Monday, August 25, 2014

Eine kleine Nekromusik

When the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us, as the final ragtag few that is what is left of humanity gather to hear the last musician on the planet at the last piano with the last copy of Mozart’s piano sonatas, we will wait for the text to speak to us. As the undead hammer down the doors, the futility (always already) of fidelity to a long lost (fictional) past will become crushingly obvious.

Friday, December 28, 2012

unmasking tig

Although the most recent post is dated October 2012, improvising guitar hasn’t been active in any meaningful sense since January 2008. I started this blog in order to explore ideas of improvisation and technique, and as an outlet to vent issues emerging from my teaching [more…]. It was primarily for the latter reason that I adopted a pseudonym—the improvising guitarist, or tig. This was all in the relatively early days of weblogs, and, subsequently having written here and there under my non-pseudonymous name, I now feel more confident about expressing issues online without getting myself (or anyone else) into trouble.

As I said, I am “tempted to ‘come out of the closet’ on this blog,” so…

I still blog occasionally on (relatively) specialist matters, but, if you’re looking for my “unplanned collection of thoughts about the technical, social, pedagogical and practical dimensions of loosely idiomatic, sometime experimental, mostly open, always traditional improvisation”, your best bet, currently, is at a certain micro bogging platform.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Hope I can (again) make your acquaintance.

Brooklyn, December 2012

P.S. a shout out to Kris Tiner, afaik, the only person who guessed the identity of tig.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

practice based research: policing the borders of knowledge

Practice based research is not only a methodology, but is also tied to a metric, and, for you to be successful according to a metric, you need to play the game.
When I first encountered the term ‘practice based research,’ it promised to forge an academe that was more inclusive, border crossing. With creeping corporatism, however, practice based research instead became a way to solidify borders.
We all play the game. A (successful) practitioner outside academia knows to discriminate in their networking; to remember to, say, ask the Important Person at a concert about their family, to compliment the right people at a gallery, to have the right guest performer on their record, etc. And academia—with its bureaucratic pressures, need for peer esteem, to demonstrate ‘value’—is perhaps no different. As universities become knowledge/degree factories, as they are constantly asked to justify every penny, the metric, and the game, exists to reenforce the value of inside over that outside. This leads to some of problematic work and behavior written about elsewhere, and Bob Ostertag makes a similar point in regards Computer Music:

A phenomenon seen time and time again in academia: the more an area of knowledge becomes diffused in the public, the louder become the claims of those within the tower to exclusive expertise in the field, and the narrower become the criteria become for determining who the ‘experts’ actually are. [Read the rest…]
I’ve been to enough academic conferences/performances to encounter glazed eyes and interrupted conversations when someone discovers that I’m unaffiliated or semi-affiliated. No coincidence that this happens most often with junior academics as—with hostile job markets and promotion systems—they feel the greatest pressure to play the game.
I know academically affiliated researcher-practitioners who try their best to cross borders, but face an uphill struggle because the game rewards exclusivity. Academia should be a privileged space in which researchers, like arts practitioners outside academic borders, imagine and explore alternative modes of thought, interaction and sociality. However, for many unaffiliated practitioners who value what is offered by a conversation—an exchange of ideas and methodology—with academic practitioners, practice based research has not helped that conversation happen.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

seven things about TIG

Another meme (this time lobbed from Mixed Meters). Rules:

  1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.
  3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
  4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
  5. If you don't have 7 blog friends, or if someone else already took dibs, then tag some unsuspecting strangers.
  1. I am a lapsed composer.
  2. …a club-runner by necessity.
  3. …writing five articles this year (for reasons that I don’t quite understand (since my income (hahaha) does not dependon it)).
  4. I have been blogging occasionally under my (non-pseudonymous) name for several months.
  5. I am thus almost tempted to ‘come out of the closet’ on this blog.
  6. …learning how to teach improvisation by learning how to be a student.
  7. …discovering that I can be, especially with people whose help I need but have no respect for, diplomatic (and Machiavellian (and devious)).
Tag: DJA’s Secret Society, Force of Circumstance, HurdAudio, Scratch My Brain, soundslope, SpiderMonkey Stories, Stochasticactus

Monday, October 20, 2008

Methinied Morricone

I’m not averse to Morricone here at IG (I do, after all, suggest Cinema Paradiso as a melodic atom for practicing guitar…), but here’s something out of my normal orbit:

I would, however, never recommend Metheny’s technique as a starting point to any of my students.

