many other names and pieces of information. The ending chapter includes critical discussions of the writings of Ferand (see "old department of this bibliography) and of Critical Studies in Improvisation (g1.2 in the new department).
(g2.1)/ Groetz, Thomas: "Nordeuropäische Dorfmusik, Traktoren und Windräder. Zur Alltagsästhetik von Sven-Åke Johansson. MusikTexte 129, Mai 2011, p.4-9.
Quoting sketches of compositions by Johansson, which seem to be mainly for the composers' own memorising. In the same issue there is also one more article about Johansson by Peter Ablinger and a list of works.
(g2.1)/ Gronemeyer, Gisela and Oehlschlägel, Reinhard (ed) (2007): Frederic Rzewski: Nonsequiturs. Writings & Lecures on Improvisation, Composition, and Interpretation. / Frederic Rzewski: Unlogische Folgerungen. Schriften und Vorträge zu Improvisation, Komposition und Interpretation. Köln: Edition MusikTexte. Part of a series: Edition MusikTexte 009. All texts appear in both languages.
This collection of materials related to Rzewski contains both considerations of a general and political nature regarding music and writings touching specifically on improvisation and related matters. Among the latter are "Little bangs" (p.48) and "A Fresh new wind" (p.144). ("Little Bangs" previously appeared in Current Musicology Fall 1999, no.67, p.386. Such bibliographical notes on texts are not part of this anthology). Further "Inspiring the love of the art. Teaching composition tomorrow" which reflects on the increasingly collaborative qualities in innovative music. Giving thoughts to performance has now become a nescessity according to this, an area which was formerly left to performers and technicians.
Further "Creating out of nothing" (p.154). And there is a whole section in the book with documentation around Musica Elettronica viva (MEV). A peculiar documentation text is to be found here around "Zuppa". This was an improvisation event held several times. Although only the title and no further explicit agreements existed before playing, it nevertheless became a notion of a certain kind of music-making, similar to some of the prose pieces. In addition to Rzewski's description, Alvin Curran also has provided a list of instruments available, which makes it more clear what could make it tempting to the audience to take part. So this is a rare description of a "greyzone composition" between composition and improvisation, taking shape, as it seems, also from the recurring performances. Rare, because those who create such "pieces" often do not often describe the process to others, and so it remains obscure, in some cases also wilfully so. - "Provisory confession" is a text from 1964 going into some details of notation and performance in selected compositions. More up to date is the large the collection of program notes that also reveal glimpses of such aspects. Finally can be mentioned some articles from Vinton (1974; H2.2 as well as mentioned with some individual authors). One of these, "Intellect and intuition. Non-metrical rhythm since 1950", quotes Edges by Chr. Wolff in extenso.
Importantly, this book also makes some verbal scores ("prose pieces") available in both English and German language. These are, confusingly, not designated as such in the table of contents, but here is a list:
Imitation Love p.116
Second structure p.144
Work songs p.284
Sound Pool p.324
Second Structure, Spacecraft and Sound Pool are also online at IIMA.
The reader is strongly advised to search both the present addenda section and the previous one of the bibliography for literature and pieces by and about Rzewski. Both since he has in recent years written some articles of a larger scale than most of those compiled in this book, and because the various materials supplement each other well.
(g2.1)/ Guy, Barry: "Graphic Scores". www.pointofdeparture.org 38 . Downloaded 29.april 2012. French translation originally published in L'Art du jazz (Éd. du Félin), 2011.
The composer comments on Bird Gong Game, Witch Gong Game, Un Coup de Dès and Ceremony. The typical way of working seems to include providing of both pitches and others kinds of material, presented in visually separate sections (maybe in some cases to be chosen from by conductor or soloist?). Visual design ofteh reflect the perceived background and atmosphere of the composition. Compositions are also tailored to the individual occasions. Even so, at least Bird Gong Game was performed later with many different soloists. The article is a short one - many instruction details are not explained, and the colour illustrations are in low resolution (although prints exist for sale). It is, however, much to be welcomed because of the importance of documenting these works that integrate visual design on a very high level with composition.
(g2.1) Herndler, Christoph: Wegmarken beim notieren unvorhersehbare Ereignisse. Magazin 31 Nr 16/17 ISSN 1660-2609 (Schweiz), 2011A.
Describes own works by the author and states points of view of interest in notation issues. Works are notated as schematic patterns, the elements of which represent musical incidents to be created by the musician.
Thus, there is a wish to "share the formal, not the acoustic aspect" of the music, to "not only write down the music but also to communicate it" ('nicht nur festhalten sondern auch mitzuteilen').
There are precise demands made on the musician, however. Supermixen for a string instrument has signs for bow pressure, position of the bow and for finger pressure. Abgeschnitten, der Kreis... has been presented in a version with independent, simultaneous versions taking place in music and through the camera. Streifend der blick... also may involve moving in space. The author remarks that the freedom involved here is not "tabula rasa" but comparable to a "freeclimber" climbing a sheer cliff. There is spontaniety, but one cannot go in all directions.
More generally it is stated at the end that notation served ends of reproduction. With todays' advanced reproduction means, this is not nescessary any more in order to recall a performance, although huge quantities of music are still "preserved" in this way. The author strives instead to pass on the ideas of musical processes in a less subjective form.
See also Neuner (2011;G.2.1)
(g2.1)/ Johnston, Peter (2009): Fields of Production and Streams of Consciousness: Negotiating the Musical and Social Practices of Improvised Music. PhD, York University Toronto, Ontario. Downloaded 1.August 2020 from https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/thesescanada/vol2/002/NR64922.PDF
An ethnographic description of the London free improvisation scene. Based on interviews collected 2006-2007 with musicians John Edwards, Steve Noble, Evan Parker, Tom Perchard, Barre Philips, Eddie Prevost, Howard Riley, Mark Wastel, Trevor Watts, Kenny Wheeler, as well as Martin Davidson, Tim Fletcher and Ben Watson (working with recording and writing). Inspirations for the method used were authors Georgina Born and Bourdieu. Issues of hierarchy of musicians and competition are explored; economy and survival strategies. Also that of a new generation fighting its way with a new kind of music, reductionism. Reductionists share the fundamental common and defining notion of setting itself apart from idiomatic music forms, however, and younger musicians may generally have less reservations towards influences from other musics. Two "classic" groupings serve as a fixpoint for choosing some of the interview subjects: SME (Spontaneous music ensemble) with its short, call-response sounds, and AMM with long, overlaying sounds ("laminal").
(g2.1)/ Jost, Ekkehard: Free Jazz. Graz, 1974. Reprinted 2003, Part of a series: Beiträge zur Jazzforschung; 4. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed.
(g2.1)/ Kager, Reinhard: "Spontaneität versus Reproduktion. Einige Gedanken zur Situation des Improvisierens heute", MusikTexte 111, November, 2006.
Mainstream jazz is critisized for having a reproductive attitude and thus having alienated itself from the former creative spirit of jazz. As positive developments the author sees the use of computers in freely improvised music and interest in improvisation from classical avantgarde composers. Reference is made to Adorno, Berendt, Noglik, Lewis and Wilson.
(g2.1)/ Kager, Reinhard: "Elektronische Impulse. Über die Bedeutung des Computers in der improvisierten Musik", MusikTexte 115, November, 2007.
Comments and quotings by musicians who share the view that the computer is becoming just another instrument in improvised ensemble playing.
(g2.1)/ Karkoschka, Erhard: "Aspects of Group Improvisation", http://www.intuitivemusic.dk/iima/ek.htm 1971 (transl.2004).
Translation from German of the classical article by Erhard Karkoschka from 1971 on improvisation as a liberating experience seen from a composer's point of view. (g2.1)/ Lukoszevieze, Anton: "Die Welt als Musik durchwandern" - "Nahezu komplettes annotiertes Werkverzeichnis Philip Corner", MusikTexte 99, December 2003.
The last title contains a list of verbally and graphically notated works by this Fluxus-orientated composer which is comprehensive and annotated - among other things, instrumentation and notation are stated.
(g2.1)/ Kunkel, Michael (ed.) et al: "Diskussion...". Dissonance, Schweizer Musikzeitschrift für Forschung und Kreation 111, December 2010, p.64-77. Also online: http://www.dissonance.ch/de/hauptartikel/82
Contributions from not less than 35 authors who comment the article Meyer (2010; G2.2). For a continuation of the discourse, see Nanz (2011; G2.1)
(g2.1)/ Lekfeldt, Jørgen: "Som tiden går - portræt af Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen", Dansk Musiktidsskrift 2, oktober + 3, november, 2001/02.
Examines and analyses selected work dealing with improvisation in various ways, among others Quadrivium for piano (1972), Mimesis I for wind quintet (1974), Postcard-Music (1976), pieces from "improvisationskalender" (1996) and Frameworks (2000f). Includes lists of selected works, of recordings and of selected writings on music (especially in Danish).
(g2.1)/ Lewis, George E.: A power stronger than itself: the AACM and American experimental music. Chicago (University of Chicago Press), 2008.
This book provides a thorough social history of Afro-American tendencies up to and through the AACM movement centered in Chicago. This includes reviewing their background in jazz practise and their development with "free jazz" musicians such as Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Wadada Leo Smith, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams (Richard Louis Abrams).
Unlike the white music forums, jazz in the fifthies did hardly know of preservational and educational institutions. Instead, it relied on autodidact practises, strongly supported by a communitarian context. Social status was clearly low-class. The "late night" sessions of the mid-fifthies in Chicago described is an example. Jazz was long known to white audiences, but bebop departed from prevalent enterteinment expectations and became controversial. The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, AACM, founded in 1965, was a collective endeavour of both promotional and educational self-organisation. It grew in Chicago and spread to New York too. Members also appeared in Europe with success.
AACM's members were black, but they operated within an increasingly mixed American city culture. Many of the musicians had migrated to Chicago from the South, finding themselves in a new urban environment. Significantly, many AACM initiatives were reviewed by the Down Beat Magazine, even if critics were often negative. Also testifying to the mixedness and interpenetration of cultural elements is the influence of the Russian art theoretician Joseph Schillinger on Muhal Richard Abrams and others. His ideas dealt with systematic structures in a way comparable to those of Messiaën and the serialists. Quoting Henry Threadgill (p.500), there was indeed a "crossing over" to white avantgarde music. Acculturation, pluralism seems relevant keywords for this long development, which (the present author speculates) seemed to have begun already with the slaves adopting elements from white march music. Seen from the white side (present author continued), jazz pushed the white avantgarde in improvisational directions, both indirectly to aleatoric and indeterminate procedures (according to Braxton quoted in Cox (2004; H1) p.164) and directly (see summary of Noglik (1990;G1.1)).
Even so, Lewis quotes a number of black musicians for statements about personal and emotional attatchment to their music, contrasting to the cultivation of the impersonal with Cage and other indeterminalists (p.41). This provides some more background substance for the claims stated in Lewis (1996; G3) and in the article by Lewis included in Fischlin and Heble (2004; G3). Yet, how far do generalisations go - do not overlappings exist here too?
The author aims at "encouraging the production of new histories of experimentalism in music" and asserts that the developments described generally influenced "the relationship of improvisation to composition" (preface, xiii). Yet, the compositional methods, in particular the notations, remain unfortunately outside the focus. We are solely given three score excerpts by Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell and Wadada Leo Smith (illustrations between p.216 and 217) with no explanations. White experimental music was influenced by the surrounding written culture and benefited from publishing. But now, as jazz is receiving extensive study also on the academic level, this large white field on the map could indeed be filled. PhD writers, go ahead!
(g2.1)/ Lothwesen, Kai (2009): Klang - Struktur - Konzept. Die Bedeutung der Neuen Musik für Free Jazz und Improvisationsmusik. Bielefeld (transcript Verlag).
The book provides details leading to the conclusions summarised in Lothwesen (2012; G1.2). Other than that, two remarks can be made:
1) in the introduction there are interesting statements aout the phenomenon of anachronism when elements from art music are taken over in a jazz context as well as vice versa (p.9-11). No examples are stated, beyond bebop being of no interest to art music composers - and Third Stream as well as Free Jazz being exceptions to the rule. The reader may think for him/herself...
2) There is detailed analysis of the music of Georg Gräwe, Alexander von Schlippenbach and Barry Guy on the phenomenological basis of the author commenting his perception of recordings. This is unfortunately not very enlightening of one seeks information about precisely how these composers worked to integrate composition and improvisation - even with this being explicitly stated as a main interest with the two latter ones. We are left with very sparse suggestions: Gräwe utilises written structures as jumping-off boards for improvisation. And we are told that the integration of composition and improvisation was very important to von Schlippenbach and that this also lies behind the name "Globe Unity Orchestra". In one case the author even suggests that the reader may hear for himself: "Die klanglichen Auswirkungen planerischer Vorarbeit...können gut anhand von Höreindrücken erfasst und verfolgt werden" ("the sounding results of previous planning work...may be perceived and followed well from hearing" (p.142). Even with this being so, there is an acute need to describe what the composers actually did while one can still ask them or collaborators who knows.
(g2.1) Lothwesen, Kai: "The Role of Contemporary Music for the Development of European Improvised Music". In: Jazz, improvised music and contemporary composition: convergences and antinomies (= Filigran 8, S.69-82), hrsg. von Pierre Michel. Edition Delatour. ISSN 2261-7922. Online: http://revues.mshparisnord.org/filigrane/pdf/356.pdf. Published 26.January 2012.
Investigates works by jazz composers Gräwe, Barry Guy, and Schlippenbach as influenced by contemporary music (Webern, Ligeti, Xenakis) as well as contemporary music composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann who collaborated with Schoof, Zimmermann and others. A statistical analysis of verbal statements documents the difference between the way critics and musicians describe the music. A theoretical model accounts for the differing but ultimately related rethorical characteristics: legitimation of "European Free Jazz" regarding the critics and "Initial for inspiration and striving for social prestige" for the musicians. It is concluded that "Whereas emancipation appears to be a historical phenomenon, assimilation continues to be a challenge for improvising musicians, giving rise to fascinating listening experiences". Nevertheless, the author stresses that motifs for approaching those tendencies are individual. - This article summarises the author's book Klang – Struktur – Konzept. Die Bedeutung der Neuen Musik für Free Jazz und Improvisationsmusik. Bielefeld (transcript), 2009.
(g2.1)/ Maschat, Mathias (2011): Kollektive Kreativität. Das Splitter Orchester - ein Paradebeispiel. Positionen 89, November, p.31-34. Also online: http://berlinsplitter.org/index.php?article_id=117
Discusses the way to play in a large improvisors' orchestra. Mentions a number of other orchestras, among others: ICP Orchestra, Multiple Choice Orchestra (Cologne), Ensemble X (Cologne, founded by Carl Ludwig Hübsch), ÖNCZkekvist (Austria/Norway/Chech), Action Sound Painting Orchestra, CHeltanham Improvisors Orchestra, Erstes improvisierendes Streichorchester, Feral Choir, Glasgow Improvisors orchestra, Insub Meta Orchestra, International Composers and Improvisors Forum Munic, Klang-Drang Orchestra, London Kazz Composers Orchestra, Millefleur, Oxford Improvisors Orchestra, Royal Improvisors Orchestra, São Paulo Improvisors Orchestra, Second Nature (Baltimore's Improvising Orchestra, Swiss Improvisers Orchestra, Variable Geometry Orchestra, Vienna Improvisors Orchestra, Wuppertaler Improvisationsorchester.
(g2.1)/ Metzner, Susanne: "hear and everywhere", Einblicke 13, 2002.
Accounts of a course at Magdeburg. Participants worked independently of each other and communicated via a billboard
(g2.1)/ Meyer, Thomas: "Über das Verfertigen von Präludien. Eine Gebrauchskunst zwischen Komposition und Improvisation", Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. Tema-nummer om improvisation. No. 4, Juli/August, 1999.
On historical improvisation guides by among others Clementi, Couperin, Gretry, Telemann, Kalkbrenner.
(g2.1)/ Meyer, Thomas: "Ist die freie Improvisation am Ende?". Dissonance, Schweizer Musikzeitschrift für Forschung und Kreation 111, September 2010, p.4-9. Also online: http://www.dissonance.ch/upload/pdf/diss111.hb_04_09.pdf (including abstracts in German, French, Italian and English)
The author takes some detailed looks at improvised music in Switzerland twenty-one years after Meyer (1989; G2.1). It has become much more established and integrated into educational institutions. However, the author thinks there is still an absence of reflection and afterthought, even despite a number of large congresses has been held (Tagung für improvisierte Musik Luzern), and even though there has been a close collaboration between the Swiss Composers' Union (Schweizerischer Tonkunstlerverein) and the improvisor's organisation Swiss Musicians' Cooperative (MusikerInnen Kooperative Schweiz) as joint publishers of Dissonance Magazine until 1996 when the latter was dissolved.
He asks whether the idea(s) of free improvisation are now outdated and absorbed into mainstream, since there is neither much discussion nor seemlingly intense activity related to it with the young generations as it seems to him.
See also the numerous reactions to this article Kunkel et al. (2010; G2.1). For a continuation of the discourse, see Nanz (2011; G2.1)
(g2.1)/ Mockus, Martha: Sounding Out: Pauline Oliveros and Lesbian Musicality. New York (Routledge) 2007.
This book examines the influence of lesbian commuinities and "second wave feminism" on Oliveros' work. Sonic Meditations has been devoted a chapter for itself. More about it in the review by Tracy M. McMullen in Critical Studies in Improvisation, Vol.4, no.2, 2008.
(g2.1)/ Nanz, Dieter A.: "Improvisieren und Forschen. Gedanken am Rande der Basler Improvisationsmatineen". MusikTexte 114, August 2007, p.83-84.
Thoughts around the improvisation matinés in Basel which started 2003. Improvisation has become established at conservatories. An immanent critique of the music form is suggested, emerging from the experience of its rhapsodic character. A critical view of the theorising part of the series is presented, after an acclaim of the performance part. The author proposes to study the philosophy of Merlau-Ponty (with 'body knowledge' as a notion) in order to find a theoretical basis which is not a result of forced theorising that fails to connect to its object of study because of an unreflected striving towards being objective.
See also the book Nanz (2011; G2.1), a book written by contributors to the series.
(g2.1)/ Neuner, Florian: "Die Sache selbst. Zu Subjekt/Objekt". Booklet to DVD "Subjekt/Objekt", Brucknerhaus Linz, 2011. Cop. by Ch.Herndler, M.Scherer
An introduction to Christoph Herndler's principles of composition - close to the descriptions by Herndler himself (2011;G2.1) but worth reading for the authors' way of throwing this into relief with traditional ways of reproducing music from the sheet. For instance: "...no score from which one could write out parts and which would then suggest the limited role of each musician in the large whole. Every musician have at all times the total "score" to look at. The formal construction is not a riddle which you would have to approach through analysing it first. It is quite open und accessible to every musician."
Also liner notes to the content which is a version of "abgeschnitten, der kreis" for large ensemble and a number of video cameras, a performer and a drawing artist. This work was also discussed by Herndler in (2011;G2.1).
(g2.1)/ Neuner, Florian: "Auf der Spitze des Eisbergs. Die Berliner Komponistin und Verlegerin Juliane Klein". MusikTexte 139, p.5-13. Includes a list of works.
Juliane Klein did her first studies in the DDR with, among others, composer Hermann Keller who taught her improvisation and composition. She later developed her own form of open composition. It seems to rely for the most part on verbal instructions, judging from the example quoted. This is a section in extenso ("work sheet") from the opera "Allein" (2012). It states some reflections on the dramatic content and provides a poetic description of the desired atmosphere, as well as some concrete musical guidelines.
(g2.1)/ Nonnenmann, Rainer: "Wanderer, kommst du nach...?", in: MusikTexte 102, August, 2004.
Includes a discussion of problems with late works by Nono which were written in close collaboration with musicians. They remain bound to those specific persons and are hard to approach by others - the know-how remained implicit with Nono and those musicians.
(g2.1)/ Nonnenmann, Rainer: "Wider den Utopieverlust. Mathias Spahlingers "doppelt bejaht" beschreitet neue Bahnen". MusikTexte 124, Februar 2010.
Introduction and comments. Quotes four of the sheets of this graphically and verbally notated piece.
(g2.1)/ Nonnenmann, Rainer: "Jenseits des Gesangs. Sprach- und Vokalkomposition von Schwitters bis Schnebel". MusikTexte 126, August 2010.
Quotes from Schnebel: Glossolalie 61 (Edition Schott ED 6414, ISMN 979-0-001-06833-8, - and cop. 1974 according to Nonnenmann) which is a worked-out version of the basic composition Glossolalie, still existing as an unpublished model - cf. the remarks about Schnebel (1972;C2). This unpublished model, we are told here, was to be used by musicians to make their own version, in order that they would really, as Schnebel puts it, "play their own music and not follow someone else' s command". This quotation is from "glossolalie (1959) für Sprecher und Instrumentalisten, Vorabzug des unveröffentlichten Manuskripts, Mainz: Schott, ohne Jahr, 1". There is also a quotation from "Exerzitienmaterial für Atemzüge", also unpublished material as it seems, cop. 1974 Schott. - There are as well quotations from Hans G. Helms (Fa:m ' Ahniesgwow) and Berberian (Stripsody).
(g2.1)/ Ochs, Larry (2000): Devices and Strategies for structured improvisation, in: Zorn, John (ed.): Arcana. Musicians on music. New York (Granary Books/Hips Road). P. 325-335.
