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#1128884 - 08/04/07 04:13 AM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
Joined: Aug 2005
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Reaper978 Offline
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Quote
first, you are interested in other people only insofar as they boost your ego
I don't like it if somebody shrugs off my creations (something I've worked long and hard on to develop) as "nonsense." Call that an "ego" or "self-indulgent" all you want, I really don't care.

Quote
your playing seems to be getting less interesting.. this latest effort is.. well.. politeness fails me..
What is uninteresting about it? Does it not breathe? Does it not have a heartbeat? Does it not hit a climax then come falling down to a resolution?

Do you not hear the figures, implying different things at once? Do you not hear the nods toward tonality and conventionalism while retaining its fundamentally different textural qualities?

Is it not beautiful in its own way? Can't you hear the sighs of despair, the cries, the anger? It thrives in its own strange yet human landscape. It crawls, it sings, it calls, it vibrates. It is alive. It is organic.

Regardless of musical conservatism that is hyper critical of anything without a recurrent motif or central theme, this is indeed music, and it is indeed interesting. Interesting, I suppose, only to those who are willing to actually listen.

It doesn't surprise me that people who are fundamentally raised in a world of strict tonality and easy melodies that this sort of music is seen as formless trash, when really the problem is that people aren't willing to just let go of rigid guidelines and see music for what it is: an emotional expression.

I put every fiber of my being into this improvisation, and it is spat on by classical conservatism and graceless rigidity. Constructive criticism is one thing, shrugging off my music as nonsense and formless garbage is entirely another. Correct, I did ask for an opinion, but must I also ask for constructive answers or is that a given?

I don't need the negativity, I really don't. My music functions in its own landscape, outside of others. It is music that flows and breathes. It has its influences, yet has minimal use for standard compositional devices... haven't they been used endlessly by composers of old anyway?

At least I am creating something rather than spending all my time perfecting a piece of music written by some guy 150 years ago that has been recorded by somebody else hundreds of times anyway. This is my music and my interpretation of reality. It may not be accessible to most, but it is absolutely valid and me thinking this does not make me egotistical or self-centered. I respect tonality and the composers of old. Most of what I listen to is classical music from all periods. I also respect myself. This isn't narcissism. Can I not love my own work lest I be considered a self-indulgent *****?

This is also not my way of sidestepping tonality or conventional composition, it's just the stage I'm at right now. It's very easy to shrug this music off as not having a clue about what I'm doing, but I assure you that is not the case. I have studied the scales, chord progressions, basic forms, etc.

Say what you will about my interpretation of my own emotions and reality, but never stomp on my heart and call my efforts self-centered and narcissistic unless you have a very good reason to do so.

Forgive me, maybe I should ask for "constructive criticism" now instead of just "opinions." You can really hurt somebody's feelings and sense of self-worth when they pour out their heart and soul into a piece of art only to have it thrown out the window because of such and such conservative "classical" view of things.

What more can I really say? I'm appalled that new ideas and the people who create them are treated like expendable nuisances and disgraces to your sacred classical music. I love classical music, but I can't say I enjoy the immense rigidity, conservatism, static attitudes, and a fundamental denial of the self in favor of composers who would probably be sickened by modern classical methods.

A concert pianist with a tuxedo walks on stage with a straight face as the crowd applauds, he takes a bow, sits, effortlessly tears through yet another rendition of a Chopin ballade, the crowd applauds loudly, the pianist stands, stern-faced, bows, and walks abruptly off the stage.

This is what classical music has become. It is no surprise for me, now, to see why younger people don't like it who otherwise would have had it been presented differently.

-Colin

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#1128885 - 08/04/07 05:29 AM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 60
Ian C. Williams Offline
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HRM, NS, CND.
The same establishment which utterly smeared Erik Satie's ambitions is very much alive and installed completely today. A rigid system of rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic qualities. While the establishment and its music are always beautiful, the language of the individual soul is always indivisibly most important. From the ghostly whisps of death of Scriabin to the developing chromaticism and atonality of Rachmaninov and Schoenberg, right up to Mr. White, there has been utter swill dumped upon people who wish to express their innermost ideas.

Yes, melodic lines and block chord progressions are fine, and (my goodness!) they are used in Colin's improvisations. People always seem to fail to look for what's behind the lines, and what it means. Rapid arpeggiations and variations on a theme are excellent to hear when executed, but so are tone clusters and sevenths mixed with everything else in-between. Of course a person is allowed to dislike music; it is your right to voice it, but why INSULT someone's creation?

"Nonsense" is a scathing thing to say when someone obviously pounded the keyboard with something in mind. At least.. when I listen to it, I feel an emotional programme, at the very least. There is so much bashing and hatred that the very fundamental concept of ART is lost amongst the rubble of the bombed-out cities of the poor artist's mind. For me, this entire piece is a landscape of flowing death and violence, of a sunken hope and beauty attempting to GET OUT. Laying under the hatred is the vaunted melody and harmony that classicists so crave, but cannot hear because they refuse to take it ALL in. They wish to hear the notes, and not the things below the notes.

