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Notes for Brighton rehearsal 29 Aug 08

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on September 1, 2008 at 9:05:18 pm

Ecosonic notes Brighton 29/8/08


1. Ambient impro started the session.

 2. The eyebrow piece (high & low brow too) – or eyeconic. This came from the idea of how the face is used in communication. Eyebrows raised = play high/excited; normal = calm/joy/middle register; lowered = low/depresssed.

Interestingly it seemed that the ‘other’ player must mirror the eyebrow gestures otherwise it becomes eyebrow conducting, which the non-gesturer follows in a detached way.

3. Stimulus-response. 4 x responses: slide down, slide up, low sound, high sound. Stimulus were any abrupt outside sounds eg car door slamming.

4. ‘Eyeconic’ (Thomas’s name) eyebrow impro – recorded. One player invites the other to join in by raising their eyebrows and signals them to stop by lowering them. ]

Note: use of facial gesture was suggested by reading Stern (The First Relationship p13.) My question is can facial gesture be used in complex simultaneous playing to enable dialogue between players – ie. that it is used to stimulate interaction, signify appreciation/disapproval, discontinue an impro, etc. as in ordinary conversation? It would require all players being able to see each other’s faces and to keep scanning them to see whether they were being invited into a dialogue. It’s just a thought – but writing it like this I can conceive that it would be no simple matter and might


1. Whether to interupt or not? If stumulated to interrupt is it allowable or should the first player be allowed to finish?  Discussed the idea of a study or impro (depending on it’s musical fertility) that allows interruption but with a parameter that the player who is interrupted continues with their original idea when the interruption has ended. In other words the interruption doesn’t or alternatively put, is not allowed to change what is already being played.

(My thoughts post-rehearsal: As usual there is no easy or single answer to the question of interruption. From the point of view of conversation or dialogue it seems wrong not to listen to the flow of a player’s ideas before responding to them; rather than interrupt before the end – why should one person’s ideas take precedence over anothers? If the firs player’s ideas are stimulating then it’s worth waiting until they’ve finished? (Although this kind of interruption is typical in conversation). But  interruption without any checks to the point of everybody just doing what they want is all too typical of much improvisation – in fact for some this is what ‘free’ improvisation is – doing what you want when you want. In jazz the paramaters are created by choruses and solos. And this surely is the point. It depends on what parameters and goals are agreed before the impro begins. However, it can’t be denied that interuptions may not prove to be musically enriching. There is one more point to  – simultaneous playing, particularly without really responding to the other player is common practice, as is using other people’s ideas as a bouncing off point for one’s own and not really listening to them. Being stimulated to play something is not responding to someone else unless it is addressed to that person, otherwise it is simply responding to oneself -  at worst stimulation for self-indulgence but ….????

2. The desire/need for a child to interrupt (actually Thomas’s children)– to be included, to take over a conversation when they feel excluded/cut out.

3. We should explore aspects of chorusing (as described by Stern ‘The First Relationship’ p17) as bonding. (Harmony would seem to be a form of bonding in addition to its sensual sonic function).


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