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 Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: psychotic lil clarinet girl (don't as 
Date:   2004-10-06 21:31

I know that improv can usually be developed after years of playing, but are there many people who improv on clarinet? I mean I know with the piano improv is really popular, but I've never heard it done on clarinet...



 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Sarah 
Date:   2004-10-06 21:50

I like to think of improvisation as on the spot composition. You act as the performer and the composer simultaniously. You can improvise on any instrument, in any style, and at just about any ability level. Even if you only know 5 notes on clarinet, you can still improvise a melody. Of course, after years of study on clarinet, and improvising you will get better.

Most people associate improv with jazz music, which isn't bad, but you can improvise in classical music. The next time you see a written out cadenza, why not try improvising something instead? Even if you aren't incredibly successful that time, a teacher should be able to help you forumlate ideas. I think that improvisation skills need to be practiced, it generally isn't just something you can do instantly the first time you try.

If jazz is your thing, there are plenty of beginning improvisation books/cds available. Listening to solos (and transcribing them) is a big part of learning how to improvise at an advanced level.

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: msloss 
Date:   2004-10-06 22:03

In a word, yes. In many words:

Eddie Daniels
Buddy DeFranco
Sidney Bechet
Johnny Dodds
Pete Fountain
Benny Goodman
Artie Shaw
Jimmie Noone
Herschel Evans
Jimmy Dorsey
Ron Odrich
....

ouch

....

finger cramps.

Can't... continue. Someone ... else... must... add...

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: diz 
Date:   2004-10-06 22:18

psycho said

but I've never heard it done on clarinet...

How much music have you listened too? Carinet and jazz ALMOST go hand in hand (I hate the term Jazz, actually, it's as all encompassing as that other dreadful term "classical").

Without music, the world would be grey, very grey.

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: hans 
Date:   2004-10-06 23:05

Mary,

Re: "but I've never heard it done on clarinet"

Is it possible that you have, but were not aware that the performer was improvising? Improvising on clarinet is ubiquitous (and it's fun).

Regards,
Hans

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Tom J. 
Date:   2004-10-06 23:36

msloss, how could you name all those guys and leave out . . .

Woody Herman
Jimmy Giuffre
Eric Dolphy
John Carter
Alvin Batiste (my first teacher)

and many more . . .

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: mkybrain 
Date:   2004-10-06 23:44

before i acutally played jazz on my clarinet, i just listened to it, mostly goodman. Then i played in a few musicals and got to see what jazz was like, and my teacher heard me and invited me to play in the jazz band. Now I am having a ball playing in the jazz band. I think listening to people play jazz, especially them improving, really makes it so much easier for you to do it yourself. Of course, knowing all the different scales, like blues scales, makes it a million times easier to improv. For me, it is by far much more fun to wale on a clarinet than play classical where everyone is much more critical.

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: BG 2017
Date:   2004-10-07 01:29

I was lucky enough to hear Ken Peplowski again a few weeks ago in Cincinnati. This is my opinion, of course, but I think he is one of the best going right now. I have also heard Eddie Daniels several times and you really can't go wrong advocating either of those guys for the one or two spot. We shouldn't really have to choose the best. Enjoy both, as well as some others, go hear them play, and buy their CDs!



 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: mkybrain 
Date:   2004-10-07 01:49

honestly i think jazz is the last thing that should be "ranked", but inevitably, it is

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Tara 
Date:   2004-10-07 02:57

I'll second the Ken Peplowski comment... heard/met him at the OU clarinet symposium this summer. Good stuff!



Post Edited (2004-10-07 02:58)

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: klarisa 
Date:   2004-10-07 07:34

I improvise both on clarinet and saxophone (only when i play "jazz" btw.)

I found it much easyer to improvise on sax because the fingering stays the same over the entire range of the instrument (octave overblowing) making it easyer using scales for improvising.



 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: William 
Date:   2004-10-07 15:00

For starters, learn to play the head (melody), and then simply go on from there playing variations. Listening to others will eventually help, but may be a bit confusing at first. Pick and easy tune, learn it and then try "jazzing" it up with rhythmic and tonal variations. I do not mean to belittle the great artistry of Pete Fountain, but he is a master of this seemingly simplistic approach as is demonstrated in the old Lennon Sisters version of "White Silver Sands" (a bit before your time, Psyco)

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: SGTClarinet_7 
Date:   2004-10-07 16:38

Mary,
Also look for dixieland music. The clarinet always improvs (at least a good one does!) in this style of music. There are a few to look for:
Firehouse Five plus Two
Original Dixieland Jazz Band
Hotlanta Dixieland Band
The Dukes Of Dixieland

Dixieland is similar too, but still a little different from jazz. (and more fun IMHO!)

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Carol Dutcher 
Date:   2004-10-07 17:31

Mary,

I play dixieland clarinet at three different clubs every month and sometimes in between. I improvise. It is really so much fun. If you ever get the Jamie Aebersold books with accompanying CD, this is a good way to learn. They play the melody first. You play with that. Of course there is a book that goes along with the CD. Then there is just the rhythm section and you can play anything you want. Now I have a hard time sticking to the melody line at all. Good luck on this.

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Alseg 
Date:   2004-10-07 20:48

"I was lucky enough to hear Ken Peplowski"

Ditto. And he can make himself sound like all the legendary greats...hommage to the Gods.

To the original poster....What do u play when you warm up? That's improv!
Now play a simple tune. Play it again, but ornament it..a grace note here, a lip slur there.....That's improv.
And what about a cadenza....same.
You probably do it and are not even aware of it.

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: mkybrain 
Date:   2004-10-07 22:45

Dixieland is awesome, my band played a beatles medley last year, and there was a little dixieland part in maxwell's silver hammer. Was Trupmet, Trombone, and Clarinet, I think that's it. But it was quite fun, I wasn't allowed to improv though.



Post Edited (2004-10-07 22:45)

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: JMcAulay 
Date:   2004-10-09 01:58


mkybrain:

Could it be paraphrased that in your ranking of things that should not be ranked, jazz inevitably comes last?

Behind what? And, of course, what on Earth could be ranked first among the unrankable things?

Enquiring mind really doesn't care too much.

