DIMC Conference Discussion 2012
Present: Norbert Zajac, Malene Bichel, Kristin Bolstad, Henrik Ehland Rasmussen, Carl Bergstroem-Nielsen
Carl (acting as a moderator): Why is improvisation important? Or - is it important?
Norbert: the radio stuff I hear is crap and I want to do another kind of music. And it is important to me to interact with other people.
Henrik: why is interaction important?
Norbert: it satisfies me to give somehting in and when it comes back in another way, I try to give an answer – I like it
Malene: living is improvisation, everything is improvisation, and therefore it is a good idea to practise reminding yourself that it is also improvisation in the fields where you think it isn't. Music is one of those fields where you think you can get away from improvisation. Any interaction with life is more precise and better if you are aware that it is also always improvisation.
Henrik: so it's about awareness...
Malene: it prevents me from following a routine. An awareness to discover that everything is already an improvisation.
Kristin: it is hard to answer, for there is always improvisation, in traditional music as well
Malene: coming here is where the fact that we improvise has a very high priority.
Carl: there is a German theorist called Hans-Peter Jahn who wrote an article against free forms of improvisation. Instead he liked the very little spaces within something very fixed and compared those little free spaces to road fences that prevent cars from going off the road. What do you think about that?
("Zur Qualität des Gedächtnisverlusts. Fesseln der Notation", MusikTexte 109, Mai, 2006 - see resume at http://www.hum.aau.dk/~carlbn/l1/legno1uk_add.htm, search for 'Jahn')
Norbert: of course you have to know where you come from. I hear a lot of music in genres and sing too. David Schwartz said, answering immediately in improvisation is not possible without knowing this (David Schwartz participated in DIMC 2010).
Carl: so you need identity...
Henrik: interesting question, what kind of person am I
Malene: I think I improvise to find out where I come from, what do I learn from it
Carl: which goals and strategies do you have for your work with improvisation in music life?
Malene: being good at having no expectations
Kristin: being as open as possible. It is irrelevant what other people think.
Carl: I like the word appetite
Malene: presently I like to make things more free, more intuitive and not just funny things happen
Carl: like Cage said, it's about being free without being stupid
Kristin: it doesn't have to be weird. Demystify is important – it's normal to improvise.
Norbert: for you it is normal
Carl: how can one demystify?
Kristin: people give themselves too many rules or restrictions
Henrik: one might seduce them with recognisable elements
Kristin: we are already free – we do not know what is boring, what is crazy before anyone tells us. Who said improvisational, experimental music is not easy to understand. To me it is not any more experimental than doing jazz. Maybe we are making ourselves an outsiders' group a bit.
Malene: we would not think of it to be demystified if we were not occupied by the thought that it is mystical. So that is what we can do, stop seeing that fantasy in ourselves.
Carl: this is what we do when we make PR for a concert. We try to arouse appetite
Malene: those people we played for at the café only thought of it as exciting when they heard we never met before. – One thing one could do to demystify is pointing out to people that in parts of their life they are already improvising.
Carl: Tom Hall and Stephen Nachmanovitch are authors doing that
Malene: Also play is important.
Norbert: Phil Minton once had the comment from the audience "I could do it as well as you", and he answered "the difference is that I am paid to do it and you are not"
Kristin: my answer would be "Great! Why are you saying this to me? Go ahead and do the same – I do not own this"
Carl: and Cage's answer was "Did I say anything leading you to believe I thought you were stupid?"
Malene: yet another answer I do not think you should give "yes, but you did not". – Other people could have done it, but taking the initiative is what they could not do.
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