Modern Improvisation. Part I

Understanding improvisation is ultimately the attempt to understand the very essence from which musical composition is born and realized. At the very depth of musical expression you will find that the improvisor has crawled into the deepest parts of his soul to hoist out the remains of his  history, impressions, and aspirations. We find that in formulated constructed improvisation, or compositions, that the very basis of these creations have the ability to originate from infinite sources or inspirations by the composer. In this sense, the word composer means the person is an experimenter. This person is in a position to create whatever he sees fit in order to landscape the environment via any source available. The source for the composer is limitless. The limitless is only accessed when the experimenter completely opens his mind to the space between his thoughts. Openness to limitless possibilities can stem into a creativity pool. From this pool of new ideas and formulations the composer will use learned educated tools to transmit and translate these ideas into understandable constructions. This is not necessarily to the benefit of the composer, but to the benefit of the listener. Often, we find that the stream of discombobulated ideas that drop from this creative vat may not strike mind constructs of the listener when these ideas aren’t framed, or coordinated. This, solidifies the validity of education. At least at a basic level, the composer should have an concept in how to construct ideas into full spectrum layouts. When this is achieved, the composer can gravitate towards manipulating the different constructed ideas. He can stand back and look at what is build and decide how(if at all)he might sculpt his creation further.

Improvisation can be seen as a form from which an artist fully expresses himself without boundaries or limitations. Improvisation can also be looked at as a form of communication or language. Expressing what the artist is experiencing in that moment, sharing those feelings through his art form. He is not relying on acceptance by the listener, but completely in the moment absorbing everything that enters his point of creative interest. He is open to what happens in his surroundings, possibly using his current environment as fuel for creativity. This presents the question, the more vibrant environment the more creativity by the improviser? This is only true when the improviser is open to using his environment versus resisting his environment. What this does is cut down the separation that normally fortifies amongst people and their surroundings. This places the improviser in a unique situation. At this juncture, the improviser(if open)has the ability to use everything that presents itself moment to moment at his artistic creative disposal. This may take discipline in order to cultivate. The artist will need to allow himself to be placed in uncomfortable creative situations in order to break the mind set of easy go-to pre-constructed ideas. By doing this, the artist is constantly in a position of opening. Overtime, he will notice his art form becoming more open to outside situational and environmental impressions. In a linguistic sense, the artist is now opening to speaking many languages. Ultimately, speaking the language of the moment.

Thomas McGregor


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