One of the extremely rare accounts in detail of how compositional work can be done on a background of avantgarde jazz, rather than experimental classical music. The author was inspired by Steve Lacy, Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, Cecil Taylor, Roscoe Mitchell and John Zorn since 1977. He has composed for the Rova saxophone quartet. A large number of works of his are described so that different compositional designs become clear, both how they work in themselves and how they differ. - Basis of his method is the familiar improvised jazz solo. Duos with simultaneous "soloists" are frequently employed, also multiple duos. Given melodic/thythmic materials influence the character of the pieces - they may be extended to a very high degree with ever new freely improvised, maybe contrasting materials, along the way. Further, shifts (sometimes repeated after a short time) are made to happen by means of cues, and several or all musicians can be in charge of those. The author states about his way of composition that the given material ("starting material" and "finishing material", also additionally designed as "musical or thematic material") as well as the "limits of expression put on the outcome by the composer" (p.333) are decisive as to the outcome, not the structure of the piece. He also characterises the extra benefits of open composition: "...the decision to use (structured) improvisation ... to create the possibility of even more... than the composer imagined possible... Or, at the very least, to allow for the possibility of different - or fresh realizations... with each performance" (p.326).
(g2.1)/ Parsons: The Scratch Orchestra and Visual Arts, Leonardo Music Journal 11,1, 2001.
Contains good, detailed accounts of the history of the Scratch Orchestra. Also activity of Portsmouth Sinfonia and Fluxus is treated
(g2.1)/ Pfleiderer, Martin: "Herausforderung. Der englische Saxophonist John Butcher", MusikTexte 86/87 november, 2000.
(g1.2)/ Polaschegg, Nina: Gegenseitiges Befruchten und Durchdringen. Zum Spannungsfeld von Komposition und Improvisation. MusikTexte 139, November 2013.
Characterises a number of composers from the "middle or younger generation" who take interest in improvised music. Some of thesestudy it before writing fixed compositions. What is new about this is the existence of an improvised music scene. Some composers may also be improvisors themselves. Others make it part of the performance. Jorge Sanchez-Chiong (living in Vienna) creates ad hoc compositions for specific musicians and combines sometimes traditional interpreters and improvisors in one piece. In Salzburg, composer Gerhard E. Winckler's "Bikini Atoll" some details are left to the musician's discretion, and a live-electronic part will react, unpredictably, to what was played. In German Karlheinz Essl's "more or less" for improvisors, short verbal directions are computer generated during performance. Lindsay Vickery is from Australia and part of the "Decibel" ensemble - "Transit of Venus" is notated in outlines. Belgian Stefan Prins combines fixed parts and parts notated in outlines in "ventriloquium". All mentioned works are illustrated in the article with samples from the scores.
(g2.1)/ Prèvost, Edwin: The First Concert. An Adaptive Appraisal of a Meta Music. (Copula, Matchless) 2011.
This author's first book filled with thoughts on improvised music and related was Prèvost (1995;G3), viewing improvisation as "self-invention", according to its subtitle. The next, Prèvost (2004;G3) had as subtitle "meanings in music-making in the wake of hierachical realignments andother essays". It dealt with the author's view of various recent and past tendencies in music history and life. The present work presents a new idea as its framework, an "adaptive" perspective inspired by evolution theory. This seems an interesting supplement to materialistic history views. As the author concedes (p.xi), primary source is "personal observations" rather than "scholarship". The term of adaptation acts as a loose framework for a gentle reviewing of various matters of special interest to the author, sometimes asking more questions than are being answered. Matters may deal with the historic development of improvised and experimental music. The looseness becomes apparent for this author for instance when (p.209ff) two verbal scores (by Allison Knowles and Markus Trunk) are given an "adaptative" analysis - but the text does not make it clear how their contribution to "change our perception of things" is related to ideas of adaptation, such as discussed elsewhere in the book.
But some interpretations of adaptation in music are indeed stated: serialism and science; a punk-dance originating in jumping in order to catch a glimpse of the band playing (chapter 2); free jazz as a turning towards "simpler values" (chapter 6); ecstacy as a creator of "cognitive fluidity" and serialism as both reflecting war economy and a search for "otherness" (chapter 8). Basic virtues with the improvising musician (meta-musician) of being empathetic and un-selfconscious are seen as a "biological imperative" (chapter 13). [For some important additional info, see Prèvost (2016;G3)]
Chapter 10 describes the authors' weekly London workshops which have been running since 1999, their standard procedures and experiences made. It has thus a special documentary value (see also Chase's report (2006;G3)). P. 76-81 deal with Cardew's Treatise.
In chapter 11, "Improvisation - Self-plagianism - Ventriloquism", concepts describing various improvisor's roles towards musicians they have learnt from and towards themselves are sugggested.
In this book as in the previous ones, the language can serve as a delicious lesson of advanced English, employing a large vocabulary to learn from. Just one example: "To remain dumbfounded by such a situation - to choose, or allow, oneself to be persuaded not to speak of it - is a type of moral cowardice" (p.218).
(g2.1)/ Reimann, Christoph: "Kollektives Individuum. Das Berliner Splitter Orchester". MusikTexte, August 2013, 29-35.
The "Splitter Orchester" was founded in 2010 by Clare Cooper, Clayton Thomas und Gregor Hotz. Cooper and Thomas came from Australia where they had another "splitter orchestra" with a workshop character. The founders invited twenty-four more improvising musicians to participate. The orchestra works in the public sphere - one concert in August 2010 was at Berlin Central train station. It has some historic connections to what has been called "Berlin reductionism" with long pauses, much use of noise and a selective approach to sound. The orchestra works mainly with free improvisations - however, informed by exercises. All members can bringh their proposals and alternate as rehearsal leaders. Some exercises are simple, such as: "We play a crescendo having the duration of three minutes" or, "Play in such way that you can still hear the most quiet instrument". The article describes also two other exercises posing more complex tasks.
The orchestra performed a version of Mathias Spahlinger's "doppel bejaht" during the Darmstadt Summer Courses. This is a composition consisting of individual parts, each of which is notated with verbal means and accompanied by a graphic sketch. The article quotes one of these (number 3). The title may be translated as "cluster (or infinite multitude of pitches)" - German: Klangband (oder unendlich viel Tonhöhen). "Long and less long durations, solely individidual tones adding up to chords which change gradually all the time. No connected tones, melodies nor rhythms./Players start and stop their tone as well as make pauses ad libitum, then they play the same tone, or a different one. Always individually: do not start or end simultaneously with other musicians". After each section, there are three possible next sections to choose from. After each section, musicians are to agree non-verbally on which to play next. During rehearsals, a selection of sections was made. This was, according to the author, to a high degree based on actual instrumental possibilities.
(g2.1)/ Rieger, Gerd: "Das Gedächtnis in der Improvisation - das 12. Improvisiakum vom 5. bis 7.November 2010 in Köln", Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation LXXIV, april 2011, p. 77-78.
A Report from the improvisor's meeting in Cologne with the theme "memory in improvisation" led by Reinhard Gagel. Participants first played in sub-groups, then they left individually one by one in order to join a different group, but they were to re-use some short musical figures or elements in their new group. Later in plenary meeting these elements were played and used in various ways again. One more meaning of "memory" was explored later, that of how individual experiences with music and movement i early years influence us later on.
(g2.1)/ ringgespräch über gruppenimprovisation LXVIII, June, 2002.
Speciel issue on improvisation following recipes. Various exercises and pieces are quoted around in this issue.
g2.1/ Rutherford, Paul: Telephone conversation with Paul Rutherford, 4/5, 2000. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed as a special exception.
g2.1/ Rzewski, Frederic; Teitelbaum, Richard: liner notes to CD MEV Musica Elettronica viva "Friday". plana-M 29/NMN.073, 2008.
Rzewski's contribution deals with utopian aspects of this composers' group which members abandoned composition for improvisation. This was, according to Rzewski, about creating "meaningful rituals, not images". The group process "tends to be more intense than any solitary activity such as composition, this is because living in a group tends to amplify all experiences, both the positive and the negative ones". Music-making should be freed from commercialism and passive adoration of stars - then "the "concert" will come to resemble other liberated forms such as the party or the day-off, themselves secular remnants of earlier ceremonies".
Teitelbaum's "MEV then and now" discusses the inclusiveness typical of the historic time in which the group was active. It is stated to be an excerpt of "Some MEV Memories" (no further references are given).
(g2.1)/ Sanderson, Griselda: Creating a Dialogue through Improvisation in Cross-Cultural Collaborations. Music and Arts in Action vol.5 (1), 2016, 19-37. Online (use link above).
Accounts for a project of collaboration between musicians with Scottish and African backgrounds, difficulties and rewards. It is seen as essential that participants take time to get to know each other's traditions and that each tradition is retained to some degree in the composite product. Oral transmission is seen as the main way to communicate. An encouraging aspect was the willingness of musicians living away from their original countries to share their knowledge.
(g2.1)/ Saunders, James: "Vielfalt der Konfigurationen. Modulare Musik", MusikTexte 130, August 2011, p.58-74.
Composer James Saunders accounts for his ideas about "modular composition" which leaves details open for the musician's own interpretation and allows the works to have different durations. Reference is also made to similar procedures in works by John Cage and Matthias Spahlinger (128 erfüllte Augenblicke, 1975). In the same issue there is an article by Max Nyffeler, "Konzeptionelle Spiele" (53-57) and a work list. In Nyffeler's article he is also quoted for taking Chr. Wolff's orchestra piece "Ordinary Matter" (2001) as a model.
g2.1/ Schwabe, Matthias: "Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen: From the Danish Seasons" in: Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation, März, 2000. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed as a special exception.
(g2.1)/ Schwabe, Matthias: "Kontrollierter Kontrollverlust? Die offene Bühne im Exploratorium Berlin" in: improfil Nr.78, April 2015, p.14-18. Exploratorium is a Berlin venue for improvised music concerts and a large number of workshops. It also features several kinds of open scenes each month. In this article, the founder and frequent leader of open scenes discusses candidly his observations of pitfalls and difficulties which participants may experience, as well as organisational measures. For instance, he comments on the importance of experienced ensemble improvisors being present: "The evening will only be successful when 3 to 4 of such experienced ensemble musicians are present".
(g2.1)/ Matthias Schwabe: Experiment versus Multi-Stilistik. Workshops mit zwei Heroen der imporiviserten Musik.improfil. Theorie und Praxis improvisierter Musik 80, Dezember 2017, 76-78
About the different approaches taken by Eddie Prèvost and Fred Frith during workshops led in Berlin. Prèvost focused, as far as can be seen here, exclusively on simple round structures creating new trio constellations again and again. This could lead to very intense results, but only after some time's practise, seemingly because of more challenge presented by this as might be assumed. Frith presented a variety of exercises, one dealing with interaction ability and requiring both imitating and contrasting sounds sent round in a circle (one clockwise, the other anti-colckwise) at the same time.
(g2.1)/ Seuthe, Marei: "Offene Bühne - Thema der Frühjahrstagung März 2014 des ring für gruppenimprovisation". improfil Nr.78, April 2015, p.11-12.
Provides an overview of regular open scenes for freely improvised music in Germany, with illuminating descriptions of the interestingly different procedures for making constellations of musicians and discussing the music or not. Also there is summarising from a discussion dealing with how to lead workshops, to promote loyalty and responsibility among participants and avoid conflicts which may repress their creativity.
(g2.1)/ Spahlinger, Mathias: "Veruneinheitlichende Ideen. Mathias Spahlinger spricht über den Komponisten Hans Wütrich", Dissonance, September 2010, p.48-55.
Includes a quote from, and comments on, Hans Wütrich's Kommunikationsspiele (1973).
(g2.1)/ Spahlinger, Mathias: Politische Implikationen des Materials der neuen Musik. MusikTexte 150, August 2016, p.57-72. First printed (in English) in: Contemporary Music Review 34 (2-3), 2015, p.127-166.
Includes a long commentary to the improvisational piece "doppelt bejaht" (p.68-72) with numerous illustrations of entire sections. One may thus play sections of the work from this material.
(g2.1)/ Stewart, Jesse: Musical Improvisation and the Academy. Music and Arts in Action vol.5 (1), 2016, 38-44. Online (use link above).
Comments on the historical developments marginalising improvised music which he sees as due to the appearance of printed music. This solidified further into ethnic and social hierarchies which began to dissolve in experimental music and which are now being questioned. A background of recent Canadian research activity in public funding is described. The author finally expresses the hope that academic interest will not take away its creative power as an independent, interdisciplinary cultural agent.
(g2.1)/ Paul Steinbeck: Analyzing the Music of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, in: Dutch Journal of Music Theory 2008, vol.1,8. Accessed from djnt.nl 28.October 2016. Links to audio examples were not functioning.
Two concerts from 1972 and 1981 are scrutinised according to the author's Monson-inspired notion of "interactive framework". Previous analyses of improvised jazz are also reviewed - Berliner, Hodson, Travis Jackson, Monson, Reinholdsson, Rinzler as well as previous literature on the Art Ensemble: Pfleiderer, Kirorr, Borgo.
(g2.1)/ Sutherland, Roger: "The Death of the Scratch Orchestra: A Personal Account", Noisegate 8, 2002?.
A very good contribution to the historical account; provides various details.
(g2.1)/ Szczulkun, Stefan: Exploding Cinema 1992-1999, culture and democracy. PhD (Royal College of Art, London) http://www.stefan szczelkun.org.uk, 2002.
The section 1.02 contains an informative personal account of the author's time with the Scratch Orchestra.
(g2.1)/ Trudu, Antonio: "Randbemerkungen zu Franco Evangelistis Schriften", Muenz, Harald (ed.): "...hin zu einer neuen Welt. Notate zu Franco Evangelisti, Saarbrücken (Pfau) 2002.
P. 33: "1964 he was a co-founder of the improvisation group Nuova consonanza and wrote the following: "It was perfectly clear to me that, taking variants of material as the basis, one could also extend variability to the form: the open work, through which I came to GNIC, is an extreme limit of Western music, but also a return to the origin". Quoted from Nuova Consonanza nel mondo italiano oggi, in: Marcatré, no. 16, 17, 18, 1965, p. 231f.
(g2.1) /Velasco-Pufleau, Luis: "Réflexions sur l'improvisation et l'implication sociale de l'éducation musicale. Dialogue avec Jean-Yves Bosseur. Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critiques en improvisation, Vol 8, No 1 2012.
Interview of the "conversation" type with composer and musicologist Bosseur - see about his works passim in the bibliographies. Among other issues, he quotes from a personal conversation with throws the endeavours behind December 52 into relief by quoting opinions on it by Boulez and Cage before the work was finished. It also appears that Brown intended to break performers' habits by creating graphics he thought could not be interpreted in a traditionally-sounding way.
There are further some remarks on the situation of improvisation and open works in French higher music education and at festivals.
(g2.1)/ Wagner, Thorsten: "Improvisation als "weiteste Ausdehnung des Begriffs der aleatorischen Musik". Franco Evangelisti und die Improvisationsgruppe Nuova Consonza", Muenz, Harald (ed.): "...hin zu einer neuen Welt. Notate zu Franco Evangelisti, Saarbrücken (Pfau) 2002.
About the legendary Italian improvisation group Nuova Consonanza. It was founded winter 1964/65 and was designed to consist solely of composers. In the group, musical works were still cultivated, but open ones. From 1963 (La Scatola) till 1979 Franco Evangelisti did not compose, because he was critical to restauration tendencies. He worked in these years with the improvisation group and with pedagogical electronic music activity
(g2.1) Wagner, Thorsten: Franco Evangelisti und die Improvisationsgruppe Nuova Consonanza. Zum Phänomen Improvisation in der neuen Musik der sechziger Jahre, Saarbrücken (Pfau), 2002.This book focuses closely on the improvisation group Nuova Consonanza which was established by Franco Evangelisti in 1964 and lasted until 1985. Free improvisation was a new phenomenon of that time. A special characteristic of the group was that it consisted of composers. 21 members other than Evangelisti were according to Wagner affiliated with the group (during years stated between parenthesis), among which were: Larry Austin (1965), Mario Bertoncini (1965-74), Walter Branchi (1966-75), Aldo Clementi (1965-66), John Eaton (1965), John Heineman (1965-70), Roland Kayn (1965-67), Frederic Rzewski (1966), William O.Smith (1965), Ivan Vandor (1965-67), Egisto Macchi (1968-), Giovanni Piazza (1971-), Jesus Villa Rojo (1971-), Giancarlo Schiaffini, Antonello Neri, Alessandro Sbordoni (1977-).
Franco Evangelisti viewed improvisation as the logical consequence of his compositional activity, having arrived at the nescessity of letting the performes make choices of their own, and he abandoned his former individual composition practise for working with the group. Members' compositional activity is discussed. The group's way to practise is discussed, dealing with exercises focusing on musical material and on reactions within the ensemble. On the background of these, however, improvisations were carried out freely but, according to Wagner, informed by specific idioms. Usually their duration was relatively short. Wagner undertakes a number of graphic transscriptions of the group's improvisations (some of which are available in reissue on the CD Ed. RZ 1009 from 1992). He employs an analytical vocabulary describing phases of "Texture Games" (constituting phase - establishing phase - modification phase (not always found) - dissolving or transformation phase) - and "Sound event categories" (imitating - confirming/providing variation - modifying) (p.188f).
On the background of his analysis, Wagner conludes that the group's music is indeed a consequence of Evangelisti's conception of aleatoric devices. These he cultivated, to be sure, in opposition to Cageian indeterminacy. Therefore, free improvisation the Evangelisti / Nuova Consonanza way involves a good deal of mental reflection, even if nothing is determined in beforehand.
The book describes additionally a general music history context of the time, of which the analytical remarks p. 48-50 about Chr. Wolff's compositions "Musik als sozialer Prozess" may be especially mentioned here. Duo II, Duet Pieces, Duet II and For 1, 2 or 3 People are treated.
(g2.1)/ Watson, Ben: Derek Bailey and the Story of Free Improvisation, Sabon, Essex (Verso) 2004.
Biography. With a large index comprising many names and concepts
g2.1/ Watts, Trevor: Mail-correspondance with Trevor Watts, May, 2002. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed as a special exception.
(g2.1)/ Wilson /"Person [memories and obituaries concerning Peter Niklas Wilson]", MusikTexte 99, Dezember, 2003.
Contributions by many improvisors and others
(g2.1)/ Wilson, Peter Niklas: "Segen der Konzeptlosigkeit". das Berliner "Zeitkratzer"-Ensemble, MusikTexte 93, Mai, 2002.
(g2.1)/ Wilson, Peter Niklas: "Neue Paradigmen in der Improvisierten Musik. Ein Vortrag beim Achten Darmstädter Jazzforum", MusikTexte 99, Dezember, 2003.
Deals with forms of improvised music which are not connected to jazz and with "reduction" as a keyword with improvisors Burkhard Stangl and Andrea Neumann et al.
(g2.1)/ Wilson, Peter Niklas; Polaschegg, Nina: Bildende Kunst und improvisierte Musik, MusikTexte 103, August, 2004.
(g2)/ See also Jahn (2006;E2); Hintzenstern (A2.2);
(g2.2)/ Bergstroem-Nielsen, Carl: Fixing/Circumscribing/Suggesting/Evoking. An analysis of Stockhausen's text pieces. VBN (Aalborg University), 2006. www.vbn.dk (search for Bergstroem-Nielsen).
Analytical examination of the 31 pieces in Stockhausen's work collections. Close attention is given to the different degrees of precision or directness employed by the composer in describing the musical material. Such degrees were worked out by the composer on the background of serial principles. This repertory thus allows the improvising musician to choose according to his liking how "down-to-earth" or not the playing process should be.
(g2.2)/ Bergstroem-Nielsen, Carl: "Das bekannte auszuschliessen". Stockhausens "Intuitive Musik" und ihre Aufführungspraxis". MusikTexte 118, 2008A. P.63-66.
(g2.2)/ Bergstroem-Nielsen, Carl: "Stockhausen - Improvisation - Musikgeschichte. Gedanken anlässlich des Todes von Karlheinz Stockhausen am 5.12.2007". Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation LXXII, April 2008B, p.38-40.
(g2.2)/ de Cock, Tom (ed): "Some insights on the practice of Stockhausen’s intuitive music in general, and For Times To Come in particular". Stockhausen instructions compiled by Martin Zingsheim from rehearsals with Ensemble für Intuitive Musik Weimar 1991 and 2005. 1991 text translated by Jayne Obst. www.living-scores.com/learn/platform/karlheinzstockhausen/compositions/fortimestocome/
Important documents from Stockhausen rehearsals. Those texts that deal with the individual pieces as well as "Instructions" appear to closely follow Zingsheim's original transscriptions. These are in an easy to read and concise form. Performance practise may vary through the decades even with the composer, but Stockhausen's analysis of the parameters of music sound and pointing out of possible strategies in playing is in all cases a discourse not to be missed.
The remaining text parts (Suggestions - Level Subdivisions -Structuring elements - Surpassing Improvisation - Additional Material) contain a mixture of quotations by Stockhausen and others, ideas proposed by the editor.
The specially interested reader is referred also to Zingsheim (2015;g2.2) for additional informations and comments in German.