Regards,
John

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: mkybrain 
Date:   2004-10-09 03:38

no it cannot be be paraphrased like that, im sorry i didn't make myself clear. i meant that inevitabely, just because of the nature of humans, we in someway rank things such has who contributed the most to jazz...when the last thing(my opinion of course) that should have any rankings in it is jazz...

does that make a little more sense?

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2004-10-09 06:14

Mary,

I think that William has given you the advice that will do the most immediate good. Most people who improvise, started off playing by ear. With a few skills gained (and a few scales learned) the next step is to play along with recordings. This is great experience and bypasses a lot of science that you'll appreciate better after you've tried just hacking at it for a while.

There is plenty room here to discuss the scientific side of improvisation, but I recommend that you give yourself some background via *imitation*. As discussed before, learn songs themselves, then embellish the melody, then play whatever you want.

I'm oversimplifying a bit, but that's the normal process. If you want some easy-to-follow clarinet music, try the old Benny Goodman small groups. Slower numbers like Moonglow or Body & Soul might be a good starting point.

Allen Cole

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: psychotic lil clarinet girl (don't as 
Date:   2004-10-10 17:10

Yeah, I do listen to music and try to sound it out alot of times... I find it entertaining for the moment... But yeah, I should do that more often...



 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2004-10-10 19:42

For most people, the problem with improvisation is that it lies in an area where you learn by trial and error. They see the plethora of educational materials out there and are tempted into too academic an approach. Many will learn a number of different scales and patterns but once the music is switched on, they are not sure what to play.

Do lots of listening and lots of imitating. It will discipline you, give you experience, and make all the academic stuff come alive for you.

Allen Cole

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2004-10-10 21:18

Along the same lines, one of my professors once made the observation that music is the only fine art (in most cases) in which college students are not required to take composition classes. Visual arts (obviously), dance, theater... programs will usually require at least a semester or two of composition classes. It's odd that musicians generally don't do the same (writing a fugue in counterpoint class doesn't count), and I think there is an incredible amount to gain by taking such classes.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2004-10-10 21:36

Would it be wise to suggest a "fake" book, now that there seem to be so many legal ones? You are given the tunes and the chord changes, and that's why studying scales is so important, so you know what notes are available to you as the changes go by. It's not totally random. That might be a good place to start, as well as the Aebersold books.
Sue

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: katchow 
Date:   2004-10-15 16:12

hey Tom J. i'm glad to hear someone mention J. Giuffre. I'm not sure how obscure he really is but i don't think i've ever heard anyone mention him besides myself. I've been fan of his for awhile, though i could imagine some might be turned off by his "breathy" sound (don't get the wrong idea, its not vibrato-happy like acker). I really like his original material too. Amazing how complete it sounds w/o a percussion section.

when listening to dolphy, i oftened wondered if he was playing a clarinet or a goose :) jes' kiddin...

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Markus Wenninger 
Date:   2004-10-16 06:21

As far as I see it, nobody has mentioned the rich and astounding tradition of free improvisation around here; everyone is talking about scales and such, but how come that it´s either straight jazz or the 19th century? Of course Alex is absolutely correct by demanding composition classes for just anyone taking up any instrument, therewith referring to that performing means to compose instantly. A scale does not develop one´s inner ear, it´s just one of the possible attributes of it. A musical form which isn´t a direct consequence of the sound-body taking place is a prison, and a boring one. Great improvisors, be it jazzers, classical (the dreadful 'classical' aera completely obliterated the fact that a cadence once was a virtuoso improvisation; I had to wait for Markus Stockausen to play the Haydn trumpet concerto with a cadence that wasn´t just another couple of bary by a guy some years dead, and he was so great) or avantgarde, were and are astonishing examples of musicianhood and craft to that degree by which they transcended formalism, rules of style and tradition. The young Coltrane didn´t trip once whilst playing the standards, but he was nothing compared to the soaring and ripping all bonds player he became during the last two years of his regrettably short life, just to mention a jazz example. And the clarinet certainly was the "picksuesses hölzl" Mozart loved (talking about the sopranino), but it was W.O.Smith who propelled cl-playing into the contemporary but splitting its sound, one of the very first to come up with multiphonics, improvisatorily.
Markus

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Hank Lehrer 2017
Date:   2004-10-16 11:25

Hi,

As a jazz improvisor for more years than I want to admit, consider the possibility of scat singing as an entre' to jazz improvization. Try to sing it first and then try to play a lick.

Not familiar with scat, check this link http://www.campusprogram.com/reference/en/wikipedia/s/sc/scat_singing.html

Use a simple melody like Twinkle, Twinkle but jazz it up a little with some scat-type extra notes. Then play the same ideas on your instrument. Sure, there is a chordal relationship but nothing is more boring than listening to someone improvise a series of scales or arpeggios.

HRL

PS But then then starting with the basic 12 bar blues progression is an easy way to get into improvising. "I got drunk last night and now my moma's gone away...." Repeat those same 4 bars; then "Ain't no body..... etc..." You get the idea but remember to keep it minor and the tempo slow!

"Ain't nothin' but da blues"



Post Edited (2004-10-17 11:21)

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2004-10-17 17:43

One reason that free improvisation hasn't been mentioned is that a young girl is inquiring about it without having previous experience in it. For this reason, we are trying to offer her some logical starting points for exploration and share with her some of the commonly accepted learning processes associated with it.

I can't speak to your knowledge or experience, Markus, without hearing more about you, but most knowledgable players who work without written music don't view scales, tonality, or form as a jail cell. They have learned how to use their constraints with the maximum flexibility.

I'm sure that at one time, someone tried to pull a wagon with multiple independent horses. As a result teamsters soon equipped their horses with harnesses and blinders. Four horses, properly regulated, could provide a towed vehicle with great speed and power. Independently, they would most likely draw and quarter their freedom-loving driver.

Likewise, groups of musicians need a central focus when operating in tandem. This was as true for the latter day Coltrane quartet as it is for a mediocre dixieland band. It's just a matter of degree.

Most attempts that I've seen at aleatoric [sp?] music and free improvisation have been nothing short of pathetic--often performed by musicians who neither understand nor respect the supposedly pedestrian music where improv actually works. What they don't understand IMO is that the freer one player is, the more constrained the others are--if, of course, you want the music to be coherent. Conventional jazz improvisation uses structure in order to allow the most flexibility to each player within his/her own particular sphere. (your trumpet soloist might've been free on the Haydn Concerto, but I feel certain that the accompanying orchestra was pretty much in lock-step)

The rules and structure that you describe as formalism aren't arbitrary. They are based on the observation of successful work over hundreds of years.