What the heck is wrong with you, who actually call this person egotistical simply because he wishes to advance in the world. Classical pianism and even "normal" pianism (which is beautiful in its own right) are hardly altruistic vessels of love for other people. An artist performs and trains for themselves, to get the thrill of performing, or the thrill of making a new piece, or the thrill of finally "getting" that tough piece. It's all self-centered, and it SHOULD be, for without strong willed artists to push forward the boundaries, we'd all be stuck with Mozart's hellish repetitions for ALL ETERNITY.

I'd have to kill myself if Schubert's darkness hadn't come in or Shostakovich's brooding dissonance and playful experiments hadn't have been generated. Don't get me wrong; all music is beautiful! However, Mozart and Rachmaninov are totally different beings, and I prefer the latter because he put soul into EVERYTHING. Mozart feels much more light and fluffy, except for a few things, notably the C minor concerto, and those directly following his mother's death.

Technically, things advanced. Advance is beneath the move from Gregorian Chant to Medieval music to Renaissance to Baroque to Classical to Romanticism and beyond. If we didn't have people who had new, original ideas, we'd all play Rondeau alla Turca on Steinways in some Dante-esque waiting room for the rest of our collective musical existences. Thank HUMANITY for people like Ravel, Scriabin, Wagner, Prokofiev, and later progenitors of CHANGE into the worlds of dissonance, looser structure, and pure feeling.


Liszt, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Satie, Debussy.. the names of the hallowed.
#1128886 - 08/04/07 05:36 AM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
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Ian C. Williams Offline
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HRM, NS, CND.
Coincidentally, this reminds me of Vers La Flamme.


Liszt, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Satie, Debussy.. the names of the hallowed.
#1128887 - 08/04/07 06:34 AM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
Joined: Nov 2002
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Kreisler Offline
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Heh...Vers La Flamme came to my mind, too. Something about the texture and overall shape...


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1128888 - 08/04/07 07:09 AM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
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Mike A Offline
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So.Cal.USA
Colin,

Some miscellaneous thoughts:

1. If you enjoy creating this type of music -- because it's interesting to you, because it's challenging for you, because you like the sound, because it's therapeutic, whatever the reason -- then carry on. Who cares what people think? Being able to create something that you yourself enjoy is a great gift.

2. If you want to make a career out of creating music, accept this fact and get over it: Only a small percentage of people are likely to find this particular music enjoyable, whether here in PianoWorld or out in the real world. That doesn't make your music unworthy, or your efforts wasted. But it makes your audience limited. Decide how you want to deal with that fact, artistically and financially. Countless musicians and other artists before you have had to come to grips with exactly this same realization.

3. Every moment you spend bemoaning #2 above is a moment you could have better spent practicing the piano.

4. If you're interested in increasing the appeal of your music, a number of posters in this and other threads have offered you excellent advice. If you're not, that's fine, but see #2 above.

5. The fact that someone doesn't care for your particular brand of music doesn't make that person stupid, narrow-minded, unenlightened, unsophisticated, unmusical, unfeeling, or untalented. People like and dislike things for a host of reasons, conscious and unconscious. Tastes differ.

6. People will express their dislike for particular music or other art in a variety of ways, some charitable, some not. If you want to be a public performer, better get used to it. And if you want to perform music that appeals only to a small audience, better really get used to it. That's life.

7. The fact that a great deal of emotion and work went into creating something -- whether music or some other form of art -- is not a reason for people to like it. It might be a reason for them to respect the person who created it, at least if emotion and hard work are coupled with some genuine humility. But it doesn't make them like the music or art that results. Pick any type of music that you yourself don't like. No doubt a lot of it was created with a great deal of emotion and hard work. And yet you still don't like it. Again: Tastes differ.

8. Writing favorable reviews of your own work, and trying to argue people into liking what you've created, as in your post above, are both considered poor form. Also pointless. People like it or they don't.

9. You asked above, "When my greatest efforts fail, what more can be done?" Answers: (a) If you yourself enjoyed your efforts, they *didn't* fail. See #1 above. (b) If you're disappointed that your efforts didn't have greater appeal, see #2 above or #4 above -- your choice. (c) The most important answer: Recognize that your greatest efforts of today are just that: your greatest efforts of today. With discipline, study, practice, emotion and hard work -- and some genuine humility -- your greatest efforts on some future day will delight and amaze you.