(g2.2)/ von Hintzenstern, Michael: "Die Kreativität des Augenblicks", in: Stevens, Suzanne; Pasveer, Kathinka (Hrsg.): Gedenkschrift für Stockhausen. Stockhausen-Stiftung für Musik, 2008, p.73-75.
About Ensemble for Intuitive Music Weimar (Ensemble für Intuitive Musik Weimar) founded 1980, its organisational endeavours and fights for organizing concerts with Stockhausen intuitive music pieces in the German Democratic Republic against the official cultural politics which were nevertheless successful to a large extent; and its relation to Stockhausen.
(g2.2)/ Powell, Larson: The Differentiation of Modernism. Postwar German Media Arts. Rochester, NY (Camden House) 2013.
In a context of general culture and media studies, this chapter outlines a musical and historical characterisation of Aus den Sieben Tagen / From the Seven Days. It may be briefly described with these keywords:
- improvisation and approach to oral culture. This is seen as unusual within contemporary music.
- reductionism: the musical material is reduced to simple elements and gestures
- timbre as a key dimension and as an energetically functioning agent, in the sense in which Ernst Kurth spoke of romantic harmony
- in the Stockhausen group recordings: an acting out, typical of the 1968 cultural climate.
- use of metaphers as instructions: part of a hermeneutic tradition extending back to classical tempo indications.
(g2.2)/ Saunders, James: "Commentary: RIGHT DURATIONS", Lely, John; Saunders, James (ed): Word Events. Perspectives on Verbal Notation. New York (Continuum), 2012, p.362-365.
Drawing on the available sources in English language, Saunders succeeds in providing an excellent general introduction to Stockhausen's intuitive music in general and to the specific piece in particular. A facsimile of the piece from the English edition precedes the article.
(g2.2) / Toop,Richard: "Versuch, eine Grenze zu überschreiten... Johannes Fritsch im Gespräch über die Aufführungspraxis von Werken Karlheinz Stockhausens", MusikTexte 116, Februar 2008.
This interview with Johannes Fritsch, who as a musician worked closely together with Stockhausen, provides a useful overview of new forms of performance practise in Stockhausens works: Mikrophonie I and II in which some performers solely operate microphones and in which various shades of noise are prescribed verbally, to be produced with found materials on a large gong; Mixtur, in which two musicians have the sole job of operating sine wave generators (for ring modulation of ensemble sound); Momente, in which choir singers freely interpreted humurous instructions such as for instance "like an old witch" or "like a baby"; Prozession, Kurzwellen and Spiral with the plus-minus notation and use of short-wawe radios; Hymnen, in a version with improvising soloist; Solo for melody instrument with electronic feedback in which - like in many other cases - Stockhausen had the role of sound projectionist, modifying and filtering the output from microphones and machines; Aus den Sieben Tagen (From the Seven Days), the interviewee's view of the recording practise then and details of the collaboration with Stockhausen.
All this is a good example of how new use of instruments, new notations and new electronic devices are interwoven - including, but not limited to, the notion of improvisation. Such outlining of performance practise from a general point of view is still a rich field for further investigations, dealing with the fundamental practical side of music creation.
(g2.2)/ Zingsheim, Martin: Karlheinz Stockhausens Intuitive Musik. Published as part of a series: Signale aus Köln (Verlag der Apfel), 2015.
See also de Cock (2018;G2.2) in English which provides the source material from the 1991 and 2005 rehearsals with Stockhausen in a concise form, easy to read.
The main part of this PhD based book in German is a detailed study over 187 pages of all the intuitive pieces from From the Seven Days (Aus den Sieben Tagen) and For Times to Come (Für kommende Zeiten), composed 1968-70. Additionally, there are smaller parts on biographical matters, on the spiritual inspiration from Sri Aurobindo and on continuities between these works and Stockhausen's production before and after.
Conspicously, new ressources are being presented for the public for the first time: concerning interpretation in practise, a large quantity of recordings from rehearsals with the Ensemble for Intuitive Music Weimar (EFIM) from both 1991 and 2005. They have been summarised and partly transscibed by Zingsheim and provide direct insights in Stockhausen's thoughts about the pieces - but, as Zingsheim stresses, only many years after and with this specific ensemble. The compositions are still open to interpretation on many levels.
And Zingsheim's analysis brings together other sources as well: Stockhausen's comments on the compositions, not only from the main articles in Texte and booklets, but from interviews, both published and unpublished, and more. This is no small achievement, being a special bibliographical undertaking in itself. From these a complex mosaic picture can emerge of both the special experimental, compositional focus belonging to the intuitive collections, as well as how the intuitive music project has been consequential for the composers' thinking afterwards.
Zingsheim works philologically in his analysis on a detail level - comparable to an archeologist at a site, gently uncovering matters with a tea-spoon, as it were. Works are not viewed in generalised, analytical terms, instead an empirical attitude to their texts and some authoritative sources prevails. Prominence is given to the information from the 1991 and 2005 rehearsal sessions, together with an extensive use of Bojé (1978;G2.2) who was a part of the early Stockhausen intuitive music group. Binding it all together there is a steady descriptive screening of the contents of the seemingly short and sparse texts with which the works are notated. Thus, typography is frequently commented on and its semantic implications for understanding the text investigated. This is the case for instance in the section covering Downwards (Abwärts), Upwards (Aufwärts) und Communication (Kommunikation). The same chapter also undertakes a comparison of the pieces in question on such a philological basis. Also generally contributing to this discourse are the many Stockhausen references concerning the pieces which were mentioned above, along with additional ones.
The book additionally presents biographical accounts with excerpts from hitherho unpublished letters from Stockhausen to his wife Mary Bauermeister. They concern both the time of crisis in which Stockhausen wrote the first collection of intuitive pieces and more generally. Through Bauermeister's gallery arrangements in Cologne, Stockhausen became acquainted with contemporary American developments of the sixties.
The spiritual and meditative aspects of the intuitive pieces were controversial in their day. A small chapter provides examples from reviews of the intuitive music events and Stockhausen pieces with a comparable attitude. It seems to be characteristic that reviewers employed an ironic tone to a smaller or lesser degree, and that the basis for their statements were in most cases the attitude and appearance of the musicians, rather than the music. While this is a part of the reception history of the compositions, Zingsheim undertakes a scrutinity of the yoga philosophy itself which inspired Stockhausen so strongly. Even though, as Zingsheim states, "spirituel, religious and metaphysical convictions of an artist ... do not [claim] validity in a strict philosophical sense, but only in an artistic one (p.12)". One aim of the book is, indeed, to demonstrate how the intuitive pieces pursue "strategies for solving musical problems" and how they concern "major aspects of compositional calculation and musical experimentation belonging not solely to the late nineteen sixties". There is a whole chapter devoted to accounting for the philosophy of Sri Aurobindu based on the book by Satprem in relation to Stockhausen in general - Satprem (1973;H4), and observations pertinent to this issue are carried on when discussing the individual pieces of the first collection.
On the critical side it might be noted that the Stockhausen focus is so sharp and narrow that he almost appears in a vacuum apart from the general trends in music culture of his time. This may seem so despite the mention made of Bauermeister and the American context, and also despite the fact that the intuitive pieces are, in some special chapters as well as generally throughout, viewed in the context of his entire compositional oevre and his early aesthetics essays. Zingsheim emphasizes strongly and repeatedly the tendency towards continuous innovation with Stockhausen - but this is, in fact, a common characteristic of modernism generally. A different example: the analysis of Right Durations (Richtige Dauern) details out how Stockhausen is concerned with explaining how musicians should be attentive to each other while also personally involved in the playing. Even if these explanations are appropriate and interesting as revealing Stockhausen's 'pedagogical' aim with the pieces, they concerrn commonly well-known aspects of playing for improvisors. Free improvisation forms were something new in 1968 when the first collection was written - but it has evolved into a large trend of its own since then. And much of the future of the pieces dealt with here, as well as their practising till now, including audio releases, depend on the historical outcomings of that.
A number of important and interesting findings run the risk of becoming drowned for the reader in the vast empirical complexity. For example how to understand the concepts of vibration (Schwingung), tone (Ton) and sound (Klang). The many observations about serial structures in the pieces could also have deserved a summarising comment - etc. A summarising chapter at the end would have been highly beneficial but is not included, so one has to look at the introduction and the keyword registers for any overview of topics covered.
Zingsheim traces developments with the so-called process planning form of composition (Prozessplanung) allegedly starting with Plus-Minus from 1963. Apart from the ambiguities employed in Zeitmasse (1956) and Klavierstück XI (1961), there is a crucially important precedent of the crisis out of which the first collection of intuitive pieces were born that has to be mentioned here, since it was seemingly not noticed by Zingsheim. Adieu (1966) was created on the direct background of the death of a close colleague together with reflections about the burden of work till then connected for him to composing, compared to the apparent lightness of working painters could have. "I was extremely disturbed by this experience", Stockhausen wrote in the work comment (Texte 3, Cologne 1971, p.92). Also here, new, real-time oriented working methods from painting provoked him into a crisis resulting in letting more details open for the performance than before. And with From the Seven Days, this was carried out to an even greater extent. As Stockhausen's polemic remarks about jazz show, improvisation practise was already "in the air" at that time.
It may be interesting for practicians to note the enormous differences between this book which can make us more knowing about the compositions theirselves and the circumstances surrounding them - and then Storesund (2017;G3.1) which is designed to support the performer's own decision-making and which may be helpful when solving the remaining riddles of how to perform the compositions.
With all its meticulous work illuminating the compositions in an almost encyclopedic manner according to the chosen fields of focus, the book is an essential manual for musicians and deep-going listeners interested in the pieces and a must for research libraries.
(g2.3)/ Tom Anderson Service: Playing a new game of Analysis: Performance, Postmodernism and the Music of John Zorn. PhD, University of Southhampton, 2004. Available through www.bl.uk
The author discusses the game pieces in relation to various statements by the composer - and in relation to some contradictions involved. Besides about Cobra, ocassional and interesting light falls on Archery and its structure, which is characterised as consisting solely of a list of constellations.
(g2.3)/ Brackett, John: Some Notes on John Zorn’s Cobra. American Music, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Spring 2010), pp. 44-75
The game piece Cobra has had a remarkable success - among other things, according to the author, it is "routinely played by students in colleges and universities all over the world" (p. 44). - This article attempts to reconstruct, as fully as possible, the actual instructions given to musicians which Zorn did not wish to publish. It comments also on the history of previous such more or less official publications, however, without mentioning Slusser which also attempts to explain the rules from scratch. Also the coloured version of the score must be sought for elsewhere, for instance in Slusser's two renditions (Slusser();G2.3) and Zorn 1984;G2.3), or in the CD cover of Zorn(1991;i1). But this reconstruction seems to be the most detailed one hitherho.
Other parts of the article deal with the war games which inspired Zorn, with recordings of Cobra, with the other game pieces before and after Cobra. And with the remarkable integration of very different social roles unfolded by the musicians. A quote in a direct transscription from the same source as Bailey (G2.3;) reads: "What I basically create [in the game pieces] is a small society and everybody kind of finds their own position in that society. It really becomes, like, a psychodrama. It’s like scream therapy, or primal therapy. People are given power and it’s very interesting to see which people like to run with that power, which people run away from it [and] who are very docile and just do what they’re told [and those] who try very hard to get more control and more power. . . . It’s very much like the political arena, in a certain kind of a sense . . . [where performers] are having a little carrot dangled in front of them. And it’s interesting to see who tries to grab the carrot and who doesn’t. And a lot of times the people who try to grab the carrot, it’s pulled out of their hands by someone else in the band. So, it becomes kind of a scary, frightening thing to be in front of that band to see these people blossom and become the assholes that they really are" (p.56). One may supplement this with a few sentences from Bailey (1992;G2.3): "Bill Frisell is the kind of player who sits back and lets everybody else make decisions and just plays his butt off. Ultimately he was the one that was making the sound of the music while other people were dealing with the structure of it. Those are all valid positions to be in in the society that exists on stage..." (p.78).
(g2.3)/ Roussel, Patrice: Discography of John Zorn. 2000. http://www.wnur.org/Jazz/artists/zorn.john/discogr.htm
Contains a bibliography as well, and list of videos.
(g2.3)/ Slusser, David: Cobra Notes. [2008 or later according to archive.org accessed May 22 2015.] http://arvidtp.net/bnm/cobra-score/cobra%20notes,%20Slusser.pdf Accessed May 20 2015. [Previously http://www.4-33.com/scores/cobra/cobra-notes.html].
Score and verbal explanations
G2.4 EARLE BROWN'S DECEMBER 1952Be sure to see also the first bibliography until 2000. See also Bièvre (2012;H1) and Velasco-Pufleau (2012;B2.1); extensive analysis in Storesund (2015;G3.1).
Jane Alden: From neume to Folio. Contemporary Music Review Vol.26, 3-4, Juni/August 2007, 339-340, (special issue about Earle Brown).
This article examines Brown's interest in early classical music before notation began to fix most details - "He believed that ‘the imposition of standard "fixitives", such as metric durations, bar lines and precise pitch’, to music written before 1600 marginalises our sensitivity to ‘the aural tradition and nature of performance practice’ (p.340)(Quoted from Brown, Earle (1986): The notation and performance of new music. The Musical Quarterly, 72, 180 – 201.) p. 183). Also the name of the collection in which "December 52" is found, "Folio", may point to this perspective.
(g2.4)/ Pierre Boulez: "...'ouvert', encore...", Contemporary Music Review Vol.26, 3-4, Juni/August 2007, 339-340, p.340 (special issue about Earle Brown).
This article is remarkable as the source of the following quote: "I have maintained the belief that open form, if properly integrated into a musical piece and if not used as a replacement for musical creativity, is still valid today. Younger composers, I fear, have mostly avoided this technique because they have already been trained to be practical, perhaps too practical"(p.340).
This is an interestingly positive opinion of openness in compositional procedures. It may be surprising to some, compared to what might have become a kliche in experimental music history writing: that his role allegedly was that of an advocate for very strict limits to non-traditional notational and formal procedures. Here, on the contrary, he deplores a lack of them. - The article has further some remarks on works of Brown and their performances, and on recent works of his which deal with openness. He mentions his concern for not "demanding additional rehearsal time" but still views it as an aesthetic goal to realise "the possibilities that we first imagined in the ’50s" (p.340).
(g2.4)/ Earle Brown, ‘On December 1952’, American Music, 26.1 (2008), p. 7
This is a special item in the December 52 literature: it reveals details around the 1964 Darmstadt performance - the contents were spoken by Brown to a recording in 1970 - but a transciption was only made later and published 38 years after.
P.9ff describes various circumstances around the 1964 performance, including the two three hour sessions of rehearsal with 23 musicians, the aim for this specific context, and the use of some hand-signs for high and low registers in conducting. Earlier in the article there is a review of Brown's compositions and, not least, sketches leading up to Folio.
(g2.4)/ Cornelius Dufallo: "The Aesthetic of Impermanence: A Performer’s Perspective of Four Systems and Tracer". Contemporary Music Review Vol.26, 3-4, Juni/August 2007,(special issue about Earle Brown), 429-36.
Reports from a performance of Four Systems, which is a part of the Folio collection and shares the instruction text with December 52. The ideas presented could thus serve as an inspiration also concerning the latter one.
G2.5 WOLFFSee also Wagner (2002; G2.1); extensive analysis in Storesund (2015;G3.1).
(g2.5)/ Chase, Stephen; Thomas, Philip (ed.): Changing the System: The Music of Christian Wolff. Ashgate, 2010.
This book testifies to the continued and growing interest in Wolff's special form of indeterminacy in which he introduced the cue practise making performers dependent on each other. The following is my selection of points of special interest connected to new notations and their performance practise,
Pp. 193-209 by Clemens Gresser is an analysis of Prose Collection, a collection of verbally notated pieces, most of which were written between 1968 and 1971. The reader may well wish to have the collection at hand during reading. The existence of a freeware online edition is not mentioned in the book, but you can find one at http://www.frogpeak.org/unbound/wolff/wolff_prose_collection.pdf or http://www.intuitivemusic.dk/iima/cw.htm . First part of this text deals with general issues around how misunderstandings of such open works may occur, due to decisions having been left to the performer. Subsequent sections are titled "performing", "listening" and "Conclusion: blurring the Function of Listener and Performer".
P.25ff, Amy C. Beal describes, on the basis of transscriptions and additional sources, how Wolff discussed and explained about his work Burdocks (1971) at the Darmstadt 1972 Summer Courses. James Saunders also comments the work pp 93-95. [Burdocks is listed as an A1 work in the old part of the present bibliography with additional references].
During pp 60-67, Philip Thomas deals in details with For Pianist (1959), with 4 illustrations.
The reader may find additional relevant information and thoughts thoughout the book.
(g2.5)/ Vitková, Lucie: Learning to Change with the Music of Christian Wolff" in: Rothenberg, David (ed.): vs. Interpretation. An Anthology on Improvisation, Vol.1. Prague (Agosto Foundation), 2015, p.51-62.
The author views Wolff's compositions from an educational aspect. They can prepare (classical) musicians for free improvisation. The sense for musical elements/dimensions and the ability to listen and interact can be heightened. In the article, an important contribution to the analytical and descriptive literature about Wolff's compositions is made by examining works written later than the sixties, such as For John/Material (2007) and Microexercises (2006, 2007) from a practical point of view, besides Stones from Prose Collection (1968-71). Excerpts of the works are given in the article. Experience with own workshops is a background and the research is a part of the authors' PhD study.
(g2.5)/ Wagner, Christoph: "Zwischen zwei Stühlen" (also English version), booklet to Wergo WER 6658 2, Christian Wolff. Bread and Roses, 2003.
This is a brief interview which nevertheless provides important information on Wolff's Edges having been inspired by the English context (AMM and Cardew) and his relation to improvisation.
(g2.5)/ Wilson, Peter Niklas: "Neue und alte Spiele / New and old Games", booklet to Wergo WER 6658 2, Christian Wolff. Bread and Roses, 2003.
General presentation focusing on one of the works featured on the CD (in 10 different takes!): For 1, 2 or 3 people.
G3 GENERAL PHILOSOPHY, AESTHETICS, MUSIC THEORY AND MUSIC ANALYSIS
(g3)/ See also: Borgo (2005;G1.1); Wagner (2002;G2.1); Lely et al (2012; A2.2); Nanz (G5; 2011); Adrian (F2; 2012); Overgaard (2011;G5); Bièvre (2012;H1); Bramley (2015A+b; F2); Seuthe (2015;G2.2); Schwabe (2015;G2.1); Goldberg (2015;G4); Redhead (2016;G2.1); Figuera-Dreher (2016;g2.1); Schwabe (2017;G4).
(g3)/ "Med eller uden kaos", Dansk Musiktidsskrift 6, marts, 2002/2003.
About the festival Stockholm New Music 2003 which focuses on composing musicians and composers who are musicians themselves. "You have to see the musician as an artist and not just as a tool", Ivo Nilsson stated (p.201). The entailing discussion is summarized.
(g3)/ Bergstroem-Nielsen, Carl: "Sound is multi-dimensional. Parameter analysis as a tool for creative music making" - http://vbn.aau.dk/da/publications/sound-is-multidimensional_40caf3f0-b690-11db-8b72-000ea68e967b.html (pdf version), http://www.intuitivemusic.dk/iima/cbn_multi.htm (HTML version), 2006.
33 pieces for improvising ensemble based on the author's teaching at Aalborg University, Denmark. Compositions were created as part of the training in improvisation and formulation of playing rules. They employ selected global parameters, allowing participants to play from the score in a heterophonic manner. Verbally prescribed parameter changes and graphic/pictorial illustrations are further characteristics. Additionally, history and theory of parameter analysis is accounted for.
(g3)/ Bergstroem-Nielsen, Carl: Keywords in Musical Free Improvisation. Music and Arts in Action vol.5 (1), 2016, 11-18. Online (use link above).
Attempts to set up and illustrate some concepts describing improvised music within the themes of pluralisms, conflict, idioms, communicative context, and analytic approaches. Statements from improvisors Globokar, Evan Parker, Beresford, Bailey, Munthe, Rizzi, Prèvost, Tilbury, Nankivell, Couldry, Lutz, Nunn and Walduck are sources.
(g3)/ Bullock, Michael T.: Self-Idiomatic Music: An Introduction. Leonardo Music Journal vol.43,2, 141-144, p.141, 2010.
The title almost says it: "self-idiomatic" is proposed as a more adaequate notion than the classic Baileyan non-idiomatic. However, the author shares an interest in the same repertory which Bailey describes, also Prèvost's "meta-music" he sees as a comparable notion. - Further, the cultivation of extended techniques, self-built instruments and "noise operations" in the field are commented. Contrary to Couldry (1995;G1.1) who saw them as vehicles for a new kind of virtuosity, he views these as undermining virtuosity ideas.
(g3)/ Cannonne, Clément: Focal Points in Collective Free Improvisation. Perspectives of New Music 51 (1), Winter 2013.
Free improvisors cultivate special cognitive skills. The theoretical field known as game theory studies coordination issues among humans working together. A classic example is a telephone conversation being interrupted - both parties then face the same choice: shall I call back or wait for the other to do so? The problem arises out of too many possibilities to choose from. People will in such situations try to guess what the other might do. If there exists a cognitive salient strategy for both parties, this can be named focal point. Musicians practising Collective Free Improvisation (CFI) are all the time faced with similar-typed coordination challenges.