And to address another poster, I would be careful of the viewpoint of improvisation as spontaneous composition. I think that the process is more analogous to arranging or ornamenting. In a group situation each person is only creating part of the total package.

And I think that this is why most group-playing conventions are still accepted and used in the mainstream today. If anyone is interested, I'll tell you about a 13-piece 100% improvisational big band who makes it work. (borrowing from 1930's technology)

Allen Cole

Post Edited (2004-10-18 06:03)

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: psychotic lil clarinet girl (don't as 
Date:   2004-10-18 06:11

I was thinking... Once you play and memorize more songs wouldn't it be easier to improvise? I mean if the song you're playing is in the same key couldn't you take bits and pieces from different songs in the same key? I mean that's what I sometimes do on piano when I TRY to improvise... Or like y'all said, scales... But scales are too um... Boring.... yeah... But wouldn't it be easier to improvise with the more songs you learn???



 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Markus Wenninger 
Date:   2004-10-18 07:24

Allen,
It´s about the running, and not about pulling a wagon. This perspective You´re employing is exactly the one overridden by free improvisation; if Your metaphor can be beaten to making some meaning in this respect, it´d be about assembling a vehicle whilst running along, w i t h o u t tethering anybody or anything. Ears are usualy so cluttered up and crustinated by all that tonal metaphysical it´s-always-been-like-that that it takes quite some shakes to make one realise that a run isn´t done by fencing in but by assembling lightweight constructs, en passant, exactly as nomads do, impromptu structures which are to be dissociated just as swift and easily, and not at all by before-you-play-you-have-to-learn-the-rules. "most knowledgeable players"? -well that´s hearsay, really, since what makes them renowned is just how well they fit into that Procrustes-bed and that´s that; impressive if they do, but music is not to be gained by jumping as high as they´re said to. And don´t believe a mysterious thing like "central focus", whatever that´ll mean exactly, is missing with a free ensemble; the actual sound-Gestalt is no longer to be pinned down whether it was second to a score or composed on the spot by the performers (this is one more thing which makes posttonality so frightening to the conservative musician), the sole difference remaining is the myth of repeatability, which itself is a logocentric powerplay if there ever was one. But structuralist´s days are done with, if there´s a possibility to talk about progress in human/cultural sciences and the arts expecially, and compositions depend on the individual performer to the extreme. So, let them do the run, with the reins they find on the way, hitting the ground just as often, scrambling up again and resume it, there´s no prestabilised direction, the teams are not selected afore, they´re of instabile number and tuning and vector, drifting, and there´s, most important, no road any more, it´s just about the joys and difficulties of the run.
I didn´t say the rules are arbitrary, but they are just opinions of self-appointed authorities, not laws of nature (although I´ve read quite some treatises trying exactly to prove that, all together superficial and highly exclusive appellations, nothing more) - what makes a work sucessful is only by very small degree dependent on its worth as a work of art, there are just too many factors like how doggie-trained the actual audience is, how rigid tradition is both on performer´s and audience´s side, how demanding the urge to stage something that´s not been done countless times before, to come up with the sounds inside the performer´s own heads, the historical plateau etc. It´s not about art there, not much anyway.
Markus

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2004-10-18 10:52

What you're talking about by knowing more songs and noodling around by ear - that is the same thing. Jazz is all about knowing the "changes" (chords) on which a song is based and for each chord, there is a corresponding mode or scale. Jazzers aren't just making all this stuff up, there is a structure behind it. Yes, Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane knew their scales. You can't escape the need for technical facility. This attitude is what makes people think that jazz is not "serious" or "real" music.

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Hank Lehrer 2017
Date:   2004-10-18 11:06

Mary B Good,

Yes, a good improvisor must have excellent ear and also know a lot of songs. Many times, one has never playing the song before but having heard it, there is a good bit of long term memory that seems to be the place where that tune "resides." All too often, I'll be on a job and the piano player will call a tune that I may have heard but never played and away we go.

Granted, the successful improvisor will understand the chordal structure as well. And as Susan says so correctly above "Jazzers aren't just making all this stuff up, there is a structure behind it."

I remember my first job with a local rock group. I did not have the faintest idea what many of the tunes were but quickly figured out the chord progression, played a little fill behind the vocals, and when they nodded at me, took an extended solo. They loved it and I worked as the main sub for the band for several years (learned a lot of great tunes).

Also, you must know the style and stay appropriate. What Markus is suggesting above is too "way out" for me.

HRL

PS Oh, interjectiing little snippets of other tunes is a good thing to do (we call those "quotes" and they are fun to interject). Once you've played for a good while, such things come easier.

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2004-10-18 11:14

When I was in school my improv teacher told us to be very wary of "quotes", he felt that one quote once in a while was clever, but too many "mary had a little lamb" quotes stuck in smacked, in HOP, of somebody who really didn't know what else to play. Got to be careful, I guess.

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Hank Lehrer 2017
Date:   2004-10-18 12:40

Susan,

Your teacher was correct, as a "little bit of quote goes a long way." Most times when I do that, it is almost by accident and not planned (OK, I'll play the melody for .... here since the chords are the same - things seem to just happen).

HRL

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: psychotic lil clarinet girl (don't as 
Date:   2004-10-18 23:33

huh... little lamb? what are you talking about??? I don't remember ever having a lamb... Maybe someday I'll get one... nah... it'll just run away...



 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2004-10-19 06:00

Mary,

The answer is YES, the more songs you know the better. Learning songs teaches you a lot of bottom-line feeling, and helps you study melody even before you fully understand the chord structure involved.

I agree with 3dogmom's teacher that quoting is not something to be done to excess. However, once you are learning songs, the next step is to try and learn a recorded solo or two. These will help to provide you with some licks that you can recycle without coming off as hokey as you would quoting actual song melodies. Later on, you will simply pick out and learn more licks that appeal to you--from whatever source.

Check with your local library to see if there is a copy of "Improvising Jazz" by Jerry Coker. It's a very readable, understandable book with some good basic ideas on getting started--and getting started is the hardest part for most folks.

