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Sunday, 29 June 2008
I feel I'm back in the realm of French catholic composers ... been here before. Music is in the vein of "Dialogue des Carmelites" - it's all about the purpose of human life, the meaning of our time on earth, the issue of human action, social efficacy, the metaphysical, etc. The 20th century French composers understood this and gave it a sublime musical voice - which I think is quite timeless (just as the English catholic writers expressed it in terms of the raw realities of human failings and vulnerabilities where love is all we've got)... There can be no hiding. This is what we are. All we can do is bear witness to it.
Saturday, 28 June 2008
Had a lovely sing-song with Isobel this evening before bed-time - Over the Rainbow, Blue Moon, etc.. that might be my improvisation tomorrow... This one is a continuation of me trying to emulate the Poulenc 'light' sound.. still too heavy, but getting there (have to think quick)...
Friday, 27 June 2008
Been wanting to get back to the music I really love - most of which is French (Poulenc, Milhaud, Debussy, Ravel, Messaien, etc)... but struggled with this.. need more practice. But I do find this music very therapeutic... it is definitely 'healing music' - maybe that's why it's got such religious connotations. Maybe the religion is in the notes themselves, rather than any association..?
Thursday, 26 June 2008
It's quite difficult to improvise something light-hearted (I was thinking of the less serious Poulenc at the time) and this is the best I could do (well it's late..)... I really wanted something a bit lighter than this.. wonder if I can do it tomorrow..?
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
It's wet. But there's that special 'spiritual' English smell (I'm sure it's not only an English smell - but it feels rustic - church yards, hedgerows, cows, etc). I think Tippett captures this better than any other English composer (even Vaughan Williams). His use of bitonality, folk songs, and dance rhythms always fascinates me - it's utterly intangible, but nevertheless meaningful. It takes us to the point of being able to articulate the ineffable.
Monday, 23 June 2008
Sunday, 22 June 2008
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Had some technical problems - audio suddenly went pear-shaped (I think it was the webcam drivers I installed for the 21st century vision workshop). Thank god for system restore..! Trying to experiment with the melody not doing much and comping chords in the left...
Friday, 20 June 2008
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Got back from great IEC meeting in Bangor. A feeling of things progressing, coming together, momentum building, synergy, etc. So I came back in a positive mood wanting to motor forwards. This is a 'motoric' march - very Britten-like. Momentum is kept with the chord pulse, and scalic melody perhaps the individual moving against/with it. The Britten thing is interesting me at the moment because ultimately it seems so introspective (why?!) - those bodily 'tugs' of chromaticism that I thought about last month perhaps, or the expectations and frustrations of pattern...?
Sunday, 15 June 2008
Friday, 13 June 2008
The second of these improvisations was interrupted by Isobel wanting to go to the park to play football - so I'm now completely knackered and injured. Good fun though. It's much closer to the spookiness I was after the other day - ambiguous use of dissonance creates a veil of perpetual variety - nothing is certain, all is questions; the result is a kind of fear.
The first improvisation is me wondering what I wanted to play tonight...
The first improvisation is me wondering what I wanted to play tonight...
Thursday, 12 June 2008
This is a simple melody made up out of small cells which replicate themselves and are not entirely restricted to the tonal context - very much like Britten. I think I can explain the effect this has in terms of a melodic cell being a pattern, or perhaps a disposition - the ear 'knows' what to do with it - the pattern attenuates variety. So what then of tonality? This too is dispositional - the ear knows what to do with a tonal context - and with simple tonal harmony, there is a lot of attenuation of variety (dissonant harmony or chromatic harmony has greater variety). The music is in the conflict between these dispositions - different descriptions of variety.
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
This is a quite atonal effort where I was trying to do something 'spooky'. I think I can be spookier still... The supernatural is all about increased perception - particularly the raising of awareness of our vulnerability and loneliness and the proximity of death. It is the antithesis of communication... (but then, what is "communicating with spirits?"). Is anybody there?
Monday, 9 June 2008
Sunday, 8 June 2008
PD's Fiddle~ object is fascinating - picking up the MIDI note values of audio notes played - so I've made a video of just the pitches of the notes in my improvisation. Also been thinking about strings... might actually write this one down... watch this space.
Saturday, 7 June 2008
This improvisation is played to a series of Edwardian photographs of everyday life. These technological echoes of a 'modern' world fascinate because everybody's dead - it's like looking at ghosts (like the Mitchell and Kenyon films). One day our technologies like Facebook will hold the same fascination for us. Photos for these people must have seemed such a novelty.
Friday, 6 June 2008
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
I realise that in saying that a certain impro. is x or y (i.e. sad, happy, etc), I'm expressing my own opinion, and that to anyone else, it is something completely different. The issue of objectivity in making judgements about music (or learning, or anything else) is important. I think the judgements we make about things being a certain way (good or bad for example) are in fact a result of the function of the thing we are commenting on (music, learning, etc). They serve a function in increasing the probability of successful communication - the probability that we can say something. In saying something is bad (for example) we're actually demonstrating its success. So I've tried to improvise some 'bad' music - which I actually quite like... typical! (Maybe this is why things can be so bad they're good...?)
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
If music is the interface between perception and communication, what of dance (music)? It is essentially the same, I suspect, but we are talking about a different sort of communication. A symphony or opera might bring us to the point of words, but a tango (or a Bartokian folk dance like this one) brings us to the point of physical intimacy - no less social! And whilst the words themselves serve as a context for other communication, so physical intimacy serves as a context for the communications of love: so contexts within contexts (VSM!)...
Monday, 2 June 2008
Had Isobel in work today, and it brings home the disconnect between the world of adult life and the 'bubble world' of childhood! (losing her train ticket was one incident amongst a number that brought the two worlds crashing together!) The not-quite-formed regulators of the communication system are brought out in the rhythmic right-hand pedal in the first improv (very much like yesterday's). In the second (slightly sad) lyrical piece, there is an almost autistic focus on minutiae of motivic cells, scales, etc. Dance tomorrow - how does that relate to the communication system??
Sunday, 1 June 2008
Went to fantastic exhibition on Child Art at the Whitworth Gallery today. I was thinking about the magic of childhood as I did this improvisation. Not sure how you capture that! It's interesting how powerful childrens' images are: their communication system isn't fully formed, so the structural coupling between their perception and their communication puts more emphasis on their perception. That may be why it's so powerful...
The relationship between religion and art is very interesting. At first sight they seem to be dealing with the same thing - particularly bearing in mind the structural coupling between perception and communication. But whilst art brings perception to the point of communication - to say something new, different, etc - thus increasing the probability of successful communication, religion does something different I think. Religion uses communication to heighten perception. Thus formal rituals belonging to the communication system heighten our sense of an inner world. Relgious music falls into this category...