The author conducted empirical experiments aiming at tracking a specific, assumed "saliency" competence related to the issues mentioned above. In the first experiment, solo improvisors were to improvise along with a recorded background. This background was relatively homogeneous, but with some strongly diverging material suddenly appearing once. Results showed that "expert subjects" trained in CFI more often than the others drew formal implications from the incident.
The second experiment was about a group improvisation. Musicians were placed in different studio booths so as not to be able to see each other. They heard three different music samples in their headphones and they had been informed that the order of these playbacks were not the same for each musician. Then they were to start improvising simultaneously, using one of the samples as a point of departure. Subsequent interviews showed that "expert musicians" employed "team reasoning" (relying on identification with the group) to a higher degree and more explicitly than the others. Also, that there were no marked difference between novices of FCI coming from classical and jazz fields. In jazz settings there is improvisation, but usually there is a referent (a standard or a composition) to solve coordination problems, the author reasons.
Both findings explain, the author asserts in the conclusions, why "improvisations of CFI's experts are almost always more successful from a formal point of view (p.30)". Also, that studies in CFI "can help us to shed a light on non-musical phenomena, such as everyday life, where the ability to solve multiple unexpected coordination problems could very well be soncidered as an improvisational capacity".
(g3)/Chase, Stephen Timothy: Improvised Experimental Music and the Construction of a Collaborative Aesthetic. PhD, Dep.of Music, University of Sheffield, 2006. The author may be contacted through my mail here - I'll forward.
This work traces connections between historical conceptions of composition, the idea of the musical work and freely improvised music, and it further discusses musicians' attitudes by referring to theories about democracy in order to understand how individual impulse is connected to a collaborative aesthetic by a common consent.
The term "Improvised Experimental Music" was chosen to designate the historical affinity to composed experimental music - free improvisation has, among others, a background in ensembles of the 1960s where Cardew and other composers were active, and it places value on concert performances: "IEM is not a commercial or formally a 'functional' area of music making, and therefore its participants locate its value for them by appealing either to art status (usually) shown through the medium of performance) or to the seemingly more modest area of communal aesthetic activity" (p.81f).
The "performance-driven" musicians' view stresses musical ideals and the responsibility towards the audience. Statements by Eddie Prèvost and John Tilbury are commented on as exemplifying this view. The "play-driven" one is more concerned with the excitement of the immediate activity: "It's that word play. You know, one of the things I talk to the students here a lot about is...'What do you do? You say you play music, what does play mean?'...I think most people actually work music" (Hugh Nankivell quoted on p.104).
"What differentiates improvised music from most other practises in its challenge to the work concept is its basis in collaboration", the author states p.79. He takes up the observation made by American philosopher Stanley Cavell: "in art... your invitation is based not on power or authority, but on attraction and promise..." (Cavell quoted p.111). This is also the situation for political initiatives within a democratic system. The author extends this line of thought to the audience's role. As traditional ways of evaluating the music are absent, the bond of commitment between musicians and audience has to be created not through recognisable styles but, in the terms of Gritten, by demonstrating 'authenticity' and 'sincerity'. Relating this to improvised music, the author sees the former as a notion that might only be relevant in improvised music under the special circumstance of knowing a performers 'sound' in beforehand (p.115), and he interprets 'sincerity' in relation to performers' intentions as perceived by the audience members. Different organic, or oppositely stylised or self-conscious approaches may, generally, belong to the strategies of "suspending an audiences' sense of disbelief" (p.116). There must be a 'social contract' in Cavell's sense: "...not mere obidience, but membership" (quoted on p.119). More recent writers (Laclau and Mouffe, as well as musicologist Leonard Meyer) have stressed the 'irrational' element in democracy (p.110), employing an 'agonistic" model (p.121). In Meyers' words, "ad hoc judgements" can be made, to which the author comments that "democracy is useful politically...because for a diverse collection of people to agree entirely on one overarching systematic approach is close to impossible and, potentially, dangerously inflexible" (both quotations from p.122). The following quotations illustrate further the points made by the author. The first one is about the kind of agreement that has to exist before playing: "X agrees to perform with Y because X knows that Y will play in such a way that complements what X plays; and Y know that X will not set fire on Y's cello" (p.121). The second concerns the active, both critical and creative role demanded by the musician: "The individual is impelled to find a way in which to make the music work as the effort of an ensemble by deciding to support the 'wrong' idea, or transform it or reject it by replacing it with an altermative" (p.123).
Last chapter before the concluding one is a series of analysis of some of Eddie Prèvosts' weekly open London improvisation workshops (see also Prèvost (2011;G1.1).
(g3)/ Costa, Rogério: Improvisation, Klang, Körper und neue Technologien / Improvisation, Sound, Body and new Technologies, in: Gagel, Reinhard;Schwabe, Matthias (Hg/eds.): Improvisation erforschen - improvisierend forschen. Beiträge zur Exploration musikalischer Improvisation. / Researching improvisation - researching by improvisation. Bielefeld (Transcript Verlag) 2016. Bilingual throughout.
Free improvisation is both a "diving into" the sound and a building up, a synthesis, of a whole from smaller units or particles. There exists both a "molecular" level and a "molar" one, in Deleuzeian terminology. The bulding up aspect is comparable to that of spectral music, a method within composed experimental music. It is also comparable to the "granular synthesis" of composer Xenakis.
But the music is not explainable in terms of sound alone. The author mentions "deterritorilization, reterritorilazation, collage and bricolage as other technologies which specifically become important in improvised music: "the fact that the instruments are territorialized is not nescessarily problematic for free improvisation, as it builds an environment of musical thought and action, where what matters is the continuity of interactive sound flow which is metaphorically based on the ideas of game and conversation". And: "Thus, even when the timbres of the instruments remain identifiable and related to their territoriality, the dynamic result of sound flow can unfold properly and with vital energy" (p.157). This may be the sense, then, in which composer Helmut Lachenmann speaks of a "new virginity of sound" (p.157).
Free improvised music can be said to rely on the acceptance of the sound phenomenon as a whole, not on a tonal system. Quoting Solomos, the author also connects the notion of an "inner life of sound" "almost as an autonomous phenomenon or as a living and independent entry (a subject) into which the musician or listener must "dive", in order to discover its processes" (p.149). Composers Scelsi and Xenakis "were, to some extent, guided by this metapher of diving into the sound" (p.151). In free improvisation, "the feeling of sound immersion is simultaneous to the sensation of sound production" (p.151).
(g3)/ Mats Dimming: Practicing Free Improvisation – Is it Possible? A qualitative study of how professional musicians practice free improvisation. Degree in teacher training 15hp Ingesund School of Music, Arvika, Sweden, Spring 2013. In Swedish. downloaded 21.December 2019 from http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A608723&dswid=8194
Author's abstract: This study aims to create deeper insight in how professional musicians practice free improvisation. The background chapter provides an overview of the concepts of “improvisation” and “free improvisation” and then followed by a presentation of previous research in the field. The theoretical basis for the study is the socio-cultural perspective on learning and communication.
The data consists of qualitative interviews with four professional improvising musicians. The results show the musician’s view of improvisation, free improvisation and freedom,their practicing tools and their use of acquired skills. It reveals that the interviewed musicians regard it important to practice a lot, to have a personal method, to be able to disconnect the intellect when improvising and to collect experiences in a “metaphorical backpack”. In the concluding discussion chapter the results is discussed in relation to the previous research and to the socio-cultural perspective on learning. A conclusion is that the backpack metaphor is in accordance with the socio-cultural perspective on learning and that learning happens constantly. Another conclusion is that an improvisation never can be completely free. A musician´s freedom in improvisation could be described as being free to something rather than from something.
Key words: music, improvisation, free improvisation, practicing, learning, development, tools, socio-cultural perspective
(g3)/ Dudda, Friedrich: Konkrete Phantasie - Reflexionsmodi in der konzeptionell-experimentellen Musik. Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation LXXIII, April 2010. Thema: Improvisation zwischen Reflex und Reflexion. P.4-8.
This author practises open compositions as composer and musician. He argues that improvisatory fantasy and creativity should not shut out clarity and precision on the levels of compositionally defining the music and that of playing.
He makes other points as to the importance of taking a clear stand to aesthetic issues. when the musical universe relates only to itself and takes no notice of other music universes, it becomes endangered by degeneration and stiffening into cliches. The author sees such a cliché in the opinion that improvisations should follow or have to follow an arch form as to crescendo - climax - decrescendo. Inspirations to a different approach could be taken from both Debussy and Stockhausen who created music in independent eposodes that are easy to combine with each other. Another issue inviting critical reflection is the composer Lachenmann's warning against naively using elements from classical music out of its context. Still another is composer Nicolaus A. Huber's warning against music production which may be authentic seen on its own background, but which has no profile in the surrounding music culture - those who take interest in culture around them may find such music uninteresting. - Finally, there is a short discussion on reflecting on the relation between music and life.
(g3)/ Ehrler, Hanno: "Musik im gebogenen Raum. Der Leipziger Musiker und Komponist Erwing Stache", MusikTexte 92, Februar, 2002.
In characterizing this composer, reference is made referring to Fritsch (1997;G3) among others.
(g3)/ Engström, Andreas (ed.): Special issue on improvisation, Nutida Musik 2, 2005.
(g3)/ Eskildsen, Anders: Musikalsk improvisation som kultur, kognition og interaktion. - Bidrag til en gentænkning af improvisationsforskningens teoretiske grundlag. MA dissertation, University of Aarhus, 2013. Downloaded 21.September 2015: http://nobelspec.au.dk/20072236.pdf
This MA dissertation overviews and discuss existing recent theories on improvisation. See also Eskildsen (2014) in English language which summarises the last part.
1) culture-related theories: Nettl's idea of improvisation as a model-based performance; Martin's and Becker's ideas about an "art world" and its conventions, such as the importance of an individual "voice" in jazz playing and the importance attatched to solos, and broader sociological perspectives making improvised playing both a creative and an "editorial" practise because these fuse in an inner dialogue with the "art world". - Monson's Bourdieu-inspired insistence on a determining influence of social practises such as race and gender.
2) cognition-related theories: Norgaard's descriptions of mental activity during improvising, based on qualitative interviews. Continuous thought processes comprise "sketching" and "evaluating monotoring". Generative strategies comprise use of a "bank of ideas", repetition, as well as relating to the logic of elements of tonal music. - Gustavsen's phenomenological notions relate to existentialist psychology and describe basic opposites which the improvisor must relate to: moment/duration, difference/unity, gratification/frustration, stimulating/stabilising and prescence/distance. Since consciousness can only focus on one thing at a time, it has to wander around. - Pressing's schematic meta-model of data processing in many simultaneous dimensions (sonic, movement, etc) stressing the existence of a "knowledge base" and the importance of feedback, a background for later researchers such as Fouconnier & Turner ("blending theory") and for Kühl. Finally, Sudnow's self-documentary account on what it was like to learn to play the piano is discussed in its relation to the aforementioned views.
3) interaction-related theories: Monson's demonstration (in her book Saying something...") that methaphers of language and conversation are frequent in jazz musicians' way to talk about their music and that phrasing structure of the music can testify to this. - Dempsey's description of conduction-like signs musicians may employ in tonal repertoire, often aiming at taking new iniative. In the terminology of Pierce, such signs are indexes, pointing directly to the reality (not icons or symbols). Drawing on Sawyer he coins the peculiar term "agressive emergence". It distinguishes itself from simply emergence in a similar way in which theatre improvisations differ from everyday conversations - there is less ritual, and interventions hav been undertaken to produce unexpected turns.
4) systems theory. According to Eskildsen, systems theory is used as a vague description of viewpoints within many disciplines having some familiarity with each other. "Autopoesis", as used of organisms being self-organised and to some extent autonomous, is a concept often encountered, coming from biology, and also a central one with Luhmann. Luhman defines a system in a "non-ontological" way, as a historicity of repeated operations, not as a "thing" possing fixed properties. Systems have "memory" but they are are "operationally closed" entities. Taking consciousness as an example, this means that a system of consciousness does not have any direct access to other systems. "Strucutural connections" however, allow humans to gather information through the senses, for instance. - Turning back to music, Landgraf follows the idea that any description of a context will be influenced by the describing system's operational historicity. Consequently, the observer should be aware of the basic assumptions underpinning his or her own system. He elaborately describes how the romantic period in Western art has become a foundation for art views with its demands of creativity and originality. Quoting Borgo's formulation "wholes made up of wholes", Eskildsen finally reviews the very different fields and ways of study touched upon earlier and discusses how systems theory could be a fruitful framework for overviewing and connecting them.
(g3)/ Silvana K. Figuera-Dreher: Improvisieren. Material, Interaktion, Haltung und Musik aus soziologischer Perspektive. Wiesbaden (Springer Fachmedien) 2016.
This book is the product of a research project at Konstanz University and aims to take both historical, individual, collective and creative matters into account. It is primarily based on a large body of interviews with both flamenco and free jazz musicians for comparative discussion. Musicians from the latter field are: "TGW": Christian Weber, Michael Griener, Michael Thieke. "Investigation routine": Christoph Irmer, Klaus Treuheit, Günther Pitscheider and finally the trio: Alexander von Schlippenbach, Paul Lovens, Evan Parker.
One interesting point of view originating with Alexander von Schlippenbach to be mentioned is that of perceiving the music material as sedimented knowledge. "The material existence of the material might be described as the top of an "iceberg of knowledge" which can be perceived with the senses, and which again and again appears in various concrete forms" (p.171).
(g3)/ Fischlin, Daniel; Heble, Ajay (ed.): The Other Side of Nowhere. Jazz, improvisation and communities in dialogue, Middletown, Connecticut (Weslyan University Press) 2004.
This book includes contributions from speakers and musicians who have participated in the Canadian Guelph Jazz Festival (near Toronto). Scholars from USA, however, also play an important role, and main emphasis is on Cultural Studies from a black perspective. Contributions are grouped in four categories: Performers Improvise - Between and Across Cultures - Social Practise and Identity - Collaborative Dissonances. George Lewis is professor of "Cultural Studies / Experimental Practises Area" at San Diego University (UCSD) which seems to have become a center for improvisation studies. His "Improvised Music after 1950: Afrological and Eurological Perspectives" is reprinted with a newly written afterword commenting "...The Changing Same". In an article by the editors bearing the same title as the general title of the book, Stephen Nachmanovitch and Tom Nunn are adressed critically: "... in their haste to promulgate arguments about improvisation as a life-strategy for expressions of individuality, originality and creativity, they fail to account for the ways in which jazz improvisation and creative improvised music have always.. been about community building (rather than individual self-expression), about fostering new ways of thinking about, and participating in, human relationships (p.23). An article by Julie Dawn is devoted to the Feminist Improvising Group in the London seventies, making apparent the historical background of the later well-known trio Les Diaboliques with two of the former members - Maggie Nicols, Irene Schweizer plus Joëlle Leandre. Eddie Prèvost who is the only participant here from Europe, recalls the ciscussions during the seventies with Cornelius Cardew and expresses a sceptical opinion on using music "to help fly a political banner" (p.356) and advocates instead a general critical attitude to market conditions which make it difficult to develop in any larger scale the idea of responsible teamwork taking place in improvised music. - The book includes short biographies of contributors and a large bibliography of roughly 500 titles, plus a "webography". Contributors other than those alredy mentioned: Ingrid Monson; Michael Snow; Pauline Oliveros; Dana Reason; Jason Stanyek; Michael Essen; Mark Anthony Neal; Sherrie Tucker; Marshall Soules; Krin Gabbard; Michael Jarrett; Nathanael Mackey; John Corbett and Benjamin Lefebre.
(g3)/ Funk-Aydemir, Roswitha: "Gut hören, frei spielen. Kurse freie Musik in Kassel", Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation LXXI, Oktober 2006.
At the end of this report from a workshop with Rike Kohlhepp and Thomas Reuter, examples of pre-forming of improvisations done by agreeing on a few characteristics are stated. This is a greyzone area between composition and improvisation worthy of much more study.
(g3)/ Gottschalk, Jennie (2016): Experimental Music since 1970. NY/London (Bloomsbury Academic).
The text treated here is a part of the chapter "Information, language, interaction" which again appears in a book accounting for a large number of experimental works and practises on the basis of selected topics.
One subtopic of these topics is "Interaction" with its own subdivisions. Concerning interaction in musical performance, the section "Individual and collective decision-making" recapitulates a number of well-known works: For 1, 2 or 3 People - Edges - Prose Collection. But also Exercises (1973-74) Eisler Ensemble Pieces (1983), X for Peace Marches (1985), Instrumentalist(s)-Singer(s) and Ordinary Matter (2001-04) receive mention. Some characteristics of pieces are described and there may be quotes from the instructions and from other authors. Other composers' works one can read about here are Michael Pisaro, Anthony Braxton and James Saunders.
A different section is titled "Cueing" (although Wolff's For 1,2 or 3 People is elsewhere usually seen as an example of this practise). Here composers James Saunders, Dominic Lash, Charlie Sdraulig and Nomi Epstein appear with works from the 2000s and 2010s. Also Wolff's lesser known "Lines" from 1972 is described.
One more section is "Games and communities" dealing with Zorn and Roscoe Mitchell. Still another section is "Technology as a conversationalist technology as environment". It deals with interactive software: George Lewis' "Voyager", as well as work by Chadabe, David Tudor, David Behrman, Alvin Lucier and Richard Teitelbaum.
A number of still more sections stretch "interaction" beyond usual semantic meanings or go beyond that which takes place in performance. They are: "Groups, collectives and longterm interactions" (Scratch Orchestra, AMM, AACM, Musica Elettronica Viva, Echtzeitsmusik are discussed) - "Types of rejection" - "Power plays and other forms of relating" (last two about improvisor's attitudes) - "Inhabiting a space together" and "The interaction is the score" (about composers writing for specific performers).
Because of the title and because the author wishes to provide a sequel to Nyman (1974;H1) one could have expected a look back into some important anglo-saxon overviewing books having been written since Nyman (1974;H4), Brindle (1976/86;H1) and especially Sutherland (1994;H1) which do not appear in the bibliography. However, the reader might do so.
(g3)/ Granum, Mathias Halgrener: Fri improvisation i grupper. Sammenspil, samarbejde og gruppedynamikker. En empirisk undersøgelse. Kandidatspeciale i musikterapi, Aalborg Universitet, Juni 2010. With an English summary. http://projekter.aau.dk/
An empirical study concerned with questions related to how satisfied participants are with free improvisations and what lies behind. One of the methods of measurement was to play a video recording for participants immediately after playing in one minute sequences. Participants were then to indicate how satisfied they felt at that point. Resulting graphs (p.24f) show vivid differences in many cases, and disagreement appears as the normal situation, even if participants' overall rating may be similar in come cases. The author remarks (p.25) that it seems one will have to ask all participants about how they were satisfied with a given improvisation, if one is to have a precise impression.
(g3)/ Grossmann, Cesar Marino Villavicencio: The Discourse of Free Improvisation. A Rhetorical Perspective on Free Improvised Music. PhD, University of East Anglia, Norvich, UK, 2008. Available online at www.bl.uk (without the sound files)
Musical rhetorics, such as were cultivated in Baroque music, are re-evaluated for describing free improvised music. A variety of concepts are presented and references made to recordings and to a few conducted workshops. For the present reader, however, the general useability is unclear - descriptions appear rhapsodic, like a catalogue of ideas. It could have been interesting to see concepts like 'kairos', 'prolepsis', the general categories of 'decorum' and that of ethics, connected to a general discussion of free improvised music - providing thorough information on how to both understand their meaning and to practically apply them in the new context. This might yet remain the task of other specialist researchers. Perhaps the list of 'vices' - categories covering "bad behaviour" (p.153ff) - is the most transparent. It includes 'battologia' ('vain repetition' - maybe "Cliche") - 'bomphiologia' ('exaggeration done in a self-aggrandising manner') and still others.
In the introductory exploration of background, Various sidelights fall on free improvised music and postmodernism, on youth rebellion phenomenons after second world war, and there are some brief comments on the sign language of Butch Morris.
One observation, loosely connected to the rhetorics theme but nevertheless valuable, is the author's account of his own experience with playing Berio's "Gesti" for recorder. As the author's description suggests, the piece proposes a number of new techniques to be employed and at the same time provides choices and freedom from a fixed scheme through a graphic score. "Performing FIM [Free Improvised Music] is also the time of learning...we should think about the fact that knowledge is accumulative and that it depends on memory", it is stated (p.44). This seems the perfect counter-story to the one of Globokar - one unsuccessful piece lead to his much quoted dogma about composition and improvisation being different methods that should not be mixed - see Levaillant (1981;G1.1). One can learn and get new ideas ideas from composers' propositions (like Derek Bailey also did from Webern), and thus they function in a similar way to the exercises many improvisors keenly do. Like improvising demands much attention to fellow players, so playing an open composition demands attention to the materials and structures presented. This could in a similar manner be an occasion to look into new possibilities and their immediate, free use. So there is hope for combining the two methods.