Where I disagree with 3dodmom is the notion that jazz improvisation is 'all about the changes.' Most beginning improvisors run into a brick wall trying to run each and every chord that they see. The fact is that chords group together around tonal centers, and this is something that you can get an initial feel for by learning songs--which is why I strongly recommend that you jump on that. Once you learn a bit about chords, you will be able to perceive them in groups rather than singly, which can be a liberating experience.

Once you are adept at picking up melodies, I suggest that you try to sound out some things at the piano--particularly if you have anything available that tells what the chords are. Hearing how one chord leads to another can do much to stimulate ideas.

There does come the point where you need to concentrate more on different modes, but I think that focusing on this too early causes you to concentrate too much on individual trees to the exclusion of the forest itself. I see many a student look as if he were hit by a truck after browsing through his first Jamey Aebersold book. This can be prevented, and if you like, we can discuss how to do just that.

Allen Cole

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2004-10-19 07:01

Okay, let me address this free improvisation thing in a separate post. I have attempted to make sense of Markus' reply to my post, and I will let the group evaluate it for themselves. I think that the post itself is a microcosm of free improv's basic problems.

Now, I'd like to point out a few examples where this line could take us. First, I'm glad that someone mentioned Jimmy Guiffre. He was involved in some experiments along these lines, and the results can be both heard and seen with materials available today. "The Train and the River" was performed on CBS's "The Sound of Jazz" in December 1957, and also at the Newport Jazz Festival. (the following summer?) Both can be had on video.

Markus will no doubt consider this a very primitive example, but I think that it helps to show the burdens that appear when we try to add flexibility to a piece's structure. Both performances involve a follow-the-leader situation in which one person sets up a groove and the others begin to build on it. Both of the performances are marked by caution, lest players find themselves drifting as the piece evolves. While grooves, licks, and even instruments change (Jimmy plays clarinet, tenor sax and bari sax), the dynamic level is pretty constant and a listener can just as likely become hypnotized as stimulated. (not unlike Brian Eno or Phillip Glass) Another characteristic is that there is a lot of repetition in the parts. The musicians' passions are restricted by the fact that they can't read each others minds, and to me this becomes more confining than a fake sheet.

Example #2 comes from my own town, although it's hardly a new concept. After all riffing and head arrangements go back a long way, and led to extremely energetic performances in groups like those of the Basie band in Kansas City.

In my town, we have an excellent Monday night big band composed of many of the city's top jazz players. No sheet music. Grooves start, tunes take form, countermelodies follow, and section players find their harmonies. A fascinating thing to behold at the intellectual level, but not all that exciting on an emotional level.

Why? Because--again--players can't read each others minds. Anything that they do has to be built step-by-step, drawn out because of the need of each player to decide who to follow, decide HOW to follow, move cautiously to avoid clashing, and to listen constantly for any changes to develop. This leads the group to keep a very low volume level, and a very consistent texture. Ostinatos, pedal point, and passacaglia form become the rule rather than the exception. Sensually, it is quite a nice experience...not unlike the bath of sound that you get from a string orchestra. But the process is made cumbersome by the need to link 14 or 15 non-telepathic minds, and only real chance for excitement is in individual soloists, who are often more restrained than fed by their accompaniment.

It is this restraint that makes me wary of the concept of free improvisation. When structure is minimal, players have to find a way to make up for it, and it seems to me that it leads us back to a more rigid solo vs. accompaniment situation.

In music where there is a standing structure (such as the 12-bar blues or 32-bar song), I think that individual players have more freedom to cut loose. With the form and chord structure to act as their guide, the musicians can be freer simultaneously and can better trust each other for solid backup as they push their individual envelopes. Roles are clearly defined, and this helps to automatically prevent the kind of clashes that free improvisors need to scan the horizon for. The Kansas City bands did marvelous group work thanks to established form, established roles, and a hierarchy of riff leaders.

Most attempts to get freer or more esoteric (including the ones cited above) seem to become a group of human bagpipes where each person takes a turn being the chanter while the others drone. When players try to be more independent in the absence of structure, there is often only a choice between cacophony and terminal hesitation--and more often than not, you get both.

Allen Cole

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2004-10-19 10:16

Very well said by Allen Cole, you're absolutely right. I guess I was just trying to reduce it to "nuts and bolts", and you really can't do that. Thanks.
Sue

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Markus Wenninger 
Date:   2004-10-20 06:57

Fine with me - no metaphors in this post then. The supposedly funny thing here is a) this particular discourse is schlepping itself on since great great great Ornette Coleman´s grond-breaking recordings, and b) "trying to make sense of it" appears to be quite a typical reaction to the different plateaus of posttonality...Schoenberg has it in his "Harmonielehre" that all this called dissonance/lacking structure and comprehensability is just a matter of habit. So we could just try to get used to it.
It´d do some good if Allen could pin down (without polemics, that is) what he calls the basic problems of free improvisation. Deducible, though, is the sole thing, namely that free improvisation has no structure and thus ends up in either being cacophonic 'waiting for one´s turn in an permanent drone' (silly me thought that´s exactly what all that jazz is about? this routine?) or 'permanent hesitation' (in itself a fascinating sort of a concept, to me, to come up with a performance or a composition comprising wait and impediment,...I think I´ll go for this once, just to give it a try).
So what those examples (indeed primitive, Allen - those results are to be expected when one let´s jazzers invent swing/harmony - jazz -forms on the spot; this isn´t what improvisation is about, the latter strives to go beyond those ideas of extrinsic form and repeatability, of rhythm, harmony, melody etc, and quite sucessfully so, since nearly 50 years by now) illustrate, Allen, is that a pre-structured piece is better than a non-prestructured because the former is prestructured? That´s begging the question, quite simply (that´s all examples can do, actually: an example, exactly because it serves as one, can never lead to an actual proof of this what it´s an example for, neither inductively nor deductively).
We can´t read each other´s minds, You say. That´s right, thank God - but we´re not interested the least in that, performing freely, but the soundgestalt emerging from the other instruments. That "just an undulating dorne without inherent structure" -agrument even such a spearhead like Boulez has uttered once referring to improvisation (and that stung a bit, I admit it) - but this position is so fixated in the presumed authority of the composer-knows-everything-ahead (expert-knowledge) and thus the piece can be repeated to perfection that authors, performers, and the audience just don´t have to listen any more (or, rather, that listening for those becomes a confirmation of expectancies), it´s just asking about a representation of an representation (a repetition of the code encoding the composer´s interieur, that is). This music is never actually there. Don´t think free improvisation would have no "structure", it makes one, hic et nunc, it´s just that the improv´s structure isn´t pre-arranged (and it goes without saying that there are just as many cases of fluking/not working free performances as there are in prestructured music, it´s not working just because it´s free). It´s exactly this hierarchy You mention that irritates free performers to the extreme - it works within the jazz consensus, Allen, but it is not at all a fundamental requisite for music and its performance in general. We don´t "make up structure" in free improvisation, it´s already there, because otherwise there´d be no music but just noise (many people think that the case - well, let them have it their way, the musical plateau is vast enough for any of us - but don´t try to spit into my soup, please, let us exchange recipes instead). A structure is an encoded, intersubjective formation of the set-forming variants´/elements´ relations - and this is already present/preformatted in/by/with the instruments of the performers (more than 9 out of 10 construed according to the chromatic scale of the Western world), the performers´ internal background (education, listening-biographies, concepts of the characters works of art/ artefacts) and the audience´s layout.
For me, as well as for all of the ensembles I play in and for most of those I had the opportunity to listen to, composition and improvisation as opposites are obsolete, to be overriden by a performance-formation that uses both as the tools/means to a specific end that they are. We perform a graphical score with the same strictness as we do pentagramm-notatoins as we do free improvisations - all that matters is the unconditioned dense formation of the musical piece to be listened to, and not an extrinsic authoritative principle playing God.
Markus