Video via The Jazz Guitarist.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

an sms conversation between two teachers of improvised music

SOH: Any tips for dealing with the hopelessly terrified?

TIG: Ritual humiliation? ;-)
Seriously, i recommend getting everyone to make
the "least musical sound". Invariably what they do
is still quite musical (and/or boring and loud),
so you can push them to do better.

SOH: That sounds like a good idea.

TIG: Honestly, students - they think they should
preempt the music.... :-)

SOH: These guys seem to think that they could be silent
when they're asked to perform & somehow the
improvisation fairy will visit in the night.

TIG: Improv fairy? Mwhahahahaha.

SOH: Haven't you heard of her? She brings freedom & fun
& exemption from effort & lots of good shit like

TIG: Substitute the improvisation sandman who comes at
night to take away your muse if you haven't played.

SOH: Yes, I will rule with fear! Maybe I should get a
scary costume.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

classical dynamics

Okay, Devin Hurd manages to lob me a meme. I’ll bite—anything to inject a little actitity into this (temporarily) neglected blog.

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.
Wish I had a more (overtly) musical book at hand, but here goes:
Jerry B. Marion and Stephen T. Thornton (1995), Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems 4th ed. (Fort Worth: Harcourt).
As it happens, the would be fifth sentence occurs at the very end of page 123. Thus, taking the first three sentences of page 124:
Example 3.2
Consider a pendulum of length l and a bob of mass m at its end (Figure 3–12) moving through oil with θ decreasing. The massice bob undergoes small oscillations, but the oil retarts the bob’s motion with a resistive force proportional to the speed with Fres=2m√(g/l)(lθ̇). The bob is initially pulled back at t=0 with θ=α and θ̇=0.
Hmm… If this has a link to Devin’s book, it’s in that it reminds me of flipping through Braxton’s Catalog of Compositions.

Okay, I’ll tag a couple of musicians—Dominic Lash and Taylor Ho Bynum—who always seem to be looking for a good read (and might have a more interesting book at hand then a physics text book), and, just for a measure of insanity, I’ll tag sjz. I’m also going to lob this over to roboflutist even if, between taxes and recitals, I suspect she won’t have the time to respond.
Finally, to atone for the choice of a science text book (of the positivist, empirical variety), I’ll tag Zuska.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

the grant application algorithm rev. 1.0.0

For FS.

A very simple algorithm:

1. Choose ‘edgy,’ trendy words and phrases that the arts organizations currently love (e.g. ‘collaborative’, ‘sustainability’, ‘interdisciplinary’, ‘defamiliarize’, ‘hybrids’).

2. Lay those words down as if on a scrabble table.

2.5. Optional: get intoxicated / stoned.

3. Try linking those words to make sentences (actual resemblance to grammar is purely coincidental).

4. Make sure targets and goals are not measurable (how exactly can you compute ‘artistic practice’?).

5. Voila! A completed grant application for the arts.

…Yeah, I was talking to a theater stage manager who hit the nail on the head: “arts funding is turning artists into liars.” Too true.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


There’s no such thing as a wrong note, just (missed) opportunities.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

well, this is depressing (addendum)

Dan asked for some background on the London Musicians’ Collective vs. Arts Council of England dispute. Most of what I know, I’d heard on the grapevine. While others have also blogged about it, possibly the most reliable info I have is from the LMC website itself. Look at the two articles ‘LMC Funding Crisis: January 2008’ and ‘LMC Funding Crisis: UPDATE 5 February 2008’. An except from the former article:

The LMC currently finds itself among nearly two hundred arts organisations who are having their Arts Council funding severely cut back. In December we received notice that Arts Council funding, which has always been fundamental to the LMC’s survival, will be cut off from 1 April 2008.
And the update:
Sadly the LMC has not been reprieved by the Arts Council of England, and our funding will stop from 31 March 2008.
We wrote to the Arts Council answering their points of criticism, but clearly failed to dent their intentions…. The fact is that events like the LMC Festival cost a lot of money, eg just one visa for a visiting musician runs into hundreds of pounds.
You may also want to have a look at some of the letters of support for the LMC.

BTW, apologies for not responding to all those who have left comments recently, I’ve been a little overwhelmed (if you can be a little overwhelmed) with stuff (including an upcoming performance with a former teacher of mine… time to practice).