(g3)/ Gustavsen, Tord (2010): The Dialectical Eroticism of Improvisation.In: Santi, Marina (ed): Improvisation. Between Technique and Spontaneity. Newcastle (Cambridge Scholars Publishing). Also online in what seems a practically identical version, differing only in the format for references and use of numbering of sections: Gustavsen, Tord (2008) The Dialectical Eroticism of Improvisation. Prelimenary Essay prepared for the conference Improvisation: Between Technique and Spontaneity. University of Padova, Italy, May 20th 2008: http://www.tordg.no/the_theory.htm
On the background of psychoanalysis, existentialist psychology (Stierlin) and drawing on Berliner's documentations of how jazz improvisors develop their art, the author proposes a checklist of dialectical polarities. These are: moment vs. duration, difference vs. sameness, gratification vs. frustration, stability vs. stimulation and closensss (presence) vs. distance. As a general principle, it is important to maintain a creative view of both sides of a given polarity, avoiding creative freezing and instead unfolding the dynamic potential.
Each of these polarities is commented on from both psychological and musically practical sides. This could be a text to inspire practical work rather than philosophical theory building. Even if the context is a jazz one where elements like motifs and chords are mentioned, all of the checklist and also the principles could be just as interesting for the free improvisor.
(g3)/ Hickmann, Felipe and Rebelo, Pedro: "Game-mediated participation in network music performance" in: Schroeder, Franziska; Ó hAodha, Micheál: Soundweaving. Writings on improvisation. Cambridge (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 2014.
Despite its focus on computer networking, this article collects and discusses concepts relevant for characterising improvised music generally. The authors note that several new concepts have something essential in common: "Improvisation, indeterminacy and gaming all imply that the notion of a work shifts from the definition of outcomes to the design of conditions that afford play" (p.133). Dfferences beween indeterminacy and improvisation are outlined. The following remark is about open composition but seems to cover the authors' view of the relation between improvisation and indeterminacy as well: "As such, the notion of indeterminacy is engulfed in a wider context of performance practise with specific cultural norms and a framework in which decisions are far from random but rather informed by shared practise" (p.134). Reference is made to Epstein‘s continuum between total certainty and total uncertainty. Further, to the notions "game of strategy" and "game of chance" by Avedon and Sutton-Smith. One more theoretician reiewed is Caillois. Two pairs of binary notions have been put forward by him: agôn/alea meaning skill-based/surrender to destiny and paida/ludus, spontaneous play/structured play. The authors stress the importance of combining conscious action with coping with the unforeseen: the "Middle ground between certainty and uncertainty presents some of the most interesting examples: just as in the game of poker the conscious synthesis of chance and choice allows for performance settings of an increasingly complex nature. That is the case of 'Paragraph 7' from Cornelius Cardew's 'The Great Learning' (1969)" (p.138). Finally, Huizinga's idea of a "magic circle" belonging to playing is mentioned. Examples from author's own compositional practise are presented.
(g3)/ Hodginson, Tim: "A rich field of possibilities: strategies and indeterminacy in free improvisation", Resonance 8,1, 2000.
The possibilities arising is a part of the improvising process, even when they do not come to use. Good essay on aesthetics.
(g3)/ Irmer, Christop: "Das Verhältnis von Musiker und Publikum in etischer Hinsicht", Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation LXXXVI, April 2013, p.5-7.
A statement by Vinko Globokar from 1976 is taken up critically: "... I regard improvisation as a purely private process which can only be of importance for the players' innder development and at which the audience can only be present as a witness" (see Globokar (1972;G2.1). This is seen as a self-sufficient attitude and contrasted to a quotation by Malcom goldstein who appreaciates the aspect of sharing the experience with other people. The author then develops the idea that improvised implies a more direct perception of the musicians' human prescence by the audience than do performances of written works. This idea is based on phenomenologically oriented philosophers Fischer-Lichte, Waldenfels, Lévinas (Merleau-Ponty and Derrida are also mentioned in the background).
One point to be observed from this is that the musical and the general appearance ot the musicians' body may interfer ("semiotic body" and "phenomenal body" according to Fischer-Lichte). Another point is (following thoughts from Lévinas) that the concert situation implies empathy and closeness. And there is a mutual witnessing of each other, also between individuals in the audience. This state of affairs is seen as the basis for a social order, a ritual which stabilises the situation and prevents too much closeness. The applause ritual is an example - it can be formal or more spontaneous, but within the limits of the ritual.
(g3)/ Jacob, Andreas: "Der Gestus des Improvisatorischen und der Schein der Freiheit", Archiw für Musikwissenschaft 66 (1), 2009.
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach advised pianists to abandon habits: "...Fantasies... do not consist of passages learnt by heart nor of thoughts stolen from others. They musc spring from a good musical soul - the declamatory quality and the fast surprising moves from one affect to another." This could sound close to the modern notion of "stream of consciousness". Passages by CPE Bach and by Francois Couperin are quoted with illustrations and discussed. The examples given could be viewed as early examples of consciously open works, since they abandon exact metre and bar lines, precisely in order to become more lik eimprovisations. Music by Mauricio Kagel and John Cage are in turn commented on. Reference is made along the way not only to old authors like CPE Bach and Brossard (Dictionnaire de la musique, 1705), but also to more recent authors on the subject of improvisation. Among others, Ferand , Bailey, Dahlhaus and Feisst - summary of works of these to be seen in this bibliography's two volumes.
Author's own summary reads as follows: "For various aesthetic reasons, it may be attrative for composers to adopt a "gesture of improvising" to display an attitude that feigns improvisation or spontaneous musical action. Examples taken from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as well as from music of the last fifthy years, illustrate some of the procedures of and motivations for this ostensible immediacy. Noteworthy aspects include the conscious presentation of freedom when creating music, the demonstration of contingencies surrounding the musical process, but paramount and preceding any musical action, however, is the confrontation with music's materiality, which brings to the fore the moment of the creative beginning in music"
(g3) / von Kieseritzky, Herwig von: "Zwischen Alltagserfahrung und ästhetischer Vermittlung. Musikalisch-szenische Konzepte - Überlegungen und Beispiele". Bidrag til "Themenschwerpunkt: Improvisieren nach Konzepten", ringgespräch über gruppenimprovisation LXVIII, juni, 2002.
This is a good treatment of the intermidiary area between composition and quasi nothing - that is, agreements made by improvisors. An important issue which has not yet had the amount of focus it deserves.
(g3)/ Kösterke, Doris: "Was ist Qualität?", ringgespräch über gruppenimprovisation LXVII, juni, 2001.
Considerations taking as their basis the novel by Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Quality lies in the relation between the beholder and the object.
(g3)/ Lange, Barbara Rose: "Teaching the Ethics of free improvisation". Critical Studies in improvisation vol. 7 nr. 2, 2011.
Ideals of equality are often cherished by improvisors. Cardew (1971; G3) views this issue in the context of philosophical ethics. However, how can they be realised in an educational setting based on the teacher's authority? The author raises this issue and discusses it in relation to a community ensemble in Houston, USA. One example of attempting to open for dialogue and participant's choices in teaching is quoted p.5. Statements from participants are quoted and summarised which describe the friendly, yet also serious atmosphere. This is, so the author assumes, why some of them came to feel less afraid of the urban neighbourhood in question.
(g3)/ Lind, Rikke: "Improvisation". Klassisk musik. DR's magasion om livet i musikken og musikken i livet, nr. 5, maj, 2003.
Harpsichordist and conductor Lars Ulrik Mortensen deals with improvisation in earlier times and in music history and states that historic music practise has re-established improvisation and in so doing made it possible to have more improvisation teaching at conservatories.
(g3)/ Linnros, David: "Ständigt flöde - improvisationen och sökandet efter friheten", Special issue on improvisation, Nutida Musik 2, 2005.
Resaon and Nature may appear as enemies, reason having become totalitarian and one-sided - according to Adorno/Horkheimer. Friedrich von Schiller, who built on ideas from Kant, asserted that sensibility cannot be simply subsumed under reason. Solely when they interact, humans can realize their potential: "Only when [the human being] changes, it EXISTS, only when it remains unchanging IT exists", says Schiller. So, "without form no matter, without matter no form". Applying these reflections to music, the author concludes that the concepts of improvisation and composition represent abstract principles, hence they are not very informative. Therefore, he recommends that discussion be focused on the actual potentials and limitations of the music in question.
(g3)/ Lucier, Alvin: "An einem hellen Tag. Avantgarde und Experiment", MusikTexte 92, Februar, 2002.
Critique, among other things, of a practise of playing cue-music by Wolff from fixed versions.
(g3)/ Lundman, Tony: "Med eller uden kaos", Dansk Musiktidsskrift 6, marts, 2002/2003.
About the festival Stockholm New Music 2003 which focuses on composing musicians and composers who are musicians themselves. "You have to see the musician as an artist and not just as a tool", Ivo Nilsson stated (p.201). The entailing discussion is summarized.
(g3)/ Mathias Maschat: Performativität und zeitgenössische Improvisation in: kunsttexte.de 2/2012. www.kunsttexte.de accessed 18.February 2016. 15 numbered pages.
This German article deals with similar matters as does the bilingual one(Maschat 2016; G3). It makes the history of performance theory and related disciplines more clear and features longer discussions of the concepts. It also includes a number of short vignettes of analysis of recorded inprovisations by Léandre as well as by Gräwe/Butcher/Schneider/Blume, Butcher, Vorfeld and Quan Ninh.
(g3)/ Maschat, Mathias: Improvisation - Performativität - Ästhetik / Improvisation - Performativity - Aesthetics. Von der Performance musikalischer Improvisation zur Improvisations ästhetik / From performing musical improvisation to aesthetiocs of improvisation, in: Gagel, Reinhard;Schwabe, Matthias (Hg/eds.): Improvisation erforschen - improvisierend forschen. Beiträge zur Exploration musikalischer Improvisation. / Researching improvisation - researching by improvisation. Bielefeld (Transcript Verlag) 2016. Bilingual throughout.
The author proposes the idea of an aesthetics of improvisation based on performativity, not on materials and structure. Performativity is opposed, for instance, to the term "theatricality" which is, rather, focused on the presentation or staging of something concrete and pre-existing" (Fischer-Lichte quoted p.237) This is also named by the author in more general terms, "the predominance of the phenomenologically appearing over the hermeneutically meaningful" (p.239). In one word, "eventness" (p.237). Other characteristics from performativity theory are an auratic quality - emphasis on prescence - the phenomenon of emergence and the phenomenon of emergence. For an additional, more extended discussion of these topics by the same author, see Maschat (2012;G3)
(g3)/ Morris, Joe (2012): Perpetual Frontier. The Properties of Free Music. Stony Creek, USA (Riti Publishing).
This book deals with systematic descriptions of free improvised music and its jazz background. Talking on the background of a long teaching experience, the author thinks there is a lack of "information that is actually transferrable...delivered in explicit, succint language and compatible with the technical language of other music" (p.19). So he works on approaching such terminology.
There are sensitive and diplomatic statements about the development of free music in relation to jazz. Descriptive overall labels are stated as "Melodic structure - Pulse - ... - Form". They are seen in the context of possible improvised processes. "Interaction" has also made its way here - but collective improvisation is dealt with elsewhere in a special section, see below.
The section with "Example Methodologies" seems to throw important light on the American free music tradition through characterising methods of Cecil Taylor (Unit structures), Ornette Coleman (Harmolodics) and Anthony Braxton (Tri-Axiom Theory, including use of different notation forms and ways to organise an orchestra involving "the use of sub-group, self-directed, and self-conducted performance", p.97). According to the author, the first two and maybe also the last one have "templates" as their central compositional tool - a melodic short pattern, possibly with additional properties, or in other words a mode, which can be varied. Together with "European Free Improvisation", these have had no less than "broad influence on free music", according to the author. If the author had included some small, concrete written examples for those three it might have been even more clarifying (please do for the next edition ;-)
It seems a far-reaching thesis that American Free Music (or the generation thereof roughly circumscribed by these three) as its main compositional technique employs segments of the twelve tones in a way similar to Arnold Schoenberg or followers like Milton Babbitt. However, this form of composition has been extensively cultivated by American classical composers. The terminology of Morris sounds consistent with such a thesis.
"European Free Improvisation" is dealt with as one more "operational methodology", parallel to the three other selected approaches. European readers (like the present writer) can have the curious experience of an almost "ethnographic" description from outside of our use of extended techniques, emphasis on timbre rather than pitches, form as "indecipherable" - and even of collective improvisation without hierachy. This is described here as a uniquely European variety - although the author does concede that the tendencies have from a certain point on also mixed. While these descriptions in themselves can be precise and thought-provoking, a more questionable statement is made about durations allegedly being short for the most part and the music consisting of a "sequence of sounds" (p.104). Perception is not as simple as this might suggest; the same music may be perceived by different listeners and players in different segmentations and entities within them. "One sound" is not just one sound.
Last part of the book consists of enquete contributions by the musicians Marilyn Crispell, Charles Downs (ala Rashid Baker), Agusti Fernandez, Simon H. Fell, Mary Halvorson, Katt Hernandez, Joe McPhee, Nicole Mitchell, William Parker, Jamie Saft, Matthew Shipp, Ken Vandermark, Alex Ward, Nate Wooley and Jack Wright.
(g3)/ Prèvost, Edwin: Minute Particulars. Meanings in music making in the wake of hierarchical realignments and other essays, Wiltshire (Matchless Recordings and Publishing), 2004.
This is the second book by Eddie Prèvost, well known drummer of the British improv scene, workshop leader and director of Matchless Records.
Whereas the author's first book, No Sound Is Innocent, ((1995;G3) in the 1945 99 bibliography) took its focus from the playing situation, this one comments on tendencies in music life. The central keyword appears to be communitarism.
This, the author points out, was central to jazz from its early stages and still an unchallenged vital principle for early European improvised music.
Earlier, in 1927, Louis Armstrong, already in a star position, nevertheless recorded with "Hot Five" in a very collaborative way. At the same time, Anton von Webern worked with his Trio opus 20 and did away with hierarchical tonality, a form of democracy taking place on a symbolic level only, but nevertheless utopian. There was an open window to less authoritarian music practise in both fields. "The days of the concerto were not over and the star soloist in jazz had hardly begun" (p.17). One may wonder at the fact that "The heroic figures of the lonely painter, composer, poet or rock guitarist still dominate our popular sense of creative genius. No equivalent place of honour has been found for the highest order of collaborative activity" (p.17).
However, according to the author, communitarism became challenged by the ideas of John Cage of letting sounds be just sounds. This could serve as an excuse for solipcist playing, without listening to or interacting with each other. Such attitudes are, still according to the author, widespread among laptop playing musicians, also when they practice sampling technology.
To be sure, the author values Cage's historic contributions having the effect "to get musicians to loosen up in their relation to the music making materials" (p.107). But his ideal on the role of chance is rather described as of making the "correct mistakes" (p.107). This is to be understood in relation to an anecdote about Thelonius Monk who was once dissatisfied with a performance in which he had "made all the wrong mistakes" (p.101). So, for Prèvost, chance is meaningful especially in its dialectical relation to intentionality.
The author also deplores the development of indeterminate music into "intellectual property" of solely the composer, after having credited it for suggesting "a new social site within music making" (p.36), giving musicians equal rights and responsibilities. He also sees a one sided focus of historical interest on such works from the sixties as a danger. If musicians, however, create their own indeterminate scores, this "would perhaps force them to examine what it is that they find lacking in other more formal compositions. It would also stimulate aesthetic cultural questions" (p.72).
Among additional issues critisized is reductionist aesthetics. "Moments of significant silent serenity" cannot, according to the author, be isolated from the communitarian and processive flux where they arise (p.38). Also he critisizes the label "non idiomatic" music, coined by Derek Bailey, in its use as a general characterisation of free improvisation, for underplaying "the individuality and the uniqueness of a musician, or group of musicians, that is one of the most cherished aspects of free improvisation" (p.14).
A second section of the book gathers together mostly various previously published materials. This section can be hard to read because one must in some cases know the context. For example, John Zorn is critisised in two of the chapters, and only in the second one it becomes apparent that this has to do with "revival" efforts which are, however, not described in further detail.
The writing style of the book is rhapsodic, viewpoints being often repeatedly stated when taking up new examples at various points in the discourse. The strength of this is the immediate feeling of being in the company of the author speaking. A drawback seems to be that issues brought forward are eminently such ones that need to be discussed within a wider field of musicians. It could be an idea for possible further writings to have co-authors with adverse opinions.
It cannot be overlooked that there is a pessimistic tone throughout the book. If one reads it as a manifesto or a pamphlet it may appear conservative, seeing no hope at all in newer developments such as the use of laptops and sampling.
However, "The validity of this activity will be assessed ultimately by how resonant the responses are to these texts, even through many of my theses may come to be modified by myself or crucified by others" (p.3), we are told in the introduction. So go ahead and discuss with the author!
(g3)/ Prèvost, Edwin (Eddie): "Free improvisation in music and capitalism: resisting authority and the cults of scientism and celebrity", in Saunders, James (ed.): The Ashgate Companion to Experimental Music (Ashgate), 2009, pp.131-144 (=Saunders (2009;G5)
Prèvost's basic thoughts seem to have found their hitherho most concise form on 13 pages here. The summary by James Saunders goes (p.3), with a comment after the semicolon: "Prèvost argues that the collaborative nature of music exploration is not fully acknowledged through the process of writing scores, of fixing sounds and their innovative techniques of production. The result of this appropriation of sound by composers is an embedded capitalism within music: it is perhaps a notion which defines a more chronological avantgarde, where as Philip Cornes suggests ' You already see where the great tradition of Western culture is supposed to go; who's the genius who will get there first' ".
(g3)/ Prèvost, Edwin: Exploratoria (deutsch) / Exploratoria (English), in: Gagel, Reinhard;Schwabe, Matthias (Hg/eds.): Improvisation erforschen - improvisierend forschen. Beiträge zur Exploration musikalischer Improvisation. / Researching improvisation - researching by improvisation. Bielefeld (Transcript Verlag) 2016. Bilingual throughout.
The biologically inspired thoughts which were only dimly suggested in Prèvost (2011;G2.1) are carried out in more detail here. Our "first nature" consists in adaptive and reactive responses, including those of hearing and sound. While this has an instinctive character, "second nature" comprises culturally conditioned behaviour such as language and music. "Third nature" is a conscious reflection on and amendment of culture, and musical improvisation is one activity embodying "The idea of newly (and constantly) exploring the world" which is "essentially denied to most people". Re-establishing connections to our biological imperatives (first nature) and thus avoiding rigidity, the author points to these areas: 1.Technical intelligence A strong feature of this capacity is curiosity. Why are things how they are? What can they do? 2. Social intelligence Theory of mind. What are other people thinking? How can they help me? Emppathy. 3.Self-awareness (as an individual, as part of a family, of other social groupings and as a species).
(g3)/ Sansom, Matthew: "Improvisation and identity. A qualitative study". Critical studies in improvisation /Études critiques sur l'improvisation, vol.3, no. 1, 2007.
On the basis of musicians' comments to video recordings of their own playing, the author describes various "continua": Musical Object, Heart/Mind, Body, Instruments, Partner and Environment. Cases are described, and Julia Kristeva's views of how meaning emerges is pointed out as relevant for understanding the "self-invention" process (Prèvost) of free improvisation. According to her, there is a tension between social restraints and disruptions of the order they represent. This makes parody, irony, innovation, creativity and revolution fruitful areas of study. - See, however, the author's PhD Sansom (1997; G3) with more details and a theoretical model which is not mentioned in the article.
(g3)/ Saunders, J (2015) Heuristic models for decision making in rule-based compositions. In: Ginsborg, Jane et al (ed): Ninth Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, 715–19. Royal Northern College of Music 17-22 August 2015 (proceedings). Downloaded 24 February 2016 from http://www.escom.org/proceedings/ESCOM9_Manchester_2015_Abstracts_Proceedings.pdf
Heuristics is about making choices, with the amount of analysis reduced to what is practical. Compositions involving choices of the "if-then" kind during performance are examined: Chr. Wolff (For Pianist 1959), Joseph Kudirkas harmony (2007, text-notated) and the authors' All voices are heard (2015, text-notated).
(g3)/ Scheib, Christian: "Filter, Struktur, Speicher. Improvisation: Aktuelle Momentaufnahme aus einer Zwischenwelt in einer Zwischenzeit. Fallbeispiel Österreich", in: Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, Heft 3 (Juli/August) p.18-21, 1999.
Article which inspired Peter Niklas Wilson by looking beyond the opposition of composition / improvisation.
(g3)/ Schwabe, Matthias: "Musik von der Quelle. Über musikalische Qualität im Allgemeinen und improvisatorische Qualität im besonderen", ringgespräch über gruppenimprovisation LXVII, juni, 2001.
The author makes reflects thorougly on the issue of musical quality with empirical descriptions as the starting-point. Sounding together and playing together are concepts describing essential, specific characteristics according to him.
(g3)/ Schneider, Hans: "Klangnetze oder Kunst als Erfahrung der Horizont-Erweiterung und der eigenen Veränderbarkeit", in: Schneider, Hans (Hg.): Klangnetze: ein Versuch, die Wirklichkeit mit den Ohren zu erfinden, Saarbrücken (Pfau) 2000.
Touches upon the issue of improvisors dealing with combining their own worlds with the multitude of what is outside of it.
(g3)/ Scott, Richard: "Free Improvisation and Nothing: From the Tactics of Escape to a Bastard Science". ACT – Zeitschrift für Musik & Performance, Ausgabe 2014/5 p.2-23.