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Hank Lehrer 2017
Date:   2004-10-20 11:07

But Markus, the Duke said "if it sounds good, it is good." If I might take the same tack "if it sounds strange and somewhat disconnected, it is...." (Lehrer, 2004).

As far as free improvization (I never could quite understand Ornette Coleman's stuff), I guess I just do not understand exactly what it is supposed to sound like and I'm sure that is what is to happen.

I went to a recital of a local college sax teacher about a year ago and he played a composition that had an accompaniment that was randomly computer-generated and his part was ad lib as well. While I found this interesting and was impressed by the technique and the plethora of sounds and utterances, I certainly dod not "hum the tune as I left the hall."

I guess I have much to learn here.

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2004-10-20 11:50

I have a little trouble with finding the distinction between "free improvisation" and "performance art". Maybe there isn't one. Maybe there doesn't need to be. Maybe labels are unnecessary.
Sue

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2004-10-21 06:08

Actually, I saw a solo performance a few years ago by Oliver Lake that started off as free improvisation and then turned into performance art. (I just don't understand why artists feel the need to contrive something that could be better communicated by a letter to the editor in a popular publication)

As for free improvisation, Markus, say what you want but I think that I have pointed out real, practical problems. I would suggest that you split your post into paragraphs, though, because reading one continuous stream of that length has the same effect on me as the performances that I described previously.

I will try examine it more closely in the next few days.

Allen Cole

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Markus Wenninger 
Date:   2004-10-21 15:01

Hank,
You don´t remember the said composition´s title and composer any more, by any chance? (You know how to get my mouth watering, really...). And, as with feet stomping along, I´d be very irritated if someone went home after one of our concerts whistling those jagged, jumping melodies...Bolschoji might see it as people having several severe seizures, but New and avantgarde Music can be danced to, honestly. Working together with dancers, I often ask myself how they do it, but it works for dancers apparently. Well no, I don´t think You "have to learn much here", Hank, since Your open-minded attitude and ease make Your knitted forehead perfectly o.k., That´s just fine, in all honesty, if someone listens, appreciates, e.g., the technique, or the manieristic complexity, or just the fact watching strange younger and middleaged people perform equally strange music. Yours is just completely opposite to an imperialistic retro-conservativism which abnegates everything that´s not according to 19th century´s book.

Sue,
Your post reminds me a the famous Cage-anecdote, where a senior citizen, frantically beating his chair with his walkingstick after a performance of Cage´s compositions and yelling "See, I´m a musician too!", was answered by the (smiling benevolently, and internally snickering, for certain) great Cage:"You don´t have to call it music, if the term shocks You." Methinks, times are over where as music qualified only if the thing was staged, in front of an audience, with discernible beginning and ending etc (I love to think of a stageless concert, where I was adressed by an acquaintance, casually, and he went on talking to me although I went on playing what I had on my musicstand, until his wife say "Shut up, they´re playing already!"...wonderful.).

Allen,
That exactly is the point, posstonality is a (in the lgocal-hermeneutical sense of the word) totalitarian affair, of course the rhetoric as well is massively affected. This is not a Wittgensteinian language-game any more. I am sorry if my writing irritate You or cause You to see funny colours, I won´t change it just for the sake of smoothness and so-called 'better understanding', which most often is just another term for simplification.
This "Stop it, I can´t find anything here, what is this supposed to mean?!" -phenomenon I found in pupils often, the more violent the more they were suffering the locked-in-syndrome by tonality and all that goes along with it - but I tried to make them hop onto this 'inner continuous stream' that You object so much, literally to try to surf it, control it, just go along with it for the beginning, and in the end nearly all of them would do nothing else, on and on and on, they came up with own fingerings for multiphonics, or wanted to play everything in an instabile-pitched, very breathy and noise-enriched way Lachenmann-style etc. All this is about embracing tradition and propelling it up to a plateau where it itself is unable to go.

Markus

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2004-10-21 17:36

Okay, Markus, your last post won't require so much study.

>on and on, they came up with own fingerings for multiphonics, or wanted >to play everything in an instabile-pitched, very breathy and noise-enriched >way

I would like to know what age these pupils were, and whether studying privately or in a classroom. Opening minds to possibilities is one thing. But rejecting commonly used musical frameworks as antiquated and stifling is no way to bring up a young musician, whose career (or hobby) generally depends on manipulating and mastering those same frameworks.

What you describe would seem to give real credence to the guy who banged his stick on the floor and said "I'm a musician, too." I had some experiences of this type in college, led by a professor who was a student of Schoenberg's. What I found in her world of post-tonality was an artist so internalized that she produced only the shoddiest grade of work--including one of the most inept and childish rock bands in history. Even the lyrics were woefully inept. Internally, she viewed all of this as high satire.

