Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Magic Carpet

I talked about when improvisation fails, or if there is a "wrong note" in improvisation.  I said in more motivic or context-based possible "wrong" note, when improvisation appears not working too well.

When a musical performance--any performance, classical, contemporary or improvisation, isn't working, one way it sounds to the audience, is as if the music is 'losing steam'.    Before you go on stage, or at least before you start playing, either on your own (solo), with accompanist, or with orchestra, i.e. before the music start, I like to see an imaginary stream, like a jet-stream where I'm supposed to hop onto.   To be more substantial, one could imagine a Magic Carpet, which isn't stationary but is coming around for you to hop onto.

The point I'm trying to make is, the movement of music, or the "time" itself is already there before you start playing; it is like a stream of air that's already moving.  You are to get onto that "time stream" while you mold the rhythm of your music in it, but not trying to artificially start or create it.  It is easier that way, to imagine you "join" the already-happening "time stream" to play your first note, rather than trying to get the Magic Carpet float from the ground.

This is probably too abstract but I really don't know how else to describe it.  But if you don't do this "hopping onto the Magic Carpet", or worse, you fall from it during the concert--which happens-- the performance feels as if it has lost its steam.  I have, of course, felt it myself, and it is a bad experience. More than half a year ago, I had a semi-informal concert, which was a small dinner-concert where I ate before I played, which was a mistake.  My attention wasn't really there, and my Magic Carpet fell.  I wasn't interested in my own playing which still remains as a bad memory.

As a performer, a goal is for every performance I give to be a good memory, and not have a bad experience.  That is truly important, since what you did last is what you build upon.  We have to keep the Magic Carpet flying.

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