This text proposes an excellent critique of the way in which improvisors refuse to characterise their music. This way they also keep away from defining the territory they work with and its strengths and ressources. A number of musicians' statements are discussed. The text goes on to discuss concepts from among others philosophers Landgraf and Derrida, including that of "molecularity", which emphasise a completeness in the complex situation in which to play, rather than nothingness. - However, there seems to be a more down-to-earth job which the author leaves to others: following up the critique with describing actual idioms at play (cf. Bullock (2010;g3) and actual social contexts.
(g3)/ Scott, Richard: "The molecular imagination. John Stevens, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Free Group Improvisation" in: Schroeder, Franziska; Ó hAodha, Michéal: Soundweaving. Writings on improvisation. Cambridge (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), 2014.
Describes the pointillistic playing manner of John Stevens and the Ensemble, founded 1965 together with Trevor Watts and over the following decades also including Derek Bailey, Poul Rutherford, Barry Guy, Maggie Nicols, John Butcher as well as many other English improvisors.
Scott uses the notions of "hyper-contrapunctualism" and "hyper-interactivity" "to characterise the broader process without denoting a particular musical idiom" (p.98) along with the Deleuezian term "molecular". Sleeve notes by Milo Fine and by Stevens from historic releases are quoted which testify to the collective character of this music. Connections to Stevens‘ way of teaching are traced. The author proposes that, also outside in its own right, this way of playing is interesting to contemplate in the historic context of later, related ways.
(g3)/ Stangl, Burkhard: "Schall, Schrift und Schallschrift", in: Schneider, Hans (Hg.): Klangnetze: ein Versuch, die Wirklichkeit mit den Ohren zu erfinden, Saarbrücken (Pfau) 2000.
Deals with various aspects around writing, "orality" and media.
(g3)/ Stryi, Wolfgang: "Ein Garant für die Intensität.. Heiner Goebbels im Gespräch". Special issue Improvisation, MusikTexte 86/87 November, 2000.
(g3)/ Paul Steinbeck: Talking Back: Performer-Audience Interaction in Roscoe Mitchell’s “Nonaah”, in: mto, Music Theory Online, Vol.22,3, September 2016. http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.16.22.3/mto.16.22.3.steinbeck.php Accessed 27.October 2016
Analyses the interaction between Roscoe Mitchell as a soloist and an audience in the recording mentioned. The audience was hostile at the start because Mitchell appeared instead of Anthony Braxton. After describing a number of observations, the article characterises Mitchell's improvised strategy to cope with this unforeseen situation.
g3/ Mikael Tuominen: Fri improvisation - hur tänker musikern? Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Musicology. 1998 (In Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor)
This study aims to create deeper insight in how professional musicians practice free improvisation. The background chapter provides an overview of the concepts of “improvisation” and “free improvisation” and then followed by a presentation of previous research in the field. The theoretical basis for the study is the socio-cultural perspective on learning and communication.
The data consists of qualitative interviews with four professional improvising musicians. The results show the musician’s view of improvisation, free improvisation and freedom, their practicing tools and their use of acquired skills. It reveals that the interviewed musicians regard it important to practice a lot, to have a personal method, to be able to disconnect the intellect when improvising and to collect experiences in a “metaphorical backpack”. In the concluding discussion chapter the results is discussed in relation to the previous research and to the socio-cultural perspective on learning. A conclusion is that the backpack metaphor is in accordance with the socio-cultural perspective on learning and that learning happens constantly. Another conclusion is that an improvisation never can be completely free. A musician´s freedom in improvisation could be described as being free to something rather than from something.
(g3)/ Wakao, Yu: The Modern Idea of Creativity and its Infuence on Music Therapy. Music and Arts in Action vol.5 (1), 2016, 5-10. Online (see link above).
Contrasts Western and Asiatic ideas of creativity: dynamism versus ambiguity, music in context versus individualism and psychologization.
(g3)/ Weymann, Eckhard: "Dynamische Spielverfassung - die Voraussetzung für den Umgang mit Nicht-Wissen (Dynamic playing state as a prerequisite for dealing with unknowing)". Musiktherapeutische Umschau 35, 2014 Heft 3, 228-36.
Author's summary: In its »free« musical improvisation, music therapy makes use of a form of action whose programme is the unforeseen and the unplanned. This requires (and fosters) the ability to make constructive use of uncertainty (negative capability), openness to what is taking place and confidence in process. Thus the ability to play and to enter dynamic playing states is focussed on as a core competence of music therapists. As well as several historic examples of this attitude of playful unknowing (Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci, Kleist), contemporary authors are introduced who in dealing with complex professional problems find the exclusive use of factual and methodological knowledge inadequate and describe other ways – artistic or playful – of dealing with uncertainty and complexity.
(g3)/ Wilson, Peter Niklas: "Rekonfigurationen. Komposition und Improvisation", MusikTexte 86/87 november, 2000.
On the greater visibility of improvisation in concert life in recent years. Good, full discussion of form concepts, with interesting quotations from musicians. On well-known indetermination aesthetics within new music as a sign that opposites are becoming relative. A fine summing up of this authors' insights till now.
(g3)/ Wilson, Peter Niklas: "Tendenz zur Kanonbildung", ringgespräch über gruppenimprovisation LXVII, juni, 2001.
An attempt to describe the norms and expectations concerning freely improvised music.
g3/ Wilson, Peter Niklas: "Von der sozialen Irrelevanz improvisierter Musik" in: Jazz und Gesellschaft. Sozialgeschichtliche Aspekte des Jazz (Knauer, Wolfram, hrsg.), 2002 (Part of a series: Darmstädter Beigträge zur Jazzforschung Bd.7).
Wilson discusses improvisors' notions of improvisation as having great innovative forces and the paradox that this music has no attention from society and the general public. Some typical audience prejudices of alleged "elitarism" and "abstract" proporties are discussed which mistake the anti-systematic and concrete here-and-now aspect, yet reveal that demand is placed on the listener: that of being totally present. Eclecticism makes, according to Wilson, the present situation maybe more problematic than the pioneer situation earlier. W. concludes that the process character of improvised music (which many improvisors think is important) should be reflected more in the music's presentation forms.
G3.1. IMPROVISED PERFORMANCE PRACTISE RELATED TO EXPERIMENTAL AND NEW WORKSSee also: Kopp(2010;E1); Solare (2008;E1); Jahn (2006;E2); Melvin (2010;G1.1); Polaschegg (2007;G1.1); Frisk (2008;G2.1); Nonnenmann (2004;G2.1); Toop (2008;G2.2); Wilson (2000;G3); Toop (2008;G2.2) - and in the "old" department before 2000: Müller (1994;g1.1), Zingsheim (2015;G3.1).
(g3.1)/ Kallenberg, Jim Igor: "Gewissermassen Neuschnee. Konzert-Symposium "for Cathy Berberian" in Frankfurt". MusikTexte 147, November 2015.
Report from a symposium having various lectures dealing with the independent way in which the singer Cathy Berberian interpreted new music. One of these views is that of René Michaelsen, who claimed that she employed a certain distance to the works allowing her to creatively assume different roles towards them, in the sense of "Camp-Art", a notion of the nineteen hundred sixties, thus creating a "panopticon" of qualities.
(g3.1)/ Michael Joseph McInerney: Performance and the page : an artist's investigation of the dialogue between the musical event and the written score. University of Plymouth, 2007. Download from Plymouth University: https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/handle/10026.1/826 (Two text volumes only). Download from British Library: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.497745 (Two volumes of text plus audio recordings) - downloaded 14.October 2019
A Ph D presenting diverse viewpoints and analysis on works studied and including own ones. There is first a taking issue with the simple "transmission model" of a message being transmitted from composer to musician to listener - the author reviews critically its ambiguities and logical shortcomings. "Prescribing the Musical Event 1: Instructions for Performance" reviews experimental works that primarily rely on defining performers' actions and interactions, rather than just sounding results. "Prescribing the Event II: The Image of Sound" reviews ways to deal with the musical material between the poles of "top down" og "bottom up". "Prescribing the Event III: Models of Time" takes as its basis the Heideggerian time concepts: Zeitlichkeit (='timeliness': toward, back to, dwelling-with / being-with) and Temporalität (='temporal science') which is 'modes of understanding (such as a priori, beforehand and absence). As a third layer, there is 'the vulgar concept of time', a simple succession of moments. From here, a number of works are again reviewed, according to a classification of how events are related, and how they possibly evolve.
Beyond the transmission model, the following alternatives are mentioned and elaborated over:
- subversion (Reactions to John Cage's visit to Darmstadt 1958; Transicion by Mauricio Kagel as a main example for analysis)
- non-intention (Cage)
- excess (Busotti)
- anarchic social ideas (Scratch, Wolff)
It is demonstrated how Haubenstock-Ramatis' Batterie may be read as 'linear script' or as 'diagram' according to a free decision by the performer. Works by Logothetis are given special attention. Huizinga's concept of play as culturally important is brought up, together with Gadamer's concepts of Bildung (self-cultivation), common sense, judgement and taste. These four are culturally determined, yet they leave open fields for individual orientations and decisions. And being commonly accepted as elements of human culture, it could also be natural to imagine a "hermeneutic aesthetic", as the title of the concluding section goes.
The PhD includes a portfolio of authors' own compositions, including Interfaces for 3-8 musicians emphasising different interactive models, from 2001.
Works cited by other composers are (in order of appearance) Logothetis, Mumma, Oliveros, Lachenmann, Cage, George Brecht, Kagel, Christian Wolff, Stockhausen, Ligeti, Feldman, Penderecki, Lutoslawski, Philip Glass, John Adams, Terry Riley, Earle Brown, Boulez, Haubenstock-Ramati, Crumb, Bussotti and Stockhausen.
(g3.1)/ Tanja Orning: The polyphonic performer. A study of performance practice in music for solo cello by Morton Feldman, Helmut Lachenmann, Klaus K. Hübler and Simon Steen-Andersen. Ph.D, Norwegian Academy of Music 2014 - revised interactive pdf 2019. http://hdl.handle.net/11250 /2626846 downloaded 11.January 2020. Video recordings: http://prosjekt.nmh.no/orning-polyphonic-performer/
This Ph.D both offers comprehensive analysis of a number of contemporary works for solo cello and proposes powerful concepts regarding the analysis of contemporary performance practise in general.
The works are: Morton Feldman: Projection I (1950) and Intersection IV (1953)
Helmut Lachenmann: Pression (1969)
Klaus K. Hübler: Opus breve (1987)
Studies for String instrument #1-3 (2007, 2009 and 2011)
Each has been practised extensively and is included on video recordings with the author. The Feldman pieces even appear in two versions: one focusing on "Werktreue" (authenticity regarding the work) and a different one focusing on "Texttreue" (authenticity regarding the score). Comparison recommended!
From the practical experiences, general conclusions are made: "none of the composers actually and deliberately bestow interpretational freedom to the performer" (p.289) - this is even the authors' opinion on the Feldman works (having "boxes" and approximate pitch and time indications). Composers have had very definite ideas, yet practical research has to take place. The ambiguity arising from new notational means results from modernism, not from an intention to expand the creative space for the performer. So the notion of improvisation would have no meaning here. And yet, nevertheless two factors create a strongly motivating challenge for the performer: First, the ambiguity described above necessitating an open and independent approach to accomplish the tasks posed. And second, the use of prescriptive notation, that is, describing movement instead of sound (similar to historic tablatures) engages the body in a more "visceral", immediate, personal and "site-specific" way (p.173, 301 et al.). So even if the works have been composed as a kind of one-way messages, the author perceives a certain opening up of the performers' role stemming from the necessity of active research work.
New general competences are required to play this kind of repertory (p.307-8):
- technical skills
- practising skills
- interpretational skills
- an experimental approach to idiomaticism
An interesting comparison of the above competences with Storesund's checklist (Storesund (2015;G3.1)) could be made.
The performer who embodies these competences becomes a "polyphonic performer" because of "the possibility of conflicting, contrasting, and even antinomic elements" and because "Essential to polyphony is the equality of the voices in a dialogic or multi-faceted discourse" (p.311).
Despite the possibility of exercising some independency in practising the works, the author sees a strong discrepancy between the work as a one-way message placing creativity almost only on the side of the composer and the critical, active performers' role their works so inevitably seem to invite. So one could ask the "pertinent question: is an instrumental performer more closely akin to an artisan or to an artist?" (p.313) or, looking at the cultural context:
"Is it not paradoxical that works aiming to examine ideas and critique past practices should be carried out by obedient and faithful servants?" (p.314)
Still another argument draws on observing more liberal attitudes in historical performance practise and within theatre.
Even with music works being more open than treated here, the dilemmas and issues described seem absolutely fundamental for discussing the performers' role and creative collaboration.
(g3.1)/ Alexis Porfiriadis: Collective Thoughts: A collaborative approach to preparation and performance of open form compositions for groups. PhD, Bath Spa University (UK), 2016. Downloaded 9.October 2019 from http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/9316/ See also his compositions at International Improvised Music Archive, IIMA: www.intuitivemusic.dk/iima/ap.htm
How are decisions regarding musical form taken in indeterminate and open works, asks the author. We are given a systematic tour into examples of possible answers from musical works, both decisions taken prior to the performance and during performance. They may be taken by the composer; devised as a game by the composer; taken by third person (conductor) or representative of the group or by performers individually. Or be taken by the group (prior to performance), which is what the author demands in most of his compositions, in order to arrive at a real form of creative participation from the musicians. It is, according to the author, decisions regarding form of the music that push the musicians into taking ownership of the music and its presentation, rather than those regarding details.
Another section deals with issues of group functioning. The group situation may result in conformity and straining for concensus - or in "group flow", a creative state of which "collaborative emergence" and an open-ended "problem-finding creativity" (terminology from Sawyer) are characteristics. Prerequisites include "complete concentration" and "being in control" - having the freedom to decide and time enough.
Else, this thesis deals with the authors' own compositions and the performance processes involved, including feedback from the performers.
(g3.1)/ Storesund, Else Olsen: Open Form – An Expanded Performer’s Role. A Handbook. PhD, Bergen University (Norway), 2015.
https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/147680/160205 Accessed 12. January 2017.
As the title suggests, this is a practical handbook, guiding musicians in how to perform open works. If one keeps insisting on learning about this repertory, one will eventually find out through hard work and working with the right colleagues. But it is less easy for those students, their teachers and musicians who might be interested if they just got the necessary information. This is exactly what is given here.
There is a "basic recipe" proposed of four, logically progressing steps: analysing the score - making a bank of ideas - testing ideas and practise performance - performance. These have many subdivisions with questions, making the recipe an extensive checklist which takes account of a large number of possible problem issues. For instance, at the beginning we read: "What does the score tell the performer about what tasks to perform and what responsibility to take"? Additional questions ask: "Does the work have an instructional text? If yes: what does the instruction say?" And further: "Is the instruction clear and logical, or is there any individual need for interpretation of the instructions? Is there anything that the instructional text does not deal with?" (p.23). The newcomer to the repertory is thus encouraged to analyse for him/herself and identify possible issues requiring both creative reflection and decisions from the performer. The second step, "Making a bank of ideas" goes further to demand that the musicians makes clear "What possibilities and what limitations does the score give for a realization?", and possibly, "Do I need to define any specific rules for possibilities or constraints for this specific realization?". On such backgrounds, it will next be possible to design relevant exercises, to experience what playing the piece can be all about. Then, in subsequent developments, focus moves increasingly and slowly towards the performance itself. For instance: "Does the work require attention from the audience in an unusual way?" and, very importantly, "Interaction: how to relate to fellow players" (p.30+33)- these, and more, are discussed in details.
But then there is a large section with 9 "showcase studies", partly an anthology posessing all the usefulness this word implies. In the first five plus that by Melhus, the performing material is quoted in extenso so that you have everything you need to attempt playing them. Again detailed, practically oriented discussions lead through the long checklist for each work, now tightly connected to their specific issues. Insightful remarks abound - for instance, it is said about the "barely audible" dynamics in Feldman's Intermission no. 6 that it should be thought of from the audience's side - the sound disappears way down in the hall before it does where the pianists sit. Works vary a lot - from Cardew's little graphical drawing with no explanation and Pauline Oliveros' text piece Horse sings from Cloud to complex works like Earle Brown's December 52 and Chr. Wolff's Edges. Even these two latter ones are analysed and admirably illuminated from the practical perspective. Else, there are works by the author herself and Bjørn Thomas Melhus.
Additionally, there are some sections commenting general issues. "Authentic performance, or not?" seems a crucial one for classical musicians. The first sentence already makes a prompt statement: "Playing with historical accuracy is not the same thing as playing which is historically informed" (p.139). The theme of interaction is taken up again, explaining with examples how playing can be simultaneously (individuals are independent), it does not have to be the traditional "playing together" - meaning that the performers may adjust their musical actions to each other as desired". Whereas in playing simultaneously "they continue to play what is decided at that moment intuitively (as in improvisation), or what has been pre-determined, withoutany regard to what the fellow players play". And notably the sentences goes on: "This applies to all parameters..." (p.144). So very simply put, one does not adjust dynamics towards the same "balance" either in this case. Some further remarks are made in the direction of open form tradition and terminology. A concluding section "Where do we go from here" mentions the benefits of not only connecting to an important part of the modern repertory, also "Trusting the performer as a creative artist" and getting to know your instrument better.
This free book is a toolbox containing both guidance and materials enough for an extensive course at high educational level.
A word on the limitations. On the historical and theoretical level it is not exhaustive and was not meant to be. A general classification at the beginning divides notational techniques into "1.Text notation - 2.Graphic notation - 3.Number notation - 4.Extended conventional notation". Notation with numbers is a recurring phenomena in the examples quoted, but thinking of the open repertory as such, one could extend this category into "Non-conventional signs or symbols" or the like - Edges by Chr. Wolff which is included in the showcase studies could be a good example. - Looking at its repertory, it is clearly focused around the anglo-saxon, indeterminacy tradition in which chance and non-linearity is important. Exceptions are the works by Melhus and Storesund herself which feature more linear, narrative processes. In some cases, Stockhausen is hinted at as a contributor to the tradition of open works and the historical role of Darmstadt receives ultra-short mention, but the reader must look elsewhere for a closer description of the European tradition. However, noteworthily enough, the basic recipe, the checklist, is so adaequate that you could also use it here.
G4 PSYCHOLOGYSee also: Bergstroem-Nielsen (2016;G3); Gustavsen (2010;G3); Wakao (2016;G3); Eikmeier (F2;2016A), Porfiriadis (2016;G3.1)
(g4)/ Eikmeier, Corinna: "Ist Spontaneität ein Reflex?" Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation LXXIII, April 2010. Thema: Improvisation zwischen Reflex und Reflexion. P.13-16.
Moshe Feldenkrais is the author of a training method aiming at freeing the body from inappropriate tension. According to him, spontaneity is characterised by the ability to act with ease and no inhibition. In human existence, not only reflexes proper but, to a high degree also, automated habits determine our behaviour. While a large number of habits are useful to us, it is however commonly found that some movements are not well adapted to their purpose and may involve unnescessary tension. There is a contradiction between what different muscle groups try to do, yet this state may easily remain unnoticed, because it has become automatic. The author quotes from Feldenkrais: "When you know what you are doing, you can do what you want". The reverse could also be true: "If you do not know what you are doing, you cannot do what you want".
It follows that musical habits should be examined consciously. This could happen through a self-questioning related to playing. As, however, situations in improvised music require fast action without time enough for always maintaining such attention and reflection, exercises are also recommended. These may be based on limitations, in order to learn to use a given situation with more invention and go beyond habits.
This article appeared in an issue of Ringgespräch with the title "Improvisation between reflex and reflection". See also Gagel (2010; G4) who, interestingly, arrives at a very similar conclusion on a different background.
(g4)/ Gagel, Reinhard: "Der schöpferische Moment: Alles ein Reflex oder...?" Ringgespräch über Gruppenimprovisation LXXIII, April 2010. Thema: Improvisation zwischen Reflex und Reflexion. P.9-12.
Improvisation functions well when the "self" is in charge, not rational consciousness. This "self" is a "subliminal consciousness". Rational consciousness is around half a second behind events before it can act, according to empirical measurement. Danish football player Michael Laudrup illustrated the point clearly when he commented on a chance he missed in a match: "I had too much time - I thought over what to do: I did not hit properly". Another example is traditional Zen teaching which recommends "becoming empty" in order to act properly.
Rational consciousness may block the process, but it is also a nescessary partner. In order go make good collaboration possible, practising the awareness aspect by means of exercises is useful. The so-called "flow channel" describes a fruitful condition which provides the right amount of challenging while still avoiding to provoke blockings.
This article appeared in an issue of Ringgespräch having the general title "Improvisation between reflex and reflection". See also Eikmeier (2010; G4) who, interestingly, arrives at a very similar conclusion on a different background.
(g4)/ Gagel, Reinhard: Improvisation als soziale Kunst. Überlegungen zum künstlerischen und didaktischen Umgang mit improvisatorischer Kreativität. Mainz, Schott 2010. (=Üben und musizieren. Texte zur Instrumentalpädagogik).
This work, written as a PhD at Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Wien, Institut für Musikpädagogik, aims at unfolding a system theory view of improvised music. Inspired from biology, this describes characteristics of the working of complex systems, such as the phenomena of 'emergence' and an 'affect logic' (Ciompi) which regards emotions as a basis for how human consciousness focuses on groups of phenomena. It also discusses theoretical aspects of the social experience with improvised music and aspects of workshop building. This includes the use of improvisation exercises - work by Peter Hoch, Malcom Goldstein and Gertrud Meyer-Denkmann is quoted, as well as work by the author.