Since she studied with Schoenberg, I would have to question her very concept of freedom--although I do understand her inability to make good use of it. After all, I can't think of a more confining medium than the 12-tone thing. I can remember being praised by another professor of Schoenberg lineage for a serial clarinet quartet that I had written by rolling dice to select both the tone row and the note values--all while watching a rerun of Gomer Pyle, USMC. While that feat did cause me some internal amusement and self-congratulation, I would hardly present it to the public as anything more than the parlor game it is. After all, I didn't create the piece. The DICE did.

>I am sorry if my writing irritate You or cause You to see funny colours, I >won´t change it just for the sake of smoothness and so-called 'better >understanding', which most often is just another term for simplification.

This is certainly your option, but I do think that it reflects the kind of mindset that's most often involved with what you're advocating. This is why I think that future scholars will look at the 20th Century and be more fascinated by the 32-bar song than they will with most of its post-tonal works.

>I love to think of a stageless concert, where I was adressed by an >acquaintance, casually, and he went on talking to me although I went on >playing what I had on my musicstand, until his wife say "Shut up, they´re >playing already!"...wonderful

I'm living your dream, then. Every time I play dinner music (which I quite enjoy) for a low-key gathering of some sort. It's great to know that the most droll combo gigs become high art via the vocalizations of audience members who ask me questions while the horn's in my mouth, or ask for business cards while I'm playing a note that requires eight of my fingers. Perhaps I should reach for a card next time, and invent a new multiphonic fingering in the process.

>This "Stop it, I can´t find anything here, what is this supposed to >mean?!" -phenomenon I found in pupils often, the more violent the more >they were suffering the locked-in-syndrome by tonality and all that goes >along with it - but I tried to make them hop onto this 'inner continuous >stream' that You object so much, literally to try to surf it, control it, just go >along with it for the beginning, and in the end nearly all of them would do >nothing else

That's what I'm afraid of. By rejecting commonly accepted structure, there is probably nothing else that they CAN do. We can only stand back and tell them that it was good for us if it was good for them, and compliment the Emperor on his new clothes. For most musicians, falling on your face is part of the learning process. I am definitely troubled at the prospect of removing the floor and walls that the students would fall against. If the floor is gone, you're eventually going to fall a lot farther.

While I clearly do not prefer either the music or the philosophy that you advocate, Markus, I'm not saying that it doesn't have a place. But I do see it as both useless and potentiall harmful to developing musicians who have not yet mastered accepted frameworks for making music. Free improv, noise, and simliar pursuits seem to me like a separate branch on the tree of musical evolution--much like the chimpanzee branches off from the line of human evolution.

Take that chimp, give it a laptop loaded with Finale or Sibelius, and I'm sure that we'll get some very free music produced. If he can't work the software, he can bang the laptop percussively against the ground, or maybe sit and think about it for 4 minutes and 32 seconds. (thus re-enacting the evolution of post-tonality?)

Personally, I think that we're in an era of post-post-tonality.

Allen Cole

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2004-10-23 10:59

You know, this conversation about what is and what isn't music really doesn't have an definite answer. Can't we just leave it at personal preference and be done with it?

As Shaw said, "I don't care what people do, as long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the horses..." Now, if they can keep a steady beat...

I ask this question of every class I teach. We always come back to the fact that just about anything can be considered music to someone. There's no point in arguing about it, although the debate can be invigorating.

Sue

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Markus Wenninger 
Date:   2004-10-23 18:01

Well, Sue,
Certainly, one can leave it just at that and finis. But this´d be utterly unsatisfying, wouldn´t it? Art that isn´t reflected, art that doesn´t k n o w i t s e l f as art, is just pleasing, some sort of aural wallpaper, muzak. There´s a layer of this in every musical (or any art´s) performance, to a degree, but dropping analysis, painstaking self-questioning and (-)confrontation to subjectivism is a lie to oneself, a pretension that there´s no one opppsite me, no you. The difference between us is exactly what unifies us, evey utterance (itself an artefact) relies/ is derived from an at least two- or more sided relation, the confrontation and the necessary difference of sender and receiver (we ourselves aren´t even identical with ourselves, because "I am myself." needs a) an opposite of adress to make it a meaningful utterance and not just a sounding, and b) a s we are different from ourselves we are one) obliges us to take it up endlessly. A steady beat is one thing, a pulse something completely different. "This
doesn´t have a definite answer" is just a definite answer, isn´t ?!
Markus

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2004-10-23 18:16

This is me reflecting on what you said. I'm done and off this thread.

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2004-10-23 18:22

Markus Wenninger wrote:

And off we go into metaphysics ...

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2004-10-23 19:11

I agree with Markus & Sue on one point, and disagreewith each on two others.

Point of agreement. The debate itself is fun, and I will freely admit that I greatly enjoy dissing free improv and post-tonality when they are presented as something more advanced than what the world generally accepts as music.

1st point of disagreement. (Markus) "Art that isn´t reflected, art that doesn´t k n o w i t s e l f as art, is just pleasing, some sort of aural wallpaper, muzak."

Actually, there is an oft-used saying that I'll try and paraphrase. It says that once art becomes self-conscious as such it becomes a contrivance and ceases to be real art. I have Googled this phrase and gotten a few hits, but can't find its precise text or origin. But the basic truth of it seems obvious to me.

2nd Point of disagreement. (Sue) "You know, this conversation about what is and what isn't music really doesn't have an definite answer. Can't we just leave it at personal preference and be done with it?"

In terms of this thread, there is a definite answer. A person without experience in the area of improvisation has brought up the subject and wondered about how to approach it. I have tried to present to her two things. First, that the most practical approach to educating yourself as a musician is to at least learn to do the things that others learn without formal instruction. Second, that a subjective "I you think it's music" approach is unproductive if not outright harmful in that it leads away from practical skill building and towards internalization. The world of art music had gotten a bit bass-ackwards this way, and many musicians outside of this sphere have some very serious questions about what we were doing in college.

You could eschew the use of kitchen cabinets and hang your goods on strings from the ceiling. It would be distinctive and add color and motion to your kitchen. You could call it a mobile and think of it as art. But it would would be incredibly cumbersome to the process of making your meals and putting away your groceries. It would also make it both difficult and/or undesirable for most of your friends or family to assist you in the kitchen. And it would hinder--not help--your concentration on creativity in your cooking.

