DIMC Conference Discussion 2007
Present: Carl Bergstroem-Nielsen, Anna Birkbøl Jensen, Gerhard Pischinger, Claus Bech-Nielsen, Mette Stig Nielsen, Henrik Ehland Rasmussen, Lho Høiris, Regine Leonore Birkner, Jens Friis-Pedersen, Tine Hinrichsen, Nina Björk Eliasson, Norbert Zajac.
Carl (acting as a moderator): Does it make any sense to talk about music? (laughter)
Regine: it makes no sense, but it's fun
Gerhard: it is necessary - in order to develop the playing
Jens: maybe communication through language and through music are different and you need both
Claus: I'm always very uncomfortable talking about the music afterwards
Mette: I feel the same way, I don't like to speak after we've improvised. Sometimes it is necessary to clear out whether you have done what you decided to do for example. I have been teaching a lot in improvisation and the students want me to say something, but I don't like it.
Gerhard: when we were playing Stockhausen, we needed to understand the instructions
Carl: I wonder about the function of talking in between improvisations when we improvise freely
Regine: you get so close to each other that you need to take distance by talking.
Tine: talking is often a way to get rid of the emotions and the energy that has been built up, and the better we can keep it, contain it, the more we can take off in the next piece we do
Regine: verbal communication could improve by being more musical - it's a better way to understand each other. I want to provoke a little bit: language is the best way NOT to understand each other. And maybe music has to understand us EVEN IF we talk.
Tine: two months ago in our singing group we had a wonderful atmosphere - but with talking afterwards, communication was lousy, there was much interruption.
Mette: I think it shows you don't get better people by playing music. In that case, conservatory people should be better than others because they play much.
Claus: culture determines us to use much language.
Carl: We might not have discovered this free music form and each others' beautiful CDs without language... I have a special folder in my email with "lovely things", nice surprises... Language could function as pointers to something essential - making me feel it's important and that others also have care for that.
Nina: listening is the important thing
Henrik: there is an aesthetic way of meeting the world - being honest
Gerhard: language and music is like right and left arm - you don't have two right arms. They need each other.
Mette: I've learned a lot from John Cage's philosophy. In some cases language is good - it's important to say something distinct and valuable about music.
Regine: with good talk you can open up even more space. I search for the authentic word.
Carl: I wonder what happened if we made a round with descriptive keywords about improvised music - Regine already said "authentic" ...
Nina: life, living, alive
Gerhard: collective surprise - we found that expression some years ago
Henrik: change world
Lho: squadjaled (sound-word)
Carl: accumulated vision
Norbert: necessity - I hate to play just for playings' sake.
Carl: can we do something with words to help improvised music survive?
Mette: it survives very well these days. Maybe audience is a problem.
Anna: mother-baby communication process has been shown to be very formal, with rules. Talking and playing is not totally separate.
Henrik: and the children, not the grown-up, control the process...
Jens: what is the difference between language and not language?
Mette: many theorecians have troubled themselves with that!
Nina: I used to sing much rhythmic [popular} music. When I later saw note transscriptions of such music it seemed complicated at first, then I discovered it was the thing I knew well.
Mette: research has shown that amateurs listen to music with their left brain half, professionals with the right one. This means that the professionals cannot help to analyze.
Claus: maybe the talking and the music is not opposite, rather how we use it. It is possible to move the language into the same close place as the music.
Tine: our list of words shows that
Carl: is all talk about improvised music completely subjective?
Gerhard: some phenomena are universal, like intervals for example
Lho: a motherly loving expression and an angry scolding might be universally different
Regine: everything is subjective, but every subject has to do with the universe
Carl: if we were living in old Greece, we would not make exactly this free kind of music and we would have a different thinking about it
Lho: we all repeat to something we have heard and use it as an inspiration, and there is a universal quality to this, because some of the sounds we hear, everyone will hear
Mette: as far as I know, music is not universal, but there are basic emotions which you can read out of the body expression.
Lho: I think we all have an archive of sounds inside us. This archive may be different in China, but may also have something in common - body percussion, for example (demonstrating...)
Mette: we can end with John Cage's words: "I have nothing to say and I am saying it" (laughter).