If you’re an improvising musician – and if you’re doing it right – then every time you make music, I’ll be hearing your opinion on all the music you’ve ever heard. It doesn’t matter whether you’re faithfully reproducing a Classical piece from the sheet music, wailing free-jazz, or anything in between. From your song selection (or lack thereof) to your chosen approach to the songs you pick, you’re saying something about music, and about which approaches are valid, useful, and meaningful in the context of the material you’re doing.
Once upon a time there were 5 singers, on a stage, in a room, with an audience of 50. The singers knew that all improvisations, no matter how loose, need a structure – need some way for the improvisers to wordlessly understand what was expected of each other. So they had sought a structure that created a maximum of freedom for creative expression.
They had decided ahead of time whose turn it was and how the turns were going to go. And so the first singer had the silence – or the ambient noise – of the room to give an answer to, from whatever was in his heart at the moment, and from his opinion on all of music. He had freedom to do whatever he wanted, but he understood that he was beginning a process of music-making with others, and therefore considered what sound he could answer the silence with that they, in turn, could give answer to. And so, he began. Continue reading “How would an Improvised Choral Piece go?”