#1128889 - 08/04/07 09:23 AM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
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DigitalPianoMan Offline
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I liked it. I felt it was very disorganized though. But maybe you wanted it to be that way, I dunno. You said you wanted to convey an emotion and I think you succeeded in that. thumb

#1128890 - 08/04/07 02:01 PM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
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Ian C. Williams Offline
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HRM, NS, CND.
I felt a very good organization and sense of form, a sense of moving structure. There were definitely sections that stood out for me... I don't see where people find all this lack of colouring and sections.


Liszt, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Satie, Debussy.. the names of the hallowed.
#1128891 - 08/04/07 02:11 PM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
Joined: Aug 2005
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Monica K. Offline

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Mike A, your post was outstanding. thumb


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica
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#1128892 - 08/04/07 03:39 PM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
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ktom Offline
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I want to second Monica, Mike. Your post is an excellent account of every point I wish I had made:-) Read it and Reap.. Colin:-)


Steinway K - Kurzweil PC 88(wrecked and sold for spares) - Yamaha S90 - rhodes 760 - korg wavestation- Hammond XK1 etc..
#1128893 - 08/04/07 08:55 PM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
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sophial Offline
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Mike, your post got me thinking as well.

Good music, to me, has at least two functions: expressive and communicative. The expressive one, of course, is to express the thoughts and feelings of the composer-- that's the relatively easy one. The communicative, that is expressing them in such a way that the listener ALSO can get a sense of the feelings being conveyed and follow the composer's thought process, as complex as that may be, is a lot harder. It's what makes the difference between disciplined musical creativity and simply self-expression. Colin, I think you have a handle on the expressive side but the communicative is the one to start really moving towards as you mature as an improviser. I also think it's where really learning the craft of composition will pay off for you and hopefully help you get the kind of results you are looking for. Good luck!

Sophia

#1128894 - 08/04/07 11:32 PM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
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Mike A Offline
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Sophia, well put!

#1128895 - 08/05/07 05:25 AM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 73
Zom Offline
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Zom  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 73
United States
Quote
Originally posted by Ian C. Williams:
The same establishment which utterly smeared Erik Satie's ambitions is very much alive and installed completely today. A rigid system of rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic qualities. While the establishment and its music are always beautiful, the language of the individual soul is always indivisibly most important. From the ghostly whisps of death of Scriabin to the developing chromaticism and atonality of Rachmaninov and Schoenberg, right up to Mr. White, there has been utter swill dumped upon people who wish to express their innermost ideas.

Yes, melodic lines and block chord progressions are fine, and (my goodness!) they are used in Colin's improvisations. People always seem to fail to look for what's behind the lines, and what it means. Rapid arpeggiations and variations on a theme are excellent to hear when executed, but so are tone clusters and sevenths mixed with everything else in-between. Of course a person is allowed to dislike music; it is your right to voice it, but why INSULT someone's creation?

"Nonsense" is a scathing thing to say when someone obviously pounded the keyboard with something in mind. At least.. when I listen to it, I feel an emotional programme, at the very least. There is so much bashing and hatred that the very fundamental concept of ART is lost amongst the rubble of the bombed-out cities of the poor artist's mind. For me, this entire piece is a landscape of flowing death and violence, of a sunken hope and beauty attempting to GET OUT. Laying under the hatred is the vaunted melody and harmony that classicists so crave, but cannot hear because they refuse to take it ALL in. They wish to hear the notes, and not the things below the notes.

What the heck is wrong with you, who actually call this person egotistical simply because he wishes to advance in the world. Classical pianism and even "normal" pianism (which is beautiful in its own right) are hardly altruistic vessels of love for other people. An artist performs and trains for themselves, to get the thrill of performing, or the thrill of making a new piece, or the thrill of finally "getting" that tough piece. It's all self-centered, and it SHOULD be, for without strong willed artists to push forward the boundaries, we'd all be stuck with Mozart's hellish repetitions for ALL ETERNITY.

I'd have to kill myself if Schubert's darkness hadn't come in or Shostakovich's brooding dissonance and playful experiments hadn't have been generated. Don't get me wrong; all music is beautiful! However, Mozart and Rachmaninov are totally different beings, and I prefer the latter because he put soul into EVERYTHING. Mozart feels much more light and fluffy, except for a few things, notably the C minor concerto, and those directly following his mother's death.

Technically, things advanced. Advance is beneath the move from Gregorian Chant to Medieval music to Renaissance to Baroque to Classical to Romanticism and beyond. If we didn't have people who had new, original ideas, we'd all play Rondeau alla Turca on Steinways in some Dante-esque waiting room for the rest of our collective musical existences. Thank HUMANITY for people like Ravel, Scriabin, Wagner, Prokofiev, and later progenitors of CHANGE into the worlds of dissonance, looser structure, and pure feeling.
As has been said elsewhere, you pretty much hit the nail on the head there. I say elsewhere because I wouldn't want this army of negativism warriors to invade.

