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it's not a wrong note anymore

Sometimes the sun peeks out once in awhile, even deep beneath the Fall / Winter rainforests of Evergreen --- so that day she ran for her Canon:

It's prob a safe bet that they are not playing Mozart. Modern jazz riffs, maybe; more likely, modern pop or folk. They could well be improvising, too. There's a principle in jazz that says if you play a wrong note, forge forward and play it again. Then it's not a wrong note anymore. You've just improvised yourself a new riff. Making history in a few moments.

I don't know how good the music department is at Evergreen [if there even is one], and I don't know how good it is at DePauw Univ, in Indiana, either. But there comes Prof Eric, who teaches how to riff on classical music by getting his kids set up in chamber circles and turning off all the lights.


(Unlike Evergreen, you can't do this outdoors.)

The effect is that the musicians cannot see each other and they can't see their music parts, either. So they can't read them. And the point is that you *** FEEL *** the music, and your instincts and intuitions turn on. Robert Levin, who's an international concert artist, says that doing it in public proves that "the immediacy and the intensity is vivid and dangerous."

Well, I'm all for that :P

The DePauw kids love it. Says it makes them feel like composers. Prof Eric put on a chamber concert last week with a circle of four. For an hour, they did it with no music and no music stands either. And no lights, for two minutes of that, where the performers felt each other's breathing and intuited what each of them was going to do next. It astonished the audience: what they produced was not in anybody's published score at all. It was also energetic, musically sound [pun intended], and they got a big hand.

The point is made that, as we grow up and "learn" stuffs in school, we get trained in somebody else's tradition and methodology --- we memorize somebody else's score or recipe or roadmap or dress-pattern ---- how many times have you personally been told "THIS is the RIGHT way to do it" ?? ?? --- and the spontaneity goes out of us and we learn not to create as long as we want lots of approval anymore. Applies to lots more than making music: making writing too, and dance, and lighting design, poetry ...

Jimi Hendrix' 'sixties take on The Star Spangled Banner is a parallel. Think he would have ever gotten into music school if he'd auditioned with *that* ?? ?? As I also recall, John Lennon got kicked out of art school. He'll never amount to anything.

What? Silverplate is really writing in celebration of the DARK?

Well, it's not for everybody. To jam in the style of Beethoven might sound totally impossible, for most it is.... but some pro musicians who've tried that declare that they understand harmonic structures better and it helps turn them into better intrepretive artists. To jam in the style of Beethoven with no lights on would be... well, vivid and dangerous, Lovely and Amazing. All it takes is willingness to accept the chance to fail. And to get better, tooooo ;)

Applies to living, too. What's tomorrow if it is not some kind of improvisation? Something as simple as avoiding traffic: you never cross the same New York or Amsterdam or Jerusalem street twice with the exact same cars / buses / trucks / cops all honking at you. Something as portentous as choosing a life partner, taking a career track, dropping out of school, dropping INTO school, ummm .. even moving to Europe. Or somewhere you've never lived before. Sometimes, both XD

Also making the choice to turn the lights out and not turn them back on again. For a long while? improvising with the Electric Utility. caps intended.

What is totally attractive to me is that you have your own composer and life artist. Others will share and yell across a whole spectrum of reactions, but it's not them driving the boat over the longest of oceans. In sunlight or midnight or both at the same time...*and* both at the same time, in fact.

And who is that life artist?

Put down your Stradivarius or twelve-string or piecrust wheel or wet clay and look in the mirror.

Just remember to turn the lights back on first, okay?


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 6th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
I just wanted to say I love this entry. =)
Dec. 11th, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC)
Thank youuuuu a bunch :P
Dec. 12th, 2008 06:40 am (UTC)
You SO have to stay in my life. I needed to hear this tonight. Because you keep my creative juices flowing; you remind me to be "loose."

Dude, this is how I compose, play, do music. By ear, improvisation, stopped using any music a long time ago. Music pours forth directly from my soul, through my fingers, into the piano. It's always been that way; can't explain it. Poetry, too. No real effort. The only effort to compose is remembering everything in a set pattern. Improvisation is no chore whatsoever.

This is who and what I really am. You woke that back up again. I will always be forever grateful. *hugs*
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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