Sunday, April 22, 2007

training (the) quartet pt 2: network topologies

Before we delve into (re)engineering the protocol, let’s have a look at some simple combinations and topologies. We’ve already been introduced to the clockwise arrangement, so it’s a relatively trivial matter to come up with variants.alternative network topologies(Incidentally, there are 6 possible ‘closed-loop’ networks in which all members of the quartet are sharing affinity with one other and none are orphaned.)
Now, recalling the subgroup formations of a quartet(re)grouping a quartet…we can now begin to implement these.implementing subgroupsIn your experiments, you are likely to come across further possibilities; take each possibility and see where it leads you. (A simple variant is to individually select your source of affinity without sharing this information with the group.)

some (unanswered) questions:

Same question as last time: can interaction ever be so simple?
No… but why not?

Do we ever use these schemes in ‘real-world’ performance?
Yes… no… well, maybe. My guess is probably not, but why the exercises? How might they be useful? What might they be articulating?

Are the results of these exercises ‘musical’?
Possibly not, or at least not without a lot of work. Given that these schemes do not lead effortlessly to musical ends, and given that we’ll probably never use these schemes on stage, why might this training be of use?
And never mind if the results ever approach ‘music’, does it ever make sense—are they culturally decipherable?

How do we start?


Devin Hurd said...

To answer the "unanswered" question: I think these exercises have the potential to be musical - or even interesting. These open up a range of composed improvisations/ interactions given the pre-determined intent going into these exercises.

I dig the quartet network topology posts. They remind me of some work I did on improvisation theory back in grad school.


Dan said...

I think part of the question is whether we're talking about exercises or ideals. Exercises have the ability to challenge the way we interact, shift our focus in different ways, etc - but the end result might not be particularly musical, successful, or even enjoyable (as you mention). However, getting out of any kind of comfort zone is a positive in my mind. If you set it up as a systemic ideal, then it becomes a bit problematic for me because it's concern is not with the music so much as some idea about the music. Strategies are good things, important, but they mustn't constrain - they're much more valuable as tools rather than tracks.

Dave said...

very advanced stuff, I'd like to see that in action on stage. Don't think it's possible.

peter breslin said...

Great ideas sometimes come from mucking about with ideals first. I think we hear quartet schematics like the ones illustrated more often than we might realize. One of them reminds me of bass and drums as a second line with much freer "lead" piano and horn. Of course, another reminds me of bass/drums/piano as a unit "supporting" a soloist. Maybe some of the schemas look a bit like trading fours to me as well.

So I'm just finding familiar patterns in the abstract, which is one thing a trained monkey-minded guy like me is trained to do.

I don't think I've often been in a group collaborative setting where sincerely and playfully airing out concepts such as these has had a chance. Especially not since FREE JAZZ became a "style."