(g4)/ Goldberg, Jeffrey: "Improvisation as a Practise of Trust"in: Rothenberg, David (ed.): vs. Interpretation. An Anthology on Improvisation, Vol.1. Prague (Agosto Foundation), 2015, p.47-50.
This short article provides what seems a simple, yet effective and practically relevant meta-model of what happens when we try to make music in the moment: the individual process goes through tuning (body and mind) - allowing (the inspiration/guidance/music-to enter), trusting (that which comes) and acting. It is self-reinforcing through a feedback loop. The author also sorts out the well-known paradox that improvisation implies both a feeling of "rightness", a necessity for what happened - and on the other hand that "there are no wrong notes". "The experience of "rightness" is that of trusting the outer and inner flow; the experience of absence-of-wrongness is that of trusting ourselves" the differentiating statement goes (p.49).
(g4)/ Nachmanovitch, Stephen: Free Play. Improvisation in Life and Art. N.Y. (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc.), 1990. Swedish translation: Spela Fritt. Improvisation i liv och kunst, Göteborg (Ejeby) 2004. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed as a special exception.
(g4)/ Rzewski, Frederic: "Autonomie des Augenblicks. Eine Theorie der Improvisation", MusikTexte 86/87 November, 2000.
The author associates improvisation and composition with short- and long term memory. He views it as having central importance that improvisation is open for the unexpected - a possibility for playing with turning the cause-effect relation upside down in a dynamic manner. Also the aspect of here-and-now is associated with the egalitarian aspect.
(g4)/ Wilson, Graeme B and MacDonald, Raymond: The sign of silence: Negotiating musical identities in an improvising ensemble. Psychology of Music 40 (5):558-573, 2012.
Musicians in a jazz environment and freely improvising musicians describe their playing in different terms. Instrumental mastery or virtuosity is generally seen as a necessity in the jazz environment, whereas free improvisors typically make statements relative and like to mention that other views are possible. This was noted when focusing on the decision-making within the playing situation whether to play or not play in ten interviews with members of Glasgow Improvisors' Orchestra, and comparing with findings from earlier studies with jazz musicians.
(g4)/ Schwabe, Matthias: ”Emphathie in der improvisatorischen Praxis”, in: improfil. Theorie und Praxis improvisierter Musik. Themenheft: Emphathie in der musikalischen Improvisation, Nr. 80, Dezember 2017, p.21-23.
Three contradicting standpoints concerning the prescence of emphaty in free improvisation are discussed. 1) what matters is not what players need, but what the artistic process needs. This could be named "empathy towards the musical material". 2) exceptions from the first principle, however, do exist. The author discusses an experience of playing in which another player as a person arose curiosity and interest from him, without this disturbing the music-making. 3) A group connectedness exists which causes synchronious action with great precision. This seems unexplainable, but is seen as a common experience.
G5 MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS
(g5)/ Bruun, Peter og Andersen, Frode: "Noderne på papiret er ikke musik", Dansk Musik Tidsskrift 4, november, 2000/01.
The line of thought may be summarised approximately like this: music is a rather autonomous thing and expresses time.
(g5)/ Gagel, Reihard; Joachim Zoepf (Hrsg): Können Improvisatoren tanzen?, (Wolke Verlag) 2003.
Documentation from the Symposium Improvisierte Musik in Köln, 21-23. January 2000. With a CD. Contributions by among others: Gagel, Felix Klopotek, Peter Niklas Wilson ("Rekonfigurationen", on improvisation and composition approaching each other institutionally and structurally), Johannes Fritsch ("Improvisation und Extase", comparing improvisation with myth and posing the question about what to do with negative music experiences) and a manifesto by Wolfgang Schliemann and Joachim Zopf, "Improvisierte Musik - Ars sui generis".
(g5)/ Gronemeyer, Gisela; Oehlschlägel, Reinhard (ed.): Special issue Improvisation, MusikTexte 86/87 November, 2000.
Also to be mentioned, in addition to those articles having separate entries: "Improvisation als Herausforderung. Der englische Saxophonist John Butcher" (Martin Pfleiderer) [mentions among other things Chris Burn's Ensemble]. - Other interviews deal with composers and their relation to improvisation: Anthony Coleman, Wolfgang Mitterer, Peter Eötvös, Héctor Moro and Bernd-Alois Zimmermann. Trescher's important analytical article about Cardew's Treatise was already included in my large bibliography as an exception, even if the date is later than 1999 (Trescher 2000;E2).
(g5)/ Hamel, Peter Michael: "Improvisationsformen. Zwischen Experiment und Werkanspruch, Heilkunde und Sozialarbeit, Volks- und Musikhochschule"in: MusikTexte 100, Februar, 2004.
Historic memories around "Freies Musikzentrum", established in München 1979. The author mentions among other things John Cage's critical attitude towards improvisation and the role of Tonius Timmermann for the development of music therapy.
(g5)/ Nanz, Dieter A.: "Improvisieren und Forschen. Gedanken an Rande der Basler Improvisationsmatineen", MusikTexte 114, August 2007, p.83-84.
Various reflections on the progress of history and on an arrangement seeking to combine playing of improvised music and reflecting on it.
(g5) Nanz, Dieter A. (ed.): Aspekte der freien Improvisation in der Musik. Hofheim (Wolke Verlag) 2011.
A series of concerts with ensuing discussions in Basel, Switzerland arranged by musicians Nicolas Rihs and Hansjürgen Wäldele since 2003 was the background for this book, bearing the same title. Participating musicians from this series were invited to provide their own answers to the question: "Which question must be asked in order to understand what is essential for free improvisation?". The invitation was also extended to musicologists, journalists and composers in order to further facilitate a common reflection and development of common concepts in order to make it easier to generally speak about this music form at all. The text on the back of this book quotes Miriam Sturzenegger for formulating this aim. No source is mentioned, but it is a slightly edited excerpt of her contribution to a similar discussion - the one following the article Meyer (2010; G2.2) which had 35 participants in all. It can be found at http://www.dissonance.ch/de/rubriken/6/95. The present book consists of 33 contributions - and the vast majority are from persons who did not participate in the previous discussion mentioned!
When directly following playing or listening, many issues for discussion may sponaneously arise. Thomas Meyer mentions 'form', 'interaction' and 'responsibility' as commonly arising during the series. Urban Mäder provides a detailed documentation of one of his free ensemble improvisation lessons at Musikhochschule Basel. It can show how dialogue is important for meaning to arise. What appears highly meaningful in the middle of the discussion may, however, be not just difficult to "generalise" but simply less illuminating in another context, maybe precisely because there is too little linking to commonly used concepts. The discourse easily becomes labyrintic.
A number of authors critisise the notion of 'freedom' as saying too little about free improvisation. According to Sebastian Kiefer, 'unpredictability' and 'spontaneity' are neither nescessarily connected to each other, nor is spontaneity a special privilege for improvised music. For Matthias Kaul (p.53), freedom exists solely in choosing what to play with (perhaps he means instruments etc) - else, there is a discipline to follow the demands of the context. For Harald Kimmig (p.138), creativity and intuition are worn-down concepts, easy to misunderstand. Peter Baumgartner (p.190) is against being a "poetic apologist of the 'moment', of 'prescence', of 'The New', etc". He points to a predictable dimension in improvisations and to conventional properties in sounding idioms and interaction. This is elaborated by Rudolf Kelterborn (p.177) and Claudia Ulla Binder (p.186). The first mentions a lack of 'unorganic' impulses and the dominance of lengthy gradual developments, the second the recurrence of well-known textures: with holes, with an integrated mass of sound, or with a climax. It could seem notions like 'freedom' etc., maybe more relevant to the sixties and seventies, have become outdated, and we need to view free improvisation as a practise in its own right, imposing its own demands on its practioners.
It may seem easier to provide practical advice to musicians. Walter Faehndrich provides a number of checklists dealing with the avoidance of clichés, and Lukas Rohner makes his advice wonderfully clear through graphic visualisations.
Harald Kimmig demonstrates, however, that the goal of reaching common notions in which to talk about free improvisation is perhaps within reach. He poses five questions: 'what happens from the point of view of instrumental technique? What happens aesthetically? Is movement (body), emotion, intellect active? How is communication taking place? Is there a readiness for risk-taking?'. These questions, says the author, could be posed when facing any music, and they aim pragmatically at describing 'hard facts'. They could be said to have an ethnological or sociological flavour, a descriptive character going beyond any purely apologetic views. Thus, they could make general comparisons possible, both within improvised music and between this and other musics.
A "thematic register" lists a number of concepts and occurrencies within the book.
See also Nanz (G2.1; 2007), written by the editor, which presents a critical view of the theorising part of the series, together with an acclaim of the performance part.
Authors other than those mentioned above are Fritz Hauser, Sylwya Zytinska, Malcolm Goldstein, Christian Kaden, Hans Saner, Philippe Micol, Shristoph Schiller, Carl Ludwig Hübsch, Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, Lukas Rohner, Sebastian Lexer, Hans-Jürg Meier, Jacques Demierre, Lauren Newton, René Krebs, Kjell Keller, Michael Vorfeld, Matthias Schwabe, John Butcher, Markus Waldvogel, Peter Baumgartner. Marianne Schuppe, Daniel Studer, Matthias Arter, Roland Moser.
(g5)/ Overgaard, Jacob Thorkild: Improvised Music. Essays and Interviews. Copenhagen (Ed. Wilhelm Hansen, WH 31324), 2011.
The author is a Danish improvising musician who, writing in English, reflects on his own practise. Apart from Bailey's book he seems largely unaware of the body of English literature dealing with his subject. But instead, he investigates his subject to a large extent by introspection and reflection in a sensible way, besides doing interviews and summarising theorists from neighbouring fields. There is an informal tone to the book, as if the reader had just met the author after a concert and they were having a conversation over a drink.
Theoretical references and explorations are made especially fruitfully to theatre, in "Essay #5 - Theatre, Dance and Abstract Painting" (p.94-115). Keith Johnston, father of the concept of "theatre sport" seems to deliver concepts that characterise free improvisation well in its first stages from the sixties and on: keywords such as spontaneity and equal status are focused upon. An interesting deepening out ot this comes aobut by stating the importance of "narrative skills". We are dealing with an open-ended "storytelling", not "telling a story. Also, spontaneity is characterised in several ways, with a view to evade the "normal" suppression of "obscene" and other "strange" contents. Players' attitudes need to be "allowing" to a high degree, and not too much "blocking", in order to develop the common process. - Paxton, the father of "contact improvisation", may help to characterise the interactional aspect by introducing the notion of "friction". It can be seen as related to the method of being connected to other performers. This situation makes events unpredictable and provides constant challenge to participants. Friction also occurs between players or sound sources. It may thus, it seems, be regardet as a constant source of both tension and energy, also in music. It describes a process with multiple components, very different from traditional concepts of melody and accompaniment.
The book also contains a photo series of Danish and international musicians, and interviews with Raymond Strid, Torben Sangild, Peter Ole Jørgensen and Vagn E. Olsson.
Readers should be prepared for frequent errors in the English language - in many cases, Danish expressions have been translated too literally. Instead of "number", read "piece", instead of "fat", read "cool", etc.
(g5)/ Saunders, James (ed.): The Ashgate Companion to Experimental Music (Ashgate), 2009.
Book comprising articles on miscellaneous topics of experimental music generally and interviews with a number of musicians - all related to English music.
"Writing, music" by Michael Pisaro considers with examples works by Cage, Beuger, Brecht, Brown, Wolff, Oliveros, Ono, Tenney, Werder and Pisaro. Edwin (Eddie) Prevost's basic thoughts seem to have found their hitherho most concise form on 13 pages here - see Prevost (2009; G3).
Improvisors Rhodri Davies and Evan Parker are featured in interviews. They have different attitudes towards the sounds they work with: Davies sees his work as an ever ongoing exploration. Even if specific challenges exist to be worked on consistently for a period of time, he likes to move on to something else at some point - and in some cases leave it to composers to use the sounds. Parker, on the other hand, is not against the notion of having a "bag" with known material to use from if he feels it it relevant, neither of using the term of one's own "sound".
(g5)/ Schwabe, Matthias: Interview med Michael Vetter, ringgespräch über gruppenimprovisation LXVII, juni, 2001.
Various information about an important German improvisor. Reflections about the specific quality of improvisation.
(g5)/ Steen-Andersen, Simon: "Improvisation. Uddrag af en samtale mellem komponisten og guitaristen Christian Billian og Simon Steen-Andersen", Autograf XI, 2, november, 2002.(G5)/ Harald Stenström: Free ensemble improvisation. PhD, Academy of Music and Drama, Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg, 2009. Online: https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/20293. 379 pages. With mp3 files.
Interview with some remarks on improvisation.
This study seeks to generally circumscribe free, non-idiomatic ensemble improvisation (as practised by the author) "in itself" with regard to issues such as solo-ensemble, short or long-term collaboration, ensemble size and more, furthter with issues "in relation to" instrument technique, idiomatic improvisation, composition and more, and it sets up a "concept model" with analytical terms which has been expanded from the one proposed by Nunn (1998:G3). In an essay-like style, but with a retained focus on the issues under discussion, a vast amount of literature is reviewed - and often quoted at length. This source is thus a short-cut to literature about free improvisation and unsurpassed in its scope as a collection of quotations, but beyond that also a mapping, a characterisation of the music form in which one can find stimulating discussions.
(g5)/ Wilson, Peter Niklas: "Rekonfigurationen. Komposition und Improvisation", MusikTexte 86/87 November, 2000.
The author begins with statements about the greater visibility of improvised music in concert in recent years. There is a good, full discussion of form concepts, with interesting musicians' quotations. Also the overlapping of composers' improvisors' roles and their difference after all is treated here. This article is a very good summarizing of the insights till now of this author.
H. OTHER WRITINGS.
H1 GENERAL ACCOUNTS OF MUSIC HISTORY, DEALING THOROGHLY WITH THEMES CONCERNING NEW NOTATION FORMS AND/OR IMPROVISATION
(h1)/ Guy de Bièvre: Open, mobile and indeterminate forms. PhD, Brunel University 2012. Available through www.bl.uk
This dissertation examines important aspects of open composition forms in recent music history, both in the form of a general discussion, and by analysing selected works. A portfolio of own works is also commented on.
The general section "On Form" focuses especially on the divergent, sometimes even strongly conflicting, composers' views on openness of composition. Henri Pousseur is pointed to as a composer who conceived of determination and indetermination as complementing, not antagonising each other. Also serialism, according to Dominique and Jean-Yves Bosseur, is viewed by Pousseur "as a tool transgressing the author's omnipresent subjectivity, thus even meeting Cageian concepts" (p.24).
Another problem touched upon is the possible status of unwritten rules, even if "everything" seems to be permitted. The author also looks at the typical attitudes to openness in jazz and concludes (p.36) that "Where the avant-garde composer grants liberties to the performer, the jazz performer takes ungranted liberties with a composer's work."
And the selection of compositions subsequently analysed surely is a mixed one. The first is Earle Brown: December 52, which is scrutinised with special focus on its bckground and genesis, taking in a number of sources studied by the author during a visit to the Earle Brown Archive. It thus presents hitherho unknown material, alongside the numerous published interviews and other texts. See the special category g2.4 especially in the "old" department before 2000 of the present bibliography.
Then follow Miles Davis (Ife 1972-82, analysed on the basis of recordings), Adam Rudolph ("Ostinatos of Circularity" , written materials used for conducted improvisation), Peter Zummo ("Experimenting with Household Chemicals", recording publ. 1995, traditionally written parts to be performed in individual tempos and with some choices and liberties) - and Anne la Berge.
Her pieces may use electronics, be based on a time line, and some are published by Donemus. Performers may influence the electronics settings and play from general indications ("e.g. melody, sustain, long tones, noise, busy", p. 141). She has an interesting characterisation of oral versus written communication of musical instructions. "The decision to put works on paper, rather than communicating them orally, has also to with the symbolic power of paper", de Bièvre says, and quotes the composer: "...because I find oral communication too fleeting and also too commanding. It doesn't allow them enough room for their own fantasy. ... I think paper is a sort of God, but it can be disregarded because one can always take a distance from God" (p.137).
(h1)/ Cox, Christoph; Warner, Daniel (ed): Audio Culture: readings in modern music, USA (Continuum) 2004.
This is a comprehensive sourcebook covering various aspects of experimental music, including improvised music.
A section on "The open work" features texts by composers John Cage, Earle Brown and Anthony Braxton as well as an interview with John Zorn. The three latter texts have not been described by this author before, and the availability of general remarks by Braxton about how to deal with his pieces is a valuable thing. The Zorn interview is an important one, maybe the most important one till now when it comes to information about the game pieces, since it deals in depth with the evolution of game piece composition over time. It also contains Zorn's declaration that he likes the game pieces to remain unpublished, since personal instruction is important - a decision which on one hand is not very helpful for those wishing to study alternatives to a music tradition being still so deeply fixed to traditional notation. On the other hand this might hopefully provoke some more people to create their own game pieces. Umberto Eco's influential "The poetics of the open work" is represented here, very relevant text to go with texts about open compositions.
In the department for "Improvised musics" one finds texts from Derek Bailey's classic book and texts by Ornette Coleman (documenting the role of free improvisation in his work) and Frederic Rzewski (on improvisation and memory). George Lewis' article on "Afrological and EUrological Perspectives" in improvised music after 1950 is also reprinted.
Other relevant texts to be mentioned in this specific context of improvised music and related could be ones by John Cage and Cornelius Cardew's "A Scratch Orchestra: Draft Constitution".
The chapters come with informative introductions to each chapter. Credit must go to the editors for putting the difference between indeterminacy and aleatory devices right in the introduction to "The open work" and for providing a reasonable, short article on "Visual sounds: Graphic scores". Each chapter is preceded by a collection of interesting quotations. There is also an index and a chronology.
With its compilation of essential and useful texts extending into experimental music generally (including recent developments of DJ culture and electronica) this book is a must for libraries and will be a most useful tool for students. It is also a much needed initiative in bridging the gap between American and European experimental / modern music history, taking in materials from both sides of the Atlantic. May more good discussion and work in this spirit follow...
H2.1 BIBLIOGRAPHIC AND DISCOGRAPHIC LITERATURE(H2.1)/See also: Borgo (2005;G1.1)
(h2.1)/ See also: Fischlin (2004;G3).
(h2.1)/See also: Rüdiger et al (2004;F2).
(h2.1)/See also: Roussel (2000; G2.3)
(h2.1)/ Lukoszevieze, Anton: "Die Welt als Musik durchwandern" - "Nahezu komplettes annotiertes Werkverzeichnis Philip Corner", MusikTexte 99, December 2003.
The last title contains a list of verbally and graphically notated works by this Fluxus-orientated composer which is comprehensive and annotated - among other things, instrumentation and notation are stated.
(h2.1)/ Martinelli, Fransesco: Joëlle Léandre Discography, Italy (Vivaldi e Bandecchi) 2002. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed as a special exception.
(h2.1)/ Sounds99 - inlaybook to 3 CD release. Blue Tower Records,BTCD 09/10/11, 1999
Includes discographies of those musicians participating in this festival.
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL AND OTHER INFORMATION
h2.1.1/ Steinauer, Mathias; Wohlhauser, René (ed.): Adesso. Zeitgenössische Musik verlagsunabhängiger Komponistinnen und Komponisten. Partituren - Tonträger - aufführungsmaterial. Katalog 1999/2001, 1999. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed as a special exception.
H3.1 LITERATURE ON MUSIC THERAPY
(h3.1)/ Bruscia, Kenneth A.: "Response to the Forum Discussion of The "IAPs" In The Nordic Journal Web-site" in: Nordic Journal of Music Therapy vol. 11, nr. 1, 2002.
Various practical considerations.
h3.1/ Deuter, Martin: "Polaritätsverhältnisse. Zu einer musikalisch-psychologischen Benennung der Improvisation", in: Vermittlungen..musically speaking. Special issue of Einblicke (hrsg. BVM, Berufverband der Musiktherapeutinnen und Musiktherapeuten in Deutschland e.V.). Zum Improvisationsunterricht im Musiktherapiestudium / On Improvisation Training in Music Therapy Training, Heft 12, November, Manus, 2001. Please see the 1945-1999 bibliography in which this item has been listed as a special exception.
H3.2 WRITINGS RELATED TO THE TEACHING OF INTUITIVE MUSIC AND GRAPHIC NOTATION AT AALBORG UNIVERSITY AND OTHER PLACES
(h3.2)/ Bergstrøm-Nielsen, Carl: "Musicoterapia e improvisaciòn libre", Tavira (2a época), Revista de Ciencias de la Education No 19, Cadiz (Universidad de Cadiz) 2003.
(h3.2)/ Bergstroem-Nielsen, Carl: "Graphic notation in music therapy: - a discussion of what to notate in graphic notation and how", Approaches 1 (2) (www.approaches.primarymusic.gr), 2009, p.72-92.
(h3.2) /Bergstroem-Nielsen, Carl: "Graphic notation - the simple sketch and beyond". Nordic Journal of Music Theray 19 (2), Sept. 2010.
(h3.2)/ Cohen, Susanna; Gilboa, Avi; Bergstrøm-Nielsen, Carl; Leder, Rivka; Milsteina, Yifat: "A multi-perspective approach to graphic notation". Nordic Journal of Music Therapy 2011, p.1-23.
