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Improvisation vs. Composition in Experimental Music
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In a sense, it could be argued that all music is experimental, and that it always has been. Since the beginnings of our species, human beings have been experimenting with ways to make music and song, and ways to reproduce and guide our soundmaking activities. Today, in the early days of the 21st century, Experimental Music has come to mean something more specific though, and that's what this thread will discuss.

Some time in the 1950s musical experimentation seems to have split into two different streams. A composer's stream and a performer's stream. 

Some composers, like Karlheinz Stockhausen, began to score compositions in new ways. Sometimes using musical notation, sometimes novel means of putting musical instruction onto paper, for later performers. Stockhausen still mostly concerned himself with the 12 tones of Western Music and with European musical instruments. Other composers, like John Cage went even further, discarding the Western musical language completely, in favour of using whatever material he could, in order to organize sound compositions. In fact his most famous piece, 4"33", was a score for four and a half minutes of silence. In the 1960s the art "movement", Fluxus began. Fluxus was largely the product of the visual artist and designer, George Maciunas, but it came about largely because of the work of John Cage and two other musical composers, La Monte Young and Henry Flynt.  Today, in 2020, experimental music compositions continue to be  written and performed, with some composers continuing to compose for Euro-American instruments, and the 12 tones common to Western music; and other composer following more in the tradition of Fluxus and John Cage.

Meanwhile, also in the early 1950s, some jazz musicians began to leave musical notation behind as a reference point for their improvisations. Instead, preferring to create their music extemporaneously, independently of compositional scores of any kind. The saxophone player, Ornette Coleman is generally credited as the "founder" of Free Jazz, though there were some musicians moving in the same direction as early as the 1940s. On piano, Cecil Taylor, also began working and performing independently of musical notation. By the 1960s, Free Jazz began to evolve not only beyond musical notation, but beyond historical Western musical instrumentation. Music and sound was produced by just about anything that could create soundwaves. The composer, Henry Flynt, abandoned composition in favour of spontaneous performance. He is often considered to be the father of experimental music, though his recordings were once nearly impossible to find. From the 1960s to the present day, electronic instruments have formed an important part of the experimental music scene; for both the composition and the performance stream, thus bringing us back to the 21st century.

Today, in 2020, experimental music performance and composition are still going strong. My hope is that the Free Jazz Forum develops a community of experimental musicians. My personal bias is definitely towards the pure performance stream. I like the freedom to produce my own music, on my own terms, without being fiven prior instructions. In a time of more and more social expectations and control, it is liberating to pick up a musical instrument and just play the sounds that my heart and soul produce.
Artist and Musician in Victoria, BC. 
Lap Steel, Flute, Harmonica, Ukulele
papadafoe.com, revich.bandcamp.com
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