#1128896 - 08/05/07 12:11 PM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,097
fnork Offline
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fnork  Offline
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Posts: 2,097
Helsinki, Finland
Quote
Originally posted by argerichfan:
Quote
Originally posted by fnork:
Quote
Originally posted by argerichfan:
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by paul milando:
Improvisation should be like a woman's skirt,
long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to be interesting.
Good advice for Keith Jarrett.
oh come on, his improvisations are out of this world! smile if you prefer shorter stuff, listen to "Radiance" or "Dark intervals", or the standards trio. I love the long improvisations
Just my bloody luck. mad Kreisler moved this thread into the non classical section -where I almost never post- literally moments after I mentioned Jarrett. Now I suppose the non-classical blokes are going to have me for lunch! laugh </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Actually, I saw your post when it still was in the classical forum, I also don't post here really. I'm definately going to have you for lunch anyway though laugh

#1128897 - 08/05/07 10:33 PM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 777
193866 Offline
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193866  Offline
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Posts: 777
Manassas,Va
Reaper978... I hear genius in your work of free improv. Can you compose with a melody in mind too? If so, I want to hear this also. Sandy B


Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06
#1128898 - 08/06/07 08:30 PM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 215
quiescen Offline
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quiescen  Offline
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Posts: 215
San Diego
Hi Colin,

I enjoyed your music. I feel what's behind the notes. In fact, I wrote an essay once titled "Music Without Goals" that seems to fit this post. Here it is:

I really love improvisations that go nowhere. Improvisations where there is no goal… just an impulse to follow feelings in the current moment.

In fact, some have described this kind of music as self-indulgent - a kind of musical fantasy world where the focus is more on the performer than the listener.

Of course, this isn't the case at all. You see, most of us are used to having our music wrapped up in nice neat little packages. We aren't used to actually listening to music. We expect an "emotional experience" right away. And it better happen in 3-4 minutes or else.

Take Japanese Shakahuachi music for example. For those of you who don't know, the shakahuachi is a Japanese flute. It's beautiful sound is appreciated by many in the East.

I have a few CDs of this music and everytime I listen to them I hear something new. It's as if each time the CD is played I hear it for the first time. It never gets old. Why? Because of the absence of musical form!

There is not much for the mind to grasp or hold onto. Repetition of musical phrases is almost non existent. Instead, we get music without goals!

If there is a goal at all, it's that the person performing the music remains in the present while playing. What we hear is the "state of mind" of the performer at the exact time the recording is made.

In one of my own piano pieces "Cirrus," (listen to it at http://www.quiescencemusic.com) I do the same thing. And everytime I listen to it, it seems that it's somehow changed. Yet the music always remains fresh and pliant - waiting to be discovered again and again.

Having said all of this, I have nothing against musical form and the works that come from it. I just think the "other" kind of music is just as valid and important


Edward Weiss
Quiescence Music
http://www.quiescencemusic.com
#1128899 - 08/08/07 08:21 AM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 278
jwjazz Offline
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jwjazz  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 278
New York
Quote
Originally posted by quiescen:
Take Japanese Shakahuachi music for example. For those of you who don't know, the shakahuachi is a Japanese flute. It's beautiful sound is appreciated by many in the East.

I have a few CDs of this music and everytime I listen to them I hear something new. It's as if each time the CD is played I hear it for the first time. It never gets old. Why? Because of the absence of musical form!

There is not much for the mind to grasp or hold onto. Repetition of musical phrases is almost non existent. Instead, we get music without goals!

If there is a goal at all, it's that the person performing the music remains in the present while playing. What we hear is the "state of mind" of the performer at the exact time the recording is made.

In one of my own piano pieces "Cirrus," (listen to it at http://www.quiescencemusic.com) I do the same thing. And everytime I listen to it, it seems that it's somehow changed. Yet the music always remains fresh and pliant - waiting to be discovered again and again.
I hear a lot of repetition in your piece "Cirrus". I hear a lot of repetition in your piece "Cirrus".

Or was that just a shameless plug for your website?

But I like the idea of music with nothing for the mind to grasp onto; very Zen. Makes me think about writing a piece inspired by a koan, or with similar effect.
Alas, I'm not a Zen master.


working on:
Goldberg Variations
#1128900 - 08/11/07 07:45 AM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
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swingal Offline
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England
If I were a ballet choreographer, I would use it as it seems ideally suited.

I like music that has an introduction followed by the structure and theme.

I'm not a Keith Jarret fan as his playing is mostly introverted and too abstract. IMHO.

Swingal

#1128901 - 08/18/07 02:55 PM Re: Free improvisation - what do you think?  
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Bkek Offline
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Berlin
I liked this improvisation a lot. To me it is what improvisation is: an immediate expression of real impulsive emotion.

I agree with Ian C. Williams and there's not much I can add.

Keep playing Reaper.


"Men have not found the words for it nor the deed nor the thought, but they have found the music." Rand
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