Even if we accept that free improv and/or post-tonality represent a more advanced way, we have only seen them be successful with first-rate musicians who are intimate with each other. Most of these kids will need to work their way through far more pedestrian situations with less experience and frequently changing partners. I submit that they are better off learning what everybody else knows before they enter into areas of music that require extensive education (or academic brainwashing) of their listeners.

Markus brought up the question of why no one, prior to him, had brought this alternative up in a thread by a young player looking for starting info. This has been the real subject to the debate, and I don't think that we've strayed that far. Although again, I do enjoy reminding the avant-garde crowd about the charlatanism that continues to creep into these things. And I generally smell charlatanism when I hear claims that normal tonality and structure are imprisoning and dulling young minds.

I would counter that the need to be different, revolutionary, or 'artistic' for its own sake causes levels of contrivance that throw aside real artistic expression as uniqueness becomes the primary goal.

Going back to the cooking analogy, I could tell Mary that all she needs are supplies and equipment, and she can cook anything she wants. In reality, it would be better to start with something obvious like boiling a hot dog, and then move towards boiling something a little less obvious like an egg. Let her experiement with timing, and see what kinds of results she gets. If anything goes, I could start her off with frying but that would represent both greater difficulty and confront her with physical danger. Better to get some experience first. If we really gave her an 'anything goes' scenario, what would stop her from simply putting a live animal in the microwave?

In another post, I'll present specifically what I think would be a constructive approach to the original question.

Allen Cole

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2004-10-23 23:48

Allen, I couldn't have said it better myself. You are very articulate and I agree with everything you said.

We did give her many constructive, instructional suggestions earlier in this thread. I hope she was able to garner some sense of the manner in which to pursue the structure, tonal centers and methods of beginnng. As someone said earlier, Jamey Aebersold methods are great.
Sue

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2004-10-24 15:52

Back to the original subject, let's look at a logical approch.

William got us off to a good start with learning songs and then beginning to embellish them. Sue provided us with a warning that we do need to know our scales and chords. What most students find difficult is doing all of this at the same time. Let's look at some parallel tracks:

LEARNING SONGS (AND EVENTUALLY, HOW THEY WORK)
I think that William's advice of learning and embellishing songs is the most logical first step. It is in most genres of music around the world. It also makes you familiar with a number of songs, making them accessible for both performance and study.

The most difficult aspect of this is learning chord changes and how they work. This is quite a task when you play a non-chord instrument, and will require a good bit of study and experimentation on its own. Playing a little guitar, or autoharp, or messing around on one of those cheezy electronic keyboards (w/one-finger chord function) will be of tremendous help. I recommend these over piano, because you have to invest more time in learning piano. However, learning the songs in general will make it easier to see how the chord changes work.

SCALES & ARPEGGIOS
Eventually, you'll learn a number of different scale and chord types. I would start by concentrating on three:
Major Scale - the yardstick by which we measure melody western music. It won't cover every situation, but provides most specialized scales are presented as modifications of it.
Major Arpeggio - Notes 1, 3 and 5 of your major scale. If you didn't know already, this is a chord. And most of what you see on chord symbols are modifications of this.
Pentatonic Scale - Notes 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of your major scale. (the famous guitar lick from "My Girl" is a pentatonic scale) This is the easiest and safest framework from which to begin improvising, and it will still come in handy after you've moved on to more advanced techniques.

FREE IMPROVISATION (Yikes! Did I say THAT?)
Using your pentatonic scale, just sit around and make up some different things. This will help you to develop your phrasing, and build your confidence in making up things as you go along. Gravitate around note #1 and you'll get a major flavor. Gravitate around note #6 and you'll get a minor flavor. If you know all of your 12 major pentatonics, you will have a powerful weapon as a novice improvisor. (eventually, you can derive your blues scale from these)


These are all beginning activities, but none have a prerequisite. You can start doing them TODAY. Not everything will be perfect, and you will encounter some problems. There are plenty of folks here to help you.

LONGER TERM GOAL: FINDING THE KEY CENTER
You may notice that I haven't mentioned much about recognizing chords and the like. That's because you may likely have a chance to jam in which there will be no chords for you to read--even in concert key. But musicians learn to function this way and you should, too. This will help to keep all the theory and academic knowledge you have from confusing you.

The key center of a song is the note where everything seems to come home. If you are playing a simple song in the key of B, then B is the key center. When playing something in a given key, consider how notes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. FEEL to your ear. As you progress to songs in which the key center shifts, it is this feeling that will guide you to the new center. Another reason why thoroughly learning simple songs is so beneficial.

I've had students get through some dicey improvising situations just be hearing their key centers and applying the correct pentatonics.

If you have questions about how chords work, and where key centers are, we can easily discuss it here using songs that are familiar to us all.

START AT THE VERY BEGINNING (a very good place to start)
If you haven't seen The Sound of Music in a while, rent it. Review the Do-Re-Mi song. It deals very well with the major scale and how the different notes FEEL to your ear within that scale. It isn't jazz-derived, but it is a fantastic way to train your ear while taking a tour of historic Salzburg. (Almost like studying in Europe!<g>)

So Mary, and other beginning improvisors, try some of these activities and let us know what your experiences are. They won't take you all the way, but you can do them with no experience and they'll give you the experience to take things further.

Now that these ideas are posted, you'll hopefully see some additional specifics and points of view from other posters. (I'll try to refrain from further arguing free improv and post-tonality)

Allen Cole

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Markus Wenninger 
Date:   2004-10-25 12:04

Sad to read that last bracketed remark, Allen, Í haven´t been in one room together with charlatany, a threat to promising musical youth and metaphysics, and all of it in one breath. Time after time now I started to wish there´d a ground common we could bring it on, cl-wise.So then, whatever,
Markus

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: hans 
Date:   2004-10-25 14:06

IMO this topic has been covered thoroughly by Allen Cole, but there are two minor points that I would like to suggest: 1) the beginning improvisor might find it easiest to start with tunes that are in the key of C, and 2) IMO it can help also to improvise by whistling the tune. Allen has told me that, when his students are learning to play by ear, he often has them sing the song out loud in order for them to realize whether the notes are going up or down, which amounts to the same thing.



Post Edited (2004-10-25 17:18)

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2004-10-25 17:21

I think it's also important to note that singing, whistling, or tapping your foot is a PHYSICAL activity, and that it's important to do these things physically and not just in your head.

