DIMC Conference Discussion 2006

Participants: Anne Mette Rasmussen, Mads Tilst Christensen, Peter Ellerman, Cristian Amigo, Claus Bech-Nielsen, Matthias Granum, Peter Sterk, Gerhard Pischinger, Ivan Vincze, Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen (writing this summary) and Henrik Ehland Rasmussen.

CBN (acting as a moderator) Please tell about musical insights you might have had during DIMC till now ...

Matthias: I have a curiosity inside me which I hope can become an insight - how I can meet both my need for freedom and for structure

Cristian: I've become reinforced: so much about this kind of music making depends on the energies between people. I like the mysterious element.

Claus: I am not sure the opposition between freedom and structure is right. There might be an opposition between commitment and boredom. I experience a lot of structure in free improvisations, but in another place. Not from frames and rules etc. but in different feelings, meetings and pauses etc. And this meaninglessness you're afraid of might be because you can go to meaninglessness from everywhere and it is felt boring. Even Chaos becomes as meaningless as structure, in boredom.

Peter E: one of my suggestions to avoid meaninglessness is to give it a name, to call it something

Cristian: you have to risk failing, but that doesn't mean it's meaningless.

Mette: Duchamps said, unawareness is not art. There is a real problem when people lose awareness and do something they don't mean.

Cristian: then it becomes impulsive music instead of intuitive music, impulses intead of getting the big scope of things

Carl: I had a positive surprise - when we were to unite in the guided vocal session, I expected something very predictable with long tones, but instead we did a very varied and beautiful staccato, before finally settling down together

Mads: thats nice - we are in search for the surprise in music all the time

Carl: Daisuke Terauchi said in a previous discussion, he experienced a paradox: he liked to make good music, but he did not know what good music was.

Ivan: I'd like to know how we can become multi-cultural

Carl: we might make a catalogue of interesting problems...

Anne Mette: returning to freedom and structure - there are conventions about what intuitive music is and isn't. Like, conventional elements, tonal cadence and things like that are just opposite, you should not stay there too much. In the Vocal Orchestra we talk a lot about intuition, but we have rules for our language. And, talking about being multi-cultural - if we take it up one level, it makes it possible for more things to grow.

Mette: I find there is a problem with the word intuitive music as defined by Stockhausen in the sixties - when I teach, I just call it improvisation. My students like to play tonally. I am more open to tonal improvisations now as when I started.

Henrik: do you feel cliches are forbidden? so that we must force ourselves to be very open all the time? And what does the word structure mean? Do you mean structure like the official frames we are putting here, or do you mean structure inside the music...

Cristian: playing in the style of Bach would be a structure I would love to try

Peter E: giving it a name...

Henrik: there should be room here for a large span of structures - from very tight ones to very open ones

Cristian: It's like three levels: there is a structure level, then there is the freedom level where you let go of all structure just to try the freedom, and then there's a third higher level of re-integrating the structure, but in a free way. Not freedom and structure being opponents but integrated - so you play Bach when you feel like it and then you stop playing Bach and play sounds and you can change in a free way.

Carl: but aren't we doing that all the time? Quoting things and leaving these quotes? In our first tutti improvisation at the concert there were indeed elements of pulse and dance-like, jumping things - they came and went, there seemed to be good integration and I had fun...

Peter E: I liked that too

Cristian: there is no thing called structureless. There is the body knowledge and there is the theory - sometimes they go together but not always. I studied a lot - but in the long run, you have to trust yourself, that's the level of intuition I'd like to reach

Mette: you play on the background of what you have learned, but during playing you cannot think so much, you just believe what you are playing and then you learn that you can believe your ears.

Henrik: I wonder - are we afraid of cliches, or are we afraid of being afraid of cliches?

Anne Mette: pick one ;-) (laughter)

Mads: I wouldn't be afraid - conventions are everywhere and probably make possible that we understand each other. I want room for both the non-referential and the non-intentional but also for references, like for instance Bach or American blues.

Henrik: so you mean, cliches are nescessary check-points in our language?

Mads: yes, somehow

Claus: in my work with painting I know that the first things appearing is faces, then houses (laughter). I cannot avoid them but I can decide how to use them. What is allowed or not may be individual. If I play rhythms three weeks it might be boring.

Ivan: when graphic figures interpreted we can still stay with intuition

Cristian: everyone knows that a long, wawy line or some dots sound in certain ways, even if it is to be realized more approximately than notes. So, if we can play a figure on paper, why can't we also play the circles or the wawy lines in our reality around us

Anne Mette: you can go through a symbol or cliche and still reach intuition

Carl: I think there is no such thing as an objective cliche. Let's talk of personal strategies. So what do you do in order to create a good situation for yourself and the others?

Henrik: I remember hearing a session in which one played Mozart while one of the others improvised freely

Carl: so we have the freedom to be very, very strange to each other ;-)

Mette: I know a famous clarinet player who said, techniques do not matter, you can only know what has a value from a very inner part of yourself. You can play a single tone and feel it is better than fabolous things you have played before.

Carl: I begin to become fascinated by awkward situations in improvisation and interested in staying with them and let them lead to somewhere

Cristian: we made great music together, and I was very surprised Fruzsina said it was her first time

Carl: this sounds destructive to social hierachies ;-) (laughter)

Ivan: freedom is a sure sign it is intuitive music (laughter)

Carl: when playing the first improvisation at the concert, I had a great feeling of both staying within my own concentration and this in-out thing with interaction and mutual relating to each other

Anne Mette: is this different for you, Carl, to playing more structured music?

Carl: yes, kind of more limited feeling, although one should perhaps focus more on possibilities than limitations

Anne Mette: after I started to improvise, I felt I could take the other music more into personal posession, it became more a way of being

Henrik: I think it has to with feeling very much a part of it. I like to follow ideas very tight to the bone

Mads: I think your standpoint, Anne Mette, is a good argument that we should have more improvisation classes in music conservatories and music schools

Mette: in a seminar appearing on TV a very famous professor Zimmermann said, you have to be as if improvising when you play - put yourself into that state and you will play much more beautifully, and she did..

Anne Mette: so she knew how to get there

Mette: everybody knows a little bit about it. I have learned about tuning in.

Mads: for me, to get rid of ego is a good strategy. Something bigger may take over. I have intentions, however, to aim at a collective consciousness as the ultimate experience. You may have to show people there is such a possibility.

Carl: It seems we cannot help to dream of unity even if personal strategies may be very different, be it for listeners out there or for musicians like us. Amen. (Laughter)


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