(h3.2)/ Gilboa, Avi; Bensimon, Moshe: Putting clinical process into image: a method for visual representation of music therapy sessions, in: Music Therapy Perspectives 25, 1; Arts Module, 2007.
Authors' abstract: In many instances, music therapists are called upon to analyze their own work or to present it to others. However, the temporality and complexity of clinical-musical events generates challlenging difficulties in providing a quick overview of a single session. In the present paper, a method to visually map the events that occur in music therapy sessions is proposed, following in the footsteps of authors who have suggested graphical notation as a possible solution to the problem. The Music-therapy Analyzing Partitura (MAP) is used by the therapist to describe what happened in a session and is shared with colleagues who may read and discuss it. The establishment of a standard code is proposed, which is based on known principles of music notation and new simply designed symbols and icons. Two clinical sessions with a group are described and the advantages and disadvantages of the MAP are discussed.
(h3.2)/ Gilboa, Avi: Testing the MAP: a graphic method for describing and analyzing music therapy sessions, The Arts in Psychotherapy 34, 2007.
Authors' abstract: The music therapy analyzing partitura (MAP) is a method that was recently proposed to visually describe and analyze music therapy sessions. The main objective of this study was to examine the method and to see if it was in fact clear and usable to music therapists (MTs). Twenty-six experienced and inexperienced MTs were exposed to a MAP and to a written verbal description of the same session. Under a time limitation, they answered informative questions regarding the session and, in addition, indicated the potential of each of the descriptions to raise and analyze research questions. It was found that MTs could easily understand the MAP code. When using the MAP, they correctly answered significantly more questions in comparison with the verbal condition. MTs indicated that the MAP had better analyzing potential than the verbal description. Suggestions for future development of the MAP, as well as its possible implications to arts therapists at large, are discussed.
(h3.2)/ Schou, Karin: Forandring – belyst ved en case i aktiv musikterapi som personjlig vækst. Unpublished masters' thesis, Aalborg University, 2003.
Focuses on a case and analyses material from five sessions using graphic notation.
H4 MISCELLANEOUS OTHER WRITINGS
Note. In the large bibliography (1945-1999), this was a category also for various literature having been mentioned in the text - even including writings I would directly warn the reader against. In this 2000- list H4 is different: it deals solely with various literature which is directly relevant.
(h4)/ Gagel, Reinhard: Review of Rühle (2007;G4) in: ringgespräch über gruppenimprovisation LXXII, april, 2008.
(h4)/ Gagel, Reinhard: Review of Rzewski (2007;G5) in: ringgespräch über gruppenimprovisation LXXII, april, 2008.
(h4)/ Gronemeyer, Gisela; Oehlschlägel, Reinhard (hrsg): Frederic Rzewski. Unlogische Folgerungen. Schriften und Vorträge zu Improvisation, Komposition und Interpretation, Köln (Edition MusikTexte) 2007.
(h4)/ Christensen, Erik: "Overt and hidden processes in 20th century music", in: Seibt, J. (ed.): Crossdisciplinary studies in dynamic categories, Pr. in the Netherlands (Klüwer Academic Publishers) 2003.
Describes two different versions of Variations II (1961) by Cage, thus exemplifying how different versions may be.
(h4)/ Christensen, Jean: "New Music of Denmark" in White, John D. (ed.): New Music of the Nordic Countries, USA (u.tr.)(Pendragon Press Musicological series)) 2002.
In addition to a biographically-oriented dealing with generations of individual composers, some pages deal with experimental tendencies, their organisations and their interaction with mainstream music life and its organistions.
(h4)/ Gagel, Reinhard: anm. af Wilson: Hear and Now, ringgespräch über gruppenimprovisation LXVIII, juni, 2002.
Review of Wilson (1999;G1.1).
(h4)/ Mörchen, Raoul: "Facettenreiches Phänomen. Peter Niklas Wilson in der "edition neue zeitschrift für musik"", MusikTexte 99, Dezember, 2003.
Review of the book on reductionism by Wilson. At the back of the issue of MusikTexte in question there is also an advertisement from the publisher including this book.
(h4)/ Scheib, Christian: "Annäherung an das Utopische. Bücher zur improvisierten Musik von Sabine Feisst und Peter Niklas Wilson, MusikTexte 84, Mai 2000", 2000.
Review of Feisst (1997;G1.1) and Wilson (1999;G1.1). Provides characterisations of the two books and throws them into relief relating them to each other.
Note. Unlike in the 1945-99 bibliography which, even on a modest scale, attempted to list varied selections, this is just a residual category listing recordings mostly belonging to some of the items above! The reader is thus referred to other sources - you may for instance consult
The reviews published on my homepage: http://www.intuitivemusic.dk/intuitive/irev.htm the links section on my homepage http://www.intuitivemusic.dk/intuitive/ilinks.htm.
I1. VARIABLE WORKS AND MUSIC PLAYED FROM RECIPES
(i1)/ See also Collins (2001; H2.1).
(i1)/ Danish Intuitive Music. Compositions by members of the Group for Intuitive Music: Jørgen Lekfeldt (Madison Music 1976, 2 versions; Mirror Labyrinth 1997), Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen (A Meditation on Inner Global Life 1977; Game of Contrasts 1980 Cut it! Sark 1995), Ivan Vincze (Taking a Walk 1994 from "5 Texts for Intuitive music"; Summer-Swings and Jumps 1996) as well as by jørgen plaetner (Winter Music 1994; October 6th 1996 from "improvisationskalender". Also playing: Béla Hamvas Group for Intuitive Music, Birkerød Accordion Orchestra, Lin Ensemble (all DK) and Edges (UK). Illutrated booklet in English. Intuitive Records, IRCD 003, 2000. AUB DKDM
(i1)/ Béla Hamvas Group for Intuitive Music. Compositions by Vincze, Bergstrøm-Nielsen, Plaetner, Lekfeldt and Stockhausen. Intuitive Records IRCD 004 2004. Illustrated booklet in English, German and Hungarian languages. AUB DKDM
(i1)/ Leukert, Bernd (ed.): Christian Wolff. Bread and Roses, Wergo WER 6658 2 2003.
This CD contains 10 different, short interpretation of Wolff's "For 1, 2 or 3 People" and thus amply illustrated how versions may differ. Additionally, there is one long version of Edges. (See Wilson (2003;G2.5) and Wagner (2003;G2.5) for the contents of the booklet).
(i1)/ Tyrrestrup, Hans; Søegaard, Fredrik and "MusEXP": Nocturnes Compositions 2 x 22. Includes a music CD, Jelling (Academy of Music, Esbjerg) 2001.
Book with a series of pictures inspiring improvisations from simple instructions. Additionally, notations representing free fantasy variations over the sounding results have been added. (The additional information here has been gathered from music author Søegaard).
K.EXHIBITIONS OF NEW NOTATIONS AND THEIR CATALOGUES
This list is by exhibition year ascending (scroll down to see the rcent ones).
(k)/ Graphic Scores by Ichiyanagi Toshi January 16(Tues.)- 28(Sun.), 2001, Art Space G, Aichi Arts Center (Japan). In cooporation with KONDO Yasuyo. (http://www.aac.pref.aichi.jp/english/bunjyo/event/PReport-e/00/00-12gs.html). This item has been listed in the 1945-1999 bibliography as a special exception.
(k) / Berlin, Akademie der Künste 20. September - 16. November 2008 / ZKM (Zentrum für Medientechnologie), Medienmuseum Karlsruhe 1.March - 26.July 2009. Curated by Amelunxen, Hubertus von; Appelt, Dieter, Weibel, Peter. Notation. Kalkül und Form in den Künsten. Catalogue: von Amelunxen (2008;E1).
(k)/ Notations21: Breaking the boundaries. Chelsea Arts Museum October 2008. Curated by Theresa Sauer. This exhibition was realised in connection with the publishing of Sauer (2009;E1).
The catalogue consists of 12 pages (28 x 21 cm) and features mainly 3 concert programmes with notes and composer bios. Pieces are by composers featured in the book, apart from Means, David.
(k)/ Cox, Christopher: Every Sound You Can Imagine. Programme booklet for the exhibition at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2008. ISBN 978-1-933619-15-6. Contains the article Cox (2008; E1). Subsequently shown 2009 at New Langton Arts, San Fransisco.
From the complete listing of works it appears that contents of the exhibition was mostly unpublished works, also some European. Both the "classic" period from the 1950s and on as well as recent decades, including many items after 2000, are represented.
(k)/ Notations21: Breaking the coundaries. May 13-31 2009. Hutchins Gallery, C.W.Post Campus, Long Island University, 720 Northern Blvd, Brookville NY. Curated by Theresa Sauer. Sauer. This exhibition was realised in connection with the publishing of Sauer (2009;E1).
The catalogue consists of 20 pages (28 x 21 cm) and features descriptions and notes on the exhibited works, with some illustrations. A number of Notations 21 composers participate as well as Thome, Joel and Chadabe, Joel.
(k)/ Notations21 scores. Picturing the Sounds: Dialects of Contemporary Composers. From October 7th 2010. The University of New Haven Seton Gallery in Dodds Hall, West Haven, CT 06516. Curated by Theresa Sauer and Christopher Reba. This exhibition was realised in connection with the publishing of Sauer (2009;E1).
The catalogue (14 x 21,5 cm, 12 pages) contains notes by the curators and a concert programme featuring music by Notations 21 composers, Mohammed Fairouz and Joel Chadabe, with notes and bios. Christoph Reba's note has an analytical viewpoint that focuses on what has been added to notation in the historical development: "However different these various notation systems may seem, taken together, they speak to the universality of musical expression and interpretation. The role of graphic notation in the world today is to broaden communication between composer, performer, and listener. When Western notation was first developed, the composer was concerned about creating a symbol to represent a sound, and in some sense musical notation is going back to its roots, but at the same time with an eye towards the future. Contemporary composers have seen many more possibilities. They have ideas about collaboration, intuition, imagination, improvisation, time and space and stretching the limits of what we can communicate in symbols."
(k)/ As a part of Festival Blurred Edges 2011 in Hamburg: Exhibition of graphic scores by Phil Corner, Nikolaus Gerszewski, Roman Haubenstock Ramati, Christoph Herndler. Opening concert with Von Eden Band playing TEXTURES by Nikolaus Gerszewski. Schute, Industriestrasse 125, Wilhelmsburg. 15. May 2011 (until?)
(k)/ 2011, 7-21st April. Window exhibition at American Book Center, Spui 12, Amsterdam Centrum, Netherlands. Book presentation during Gaudeamus Interpreters' Competition. Concerts with Notations 21 composers Keren Rosenbaum, John Kannenberg and Collin McRae in other venues.
(k)/ June 2011, Pescara (Italy), arr. by Piotr Lachert For both musicians who are visual artists and graphic score-makers. Scores by Edgar Barroso, Anna Mikhailova, Davide Remigio, Zach Sheets, Juan Manuel Abras and Ann-Helene Schlüter.
(k)/ 2011, 19th June - 16th July. La Zonmé,7 bis rue des Combattants en Afrique du Nord 06000 Nice, France. "Supports d’attaches à sons d’attaques supposées". Une exposition centrée sur les sons fixés sur supports visuels et textuels. Part of the festival "L’Art contemporain et la Côte d’Azur - Un territoire pour l’expérimentation, 1951-2011"
Represented are, among others, Florence Cartoux, Eric Corbier, Yann Denais, Augustin Dupuy, Camille Giuglaris, Florian Gourio, Alexandra Guillot, Henrik, Bruno Lecoq, Thomas Lippens, Martin Mor, Gaël Navard, Aure Ola, Charlotte Pavanello, Pierre Paquette, Manuel Rosas, Jean-François Trubert.
(k)/ 2013, May, Royal Library Copenhagen. Røllum-Larsen, Claus: exhibiton of manuscripts at the Royal Libray on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Danish Composers Society. Works by Bent Lorentzen, Lars Hegaard, Fuzzy, Per Nørgård, Cerl Bergstroem-Nielsen, Jørgen Plaetner, Axel Borup-Jørgensen and Niels Viggo Bentzon. (A photo documention with present author).
(k)/ April - May 2013: Notations 21 Project exhibition - Art League of Long Island, New York.
(k)/ 2014, 22nd March – 5th April 2014, Library of Birmingham.
Represented composers/visual artists were: Robert Ashley, Cathy Berberian, Janet Boulton, Gavin Bryars, Earle Brown, Cornelius Cardew, Erik Christensen, Adam de la Cour, Lyell Cresswell, Brent Michael Davids, Luke Deane, Fred Frith, William Hellermann, Christopher Hobbs, Anton Lukoszevieze, Christian Marclay, René Mogensen, Claudia Molitor, Pauline Oliveiros, R. Murray Schafer, Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen, Henrik Rasmussen, Theresa Sauer, Elliott Sharp, Howard Skempton, Ismail Wadada Leo Smith, Maya Verlaak, Michael Wolters.
The exhibition also included postcard scores created by local people, under the guidance of composer Kirsty Devaney. A selection of these were performed. A performance, "Ringing out" by Beth Derbyshire and Andy Ingamells with audience participation was carried out 5 times. (A photo documentation with present author).
Also there were 15 short daily concerts played from works by: Lyell Cresswell, Halim El Dabh, Wadada Leo Smith, Gavin Bryars, Christopher Hobbs, Fred Frith, Theresa Sauer, Erik Christensen, Henrik Rasmussen, Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen, Anton Lukoszevieze, Janet Boulton, Cornelius Cardew, Pauline Oliveros, Herbert Brün, William Hellermann, René Mogensen.
(k)/ 2014, Month of June. Simone Spagnolo (graphic scores), The Gallery Café, Bethnal Green, London.
The samples shown at the internet pages seem to show fairly traditionally written music, however arranged in visually unusual ways and illustrated with drawings. They were meant to be shown onstage during an opera incorporating some audience participation. http://thegallerycafe.wordpress.com/ - https://www.facebook.com/ItMakesNoDifference/
(k)/ Summer 2014. Der unfassbare Klang, Galerie Maerz, Linz (Austria). [Curated by Herndler, Christoph and Florian Neuner]. Neuner et al. (2014;e1) features many examples of works and written contributions from composers and others involved.
(k)/ 30.August 2014 - 30.November 2014, Marabouparken, Sundbyberg, Stockholm.
The Great Learning Orchestra: A4 rum. Part of: No sound is innocent. Marabouparken, Sundbyberg, Stockholm . A catalogue describes the orchestra which has existed since 1999 and consists of a network of around 100 musicians, professionals as well as amateurs, founded by Leif Jordansson and Pelle Halvarsson. They have the speciality of playing and commissioning compositions written on one A4 piece of paper.
The composers listed below were represented - and all works have been featured at www.a4-room.com, including the recordings: Anastasios Logothetis - Anders Erkéus - Anna Nygren - Annika Ström - Arijana Kajfes - Arnold Dreyblatt - Bebe Risenfors - Björn Wallgren - Carl-Johan Rosén - Christian Wolff - Christine Ödlund - Christopher Hobbs - Cornelius Cardew - Daniel Bingert - Daniel Goode - Dave Allen - David Jackman - David Liljemark - David Linnros - Ebba Matz - Emily Roysdon - Erik Bünger - Erik Satie - Eva Löfdahl - Frederic Rzewski - Gilbert Johansson - Girilal Baars - Gunnar Sandin - Hans Andersson - Henrik Andersson - Henrik Rylander - Hong-Kai Wang - Howard Skempton - Hugh Shrapnel - Håkan Rehnberg - Håkan Sandsjö - Ingvar Loco Nordin - J.G. Thirlwell - Jacob Dahlgren - Jan Liljeqvist - Jannike Grut - Jennifer Rahfeldt - Jeremy Cocks - Jesse Glass - Johan Boberg - Johan E. Andersson - Johanna Billing - Johannes Bergmark - John Cage - Jonas Nobel - LaMonte Young - Lars Bröndum - Leif Isebring - Leif Jordansson - Lina Selander - Lisa Hansson - Lisa Ullén - Lise-Lotte Norelius - Liv Strand - Maria Arnqvist, Cecilia Österholm, Jari Happalainen - Martin Q Larsson - Matti Bye - Mattin - Nils Personne - Olof Olsson - Paul Bothén - Paul Burnell - Pelle Halvarsson - Per Magnusson - Pessi Parviainen - Peter Geschwind - Peter Lindroth - Peter Schuback - Pontus Langendorf - Rinus van Alebeek - Robin McGinley - Sara Lundén - Shida Shahabi/ Anton Svanberg - Stefan Klaverdal - Thomas Brandt - Thomas Elovsson - Tommy Wahlström - Tony Harris - Ulf Grahn - Ulrich Krieger.
(k)/ 2014: Mary Fernety & Christoph Herndler: I COULDN`T STAND THE SMELL OF ROSES. (Notationsgraphik von Herndler). Galerie Forum. Wels, Austria, 2-25. October.
(k)/ 2015 January 23-31. [OpenScores] Kunsthal Århus (Denmark). Arr. by Kunsthal Århus and AUT - Aarhus Unge Tonekunstnere. Concerts Aarhus January 23 and Copenhagen, January 24. - Kristin Boussard (SE), Vassilis Chatzimakris (GR), Marcela Lucatelli (BR/DK), Neil Luck (UK), Julie Myers (UK/DE).
(k)/ DRAWING TOWARDS SOUND: VISUALISING THE SONIC. Curated by David Ryan(Reader in Fine Art, Anglia Ruskin University). 2nd Mar – 2nd Apr 2015 (Private view 3rd March 6pm) Stephen Lawrence Gallery, Project Space, 10 Stockwell Street, Greenwich, London SE10 8EY.
Hallveig Agústsdóttir / Sam Belinfante / Vicki Bennett / Carl Bergstrom-Nielsen / Pierre Boulez / Earle Brown / George Brecht / James Brooks / Laura Buckley / John Cage / Cornelius Cardew / Alvin Curran / Tom Dale / Morton Feldman / Vinko Globokar / Christophe Guiraud / Barry Guy / Roman Haubenstock-Ramati / Neil Henderson / Richard Hoadley / Joan Key / Catherine Konz / John Lely / Michelle Lewis-King / Anestis Logothetis / Onyee Lo / Anton Lukoszevieze / Farah Mulla / Rie Nakajima / Luigi Nono / Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri / Michael Parsons / Simon Payne / Helen Petts / Lauren Redhead / Aura Satz / Thomas Smetryns / Jennifer Walshe / John Wollaston / Christian Wolff / Iannis Xenakis
(k)/ April 2016: International Prize for Non-Conventional Score Music Writing, “Musica con Vista”. Lucca (Italy). Agustín Castilla-Ávila, Bernd Klug, Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen, Daniele Caibis, Dario Buccino, Dženifere Rumpne, Edward Jiang, Enrico Francioni, Eugene A Birman, Gregory Pfeiffer, Lorenzo Di Vora, Luigi Esposito, Luke Cummins, Michael Boyd, Micha Litwiniec, Philippe Festou, Roberto Prezioso, Sergio Armaroli, Shin Mizutani, Simon Henry, Yip Ho Kwen Austin, Zoe Pia, Luke Cummins, Michal Litwiniec, Henry Simon, Philippe Festou, Zoe Pia, Roberto Prezioso, Gregory Pfeiffer.
(k)/ 28.October 2016 - 13.November: Musikwerke Bildener Künstler. Scores. / Works of music by visual artists. Scores. Arr. by Freunde Guter Musik Berlin e.V. in cooperation with the Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof.
Scores by Saâdane Afif, Christian Marclay, Ari Benjamin Meyers, Jorinde Voigt. With concerts featuring the works exhibited by the composers mentioned.
(k)/ https://britishmusiccollection.org.uk/article/jacob-thompson-bell-graphic-scores-exhibition (Internet exhibition as far as available information goes) . Graphic Scores. An exhibition of contemporary approaches to graphic scores to mark the 50th Anniversary of the British Music Collection. Curated by Jacob Thompson-Bell. Works by Jacob Thompson-Bell, Katie English,Jennifer Walshe, Claudia Molitor, Shiva Feshareki, Emma-Kate Matthews, Philip Thomas, Jobina Tinnemans, Jez riley French, Liz Osborne, Phil Legard, and Adam de la Cour.
(k)/ 19.May 2017 - 31.August 2017. Edition Text & Graphix from www.edition-s.dk at the library of the Royal Danish Academy of Music.
Scores by Regin Petersen, Dan Marmorstein, Fredrik Søegaard, Henrik Ehland Rasmussen, Laura Toxværd, Irene Becker, jørgen plaetner, Henrik Colding-Jørgensen.
(k)/ 31.May 2017, Kleiner Saal, Anton Bruckner Privatuniversität Linz, Austria, 7pm. Inauguration of a SCULPTURE of the graphic work "Vom Festen, das Weiche" by Christoph Herndler. Including a dialogue with the composer and headmaster Ursula Brandstätter, and performances of the work. (A photo documentation exists with present author).
(k)/ http://www.graphicscores.com/  (Internet exhibition as far as available information goes). Graphic Score Explorations. Curated by Christina Vantzou, recorded in Les Ateliers Claus, Bruxelles. Works by Hildur Gudnadottir, Peter Lenaerts, Forest Christenson, Amino Belyamani, ISAN, Julia Kent, Neil Leiter, Aan Zee, John Also Bennett, Jordan Dykstra, Christina Vantzou, Peter Broderick.
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