Saturday, 9 December 2017

YesterdayWhenIwasatthePianomyGuitarfelloverputtingitOutofTune -music or performance? eye or ear?

  Yesterday when I was at the piano my guitar fell over and when I played it moments later it was out of tune. The fall knocked some keys. I played some  tunes on guitar later and I was
1. trying to play,
2. talking  about how to perform the song that I was trying to play
3. trying to retune at the same time. I got confused and completely lost my poise, my ear and ability to be in tune.
It mattered to me intensely that I was in tune. Of course it’s part of the humour of the situation that I am out of tune; to the performer’s eyes its funny, the more intense I am the funnier or it doesn’t matter, but to the listener’s ears it’s horrible. I can play to the gallery and make the performance ‘funny’, but I lose it musically. When in doubt make the audience laugh then I am reassured that they like me,  and that is more important than being in tune.

Maybe that’s why that scene in Altman’s Nashville resonated so strongly for me. To recap:

 A wannabe country singer, a young woman, comes to Nashville with dreams of making it big and ends up doing a freebie gig in an almost empty bar except for a couple of bored punters. Midsong, she realises that no-one is listening, so she stops playing, looks at the bored audience, and starts taking off her clothes- a striptease. ( that’s interesting- in my memory it was an empty bar. I watched the film again - it’s a big smoky bar full of drunk men- maybe it’s the appalling emptiness of the scene that has distorted my memory - the emptiness of the room becomes an empty bar in my memory. (3 hours later))

To me, it was the saddest, most humiliating scene. About wanting to perform askill to an audience with a dream of being applauded, recognized, appreciated, but that not being wanted so you go LCD to win the audience. its an excruciating scene. I felt for her. Moving from the musical performance where the ear is most important, to the eye, where spectacle is the most important - playing to the gallery - in her case bored men.


audiences are either ear or eye dominant
- if ear or music dominant  then being out of tune is excruciating.
- if eye or performance dominant, then tuning is irrelevant. As long as the performer keeps the audience on side.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

gripping tensing and holding

Years ago, when learning dance improvisation, when improvising with a partner you were taught not to hold, not to grip- because it was fear driven - fear of falling, fear of momentum, fear of communication and gripping expressed nervousness, desire to control, to own; whenever there was  flow, gripping stopped, constricted, inhibited
"...follow the point of contact, don't hold on, stay relaxed,
no coercion, let go of thought of where to go next, l
let go of the desire to lead and be flexible to what is happening." 
if a fall happens let it, learn how to fall and recover, it was meant to be…

gripping tensing is  wanting to control, own. Desire to grip, to hold has many of the same attributes as  as the desire to copyright and market oneself as a holder, possessor of knowledge, a spasm of tightening, tensing
And letting go, allowing flow is similar to having a  non copyright, open access approach.

I hear stories of people wanting to  copyright things as their own- ways and means of unownable things like kinds of movement, actors training, ways of making music or traditions of training from Tai'Chi to voice work and see how the act of copyrighting, trying to own processes and traditions they have no right to own, prevents flow and prevents creativity. This  seems to inflate the copyright owner into becoming an untouchable expert. In order to copyright it helps to have a suspicious mind- assume that the world is out to exploit you,  the world will not celebrate and acknowledge your inventiveness, your wits, your nous.
Maybe having a risk averse approach inhibits play, discovery and invention?
A suspicious untrusting copyrighting mind
is the same as the tense gripping controlling body
which is the same as the mentality of the little nationalist who is scared of thebig bad world outside, scared of the other,.
Is this what makes someone want to build walls?

Yes, protect what's precious but maybe too much gripping and pushing away is not good.