I see students think through a song, and often fail to perceive its characteristics--particularly if they have practiced or written something which has turned around to influence them as well. (their equivalent of changing the facts to fit the theory)

What Hans brings up also prompts a question. What is it in our musical education that stopped us from singing along to the radio?

Let me give you a stark example. I worked briefly with a terrific rock & soul singer who was also a very good clarinetist. (she left us to take the first chair in an Army Reserve band) She told the bandleader and I that she wanted us to teach her to improvise. We were incredulous. This woman already knew her clarinet basics up and down, and her vocal improvisations were great. But somehow, she had completely separated the two things.

Allen Cole

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2004-10-25 17:45

"What is it in our musical education that stopped us from singing along to the radio?"

What, you don't sing along with Scheherazade?

Really, though, I totally know where you're coming from. It seems that clarinetists (myself included) get incredibly worked up about playing exactly what's on the page, note for note.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Hank Lehrer 2017
Date:   2004-10-25 23:08

Markus,

I got an email back from Gunnar Mossbald about the computer generated piece. The composition was Dulcet Mimicry written for him by Larry Nelson. Send me an email and I will give you Nelson's email address.

HRL



Post Edited (2004-10-25 23:36)

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2004-10-27 07:02

I'll have to admit, Alex, that I have not recently sung any of Scheherezade--but I have heard Cannonball Adderley quote from it in the past.

Allen Cole

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: bunny.stewart 
Date:   2004-10-27 15:34

Wow!

Trying to get through what Allen and Markus have to say about music and specifically improvised music makes me want to stop playing music altogether!

I suppose this is a natural effect of jazz/improvised music becoming more and more institutionalized.

By the way, have any of you listened to Chris Speed? I have not heard many more beauttiful clarinet players in this field.

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Hank Lehrer 2017
Date:   2004-10-28 02:42

Hi All,

Perhaps Yogi Berra explains the whole best.

Interviewer: Can you explain jazz?

Yogi: I can't, but I will. 90% of all jazz is half improvisation. The other half is the part people play while others are playing something they never played with anyone who played that part. So if you play the wrong part, it's right. If you play the right part, it might be right if you play it wrong enough. But if you play it too right, it's wrong.

Interviewer: I don't understand.

Yogi: Anyone who understands jazz knows that you can't understand it. It's too complicated. That's what's so simple about it.

What else could anyone say! Markus, can you top this???

HRL

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Markus Wenninger 
Date:   2004-10-28 06:42

It doesen´t make sense, Hank, that´s what I´d answer this Yogi. Wisdom and insight isn´t per se gained through muddling meanings, especially if the answer does empty "wrong/right" of any meaning whatsoever. Which was meant thus anyway by Yogi. This whole right/wrong - charta as such is questioned and developed by free imrpovisation and post-tonality, it´s not thrown away but made acutely instabile. But if the yogi hasn´t prepared this so-called statement of his´n ahead I am impressed by his ability to throw a handful of sand into everyone´s eyes.
Markus

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Hank Lehrer 2017
Date:   2004-10-28 10:21

Markus,

Perhaps if you do not know Yogi Berra, a former major league baseball catcher and a manager, that might explain your response.

Without going into too much detail, Yogi's explanation is Classic Berra.

Here is a link to a website that will explain everything

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/y/yogi_berra.html

And as Yogi would say "It ain't over until it's over."

HRL



Post Edited (2007-11-05 23:32)

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Katfish 
Date:   2004-10-28 13:41

Markus; I think Hank was trying to lighten things up a little. By the way, have you read The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker? Come to think of it, it might put you in a worse mood.

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Markus Wenninger 
Date:   2004-10-28 20:14

Hank,
As You know, I have frequent lessons with L. Carroll´s caterpillar, it going again and again at me "Never loose Your temper!"...Checked that website...I´ve read various of those 'sayings' said to be said by various different persons, especially that "it ain´t over until it´s over"...might have been a good sportsman, I don´t understand baseball, but I wouldn´t ask him on behalf of this topic, to be honest. Yes, I admit that I don´t have to fight everything that moves me to the end come what may, I still try to learn that. And I can sometimes see, out of the corner of my eye, P. Brötzmann (an urgestein of European freejazz, as a performer quite the opposite from me) grunting, as he did to me several years ago, as we were arguing about how important honing one´s technique is, "See, I told you, all this intellectual bullshit [sic], no use, take your horn and blow them out of this universe [several swearwords following!"...I get this feeling, sometimes. Is it a especially German thing not to be able to have a laugh about "the important things", or what is considered to be so?
Markus

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Hank Lehrer 2017
Date:   2004-10-28 20:20


Katfish is correct; we all need to lighten up at times.

How bout those Sox!!!!

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Camanda 
Date:   2004-10-28 21:17

My band director recently gave my jazz band Caravan, which we will do for the Berklee Jazz Festival and probably graduation. I am going to try for the clarinet solo. 2 of the 7 saxes are active clarinet players: me and the bari sax player, who is my stand partner in Wind Ensemble. Somehow I doubt she wouldn't play the bari sax solo, so hopefully this will work in my favor. It would really be the best way to end high school for me.

Amanda Cournoyer
URI Clarinet Ensemble, Bass Clarinet

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: 3dogmom 
Date:   2004-10-28 23:55

Hey, Amanda:

You go, girl! Go for it. Sounds awesome - good luck!
Sue

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: allencole 
Date:   2004-10-31 01:00

Will you improvise your solo, or does it call for you to reproduce the original? (had to do this myself on Rockin' in Rhythm some years ago)

Allen Cole

 
 Re: Improv! Now isn't this a GREAT subject?
Author: Hank Lehrer 2017
Date:   2007-11-05 23:30

Hi All,

I was looking at some past threads and I thought this one was worth elevating (Mark, you can close it, of course, if I am being too forward). There are some really great notions about improvising; I know this subject comes up from time to time. There may be something here for newer BB members.

Looking back on Yogi Berra's explanation of jazz above was too funny! Here's Yogi on syncopation:

Interviewer: What is syncopation?

Yogi: That's when the note that you should hear now happens either before or after you hear it. In jazz, you don't hear notes when they happen because that would be some other type of music. Other types of music can be jazz, but only if they're the same as something different from those other kinds.


HRL



Post Edited (2007-11-05 23:39)

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