Unique - a work based on an imporovisation

Posted by: Nikolas

Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 12/12/12 11:32 PM

I'm taking a point from Exalted Wombat and carry on working...


Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
Anyway, wasn't this about how a composition should best be presented for assessment and comment? If you don't notate, I can almost guarantee your work will either be no more than a simple tune (nothing wrong with that, but what can we say about it other than "that's a nice tune"?) or will be one of those rambling improvisations with which we're all too familiar, prompting "some nice ideas, now DO something with it!"
Hem... I beg to differ and I know plenty of people that do NOT notate (because they can't actually read music) and their works are simply wonderful. Take a look at the DECEMBER depository and see what I mean.

BUT, I would like to directly challenge you with your 'nice tune' and the 'some nice ideas, now do something with it!' comments, by offering a work of my own:

http://www.nikolas-sideris.com/stuff/unique.mp3

Yes, it can be found as a score, and yes it's been slightly refined, but if I want to be honest 90% of what you're listening is one take on the digital piano recorded and then left alone, or cleaned up a bit. The trumpet part came later...

And because I bloged about the whole process in another forum, here are two links about this very work: http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/showthread.php?t=65245
and here
http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/showthread.php?p=609348#post609348

So, exalted one, I dare you. Have a listen. See if you can or can't find logic, form, harmonic progression and solid enough ideas in the above work. Check the initial work (which was for solo piano) and how it came out straight from my improvisation. And tell me then is it 'no more than a simple tune'? and is it a 'rambling improvisation'? I hardly think so but I'm awaiting your comments really...
Posted by: GregSTB

Re: Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/09/13 09:02 PM

Holy crap. This one scares me haha. But in a good way. Had a hard time listening, because of the psychotic feel to it. I'm wondering if i'd feel the same if i listen to it in the morning. What was the intent behind this piece?? Perhaps this freaked me out because i'm not familiar with this perception.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/10/13 03:12 AM

Greg,

There's so much documented about this work on the couple of links I offered... Just go through them and if there's anything you don't understand, let me know. smile
Posted by: Steve Chandler

Re: Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/10/13 10:50 AM

Me likes. Yes, there's a psychotic feel, but it's a good way. The trumpet part adds a lot so I'm not sure it really makes the case you want it to.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/10/13 11:28 AM

Me glad you likes Steve! laugh

Well... this work pre-dated by a few years the discussion and exalted wombats' points, so it wasn't that I tried to hard to build a solid case. But in reality the piano could stand alone in this work (despite the fact that the trumpet has some interesting things to say), so I do hope that wombat will be changing their mind on impros and the such! wink

other than that, I agree there's a psychotic feel in there... wink
Posted by: ScottM

Re: Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/10/13 12:17 PM

It's really interesting. I think it would be even more effective if it was re-worked so that the beginning up to about 1:20 is solo trumpet with jazz band or big band - (no piano, or very little) and then have the piano and trumpet be a duet after that until it gets fast again, where the band could pick up the accompaniment again. It would sound good with a little percussion added with the band sections, too.
Posted by: Tim Adrianson

Re: Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/10/13 01:27 PM

That was really a compelling work, Nikolas! It held my interest throughout, with very satisfying contrasts and a beautiful conclusion. Thanks for sharing this!

As regards improvisation -- many jazz combos can provide very sophisticated improvisational "takes" on basic themes, with a rich sense of structure and contrast, as if it were through-composed. Typically, this type of presentation is not COMPLETELY improvised -- there's mutual agreement on how the piece develops and resolves, and typically there are implied harmonic and linear "blueprints" to obtain a satisfying rendition. This, IMO, is a very good example of that approach.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/10/13 11:23 PM

Thanks guys...

Scott: I see what you mean, but my total lack of experience with jazz (especially a jazz band) would make this a disaster I think! wink But in any case I kinda like the piano part myself... smile

Tim: Thanks for listening and commenting. Yes, I see what you mean, and ultimately this impro has been reworked quite a bit, but at the same time remains a free impro on the piano pretty much... If you check out the initial recording on the piano (the links provided should provide the link) you should find the very first version, and see how close it is to this one in terms of voicing, dynamics and form! smile
Posted by: LoPresti

Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/14/13 12:50 AM

Alright. For two months, I have refrained from comment on this thread, expecting Mr. Exhaulted to defend his original position, which was stated on a completely different thread, as I recall. Again from memory, we were in a discussion of the deep differences between more-than-less formal composition, and improvisation.

So, Nikolas, allow me to play the Devil's Advocate here -
We all enjoy your "improvised composition" very much, but it is not anything like the "typical" improvised work found on the forum. Why? Because you are not a piano player who is making up a piece as he goes. Instead, you are a composer, with a composer’s approach. You understand structure, development, form, and arch. While you might technically be improvising, you are using compositional techniques (consciously or sub-consciously) that give the work interest, a shape, and a coherence, that is typically missing from the extemporaneous creations. So, while you might be improvising, you are bringing many year’s worth of compositional skill to the task.

As you know, it is also typical of a real composer to augment, to revise, and to refine after “the first draft”.

I should restate here that I have absolutely nothing against the unwritten, in-the-moment, improvised works that are frequently posted on the Forum. I do, however, agree with Sir Wombat’s original observation that most lack serious development and conclusion.

Ed
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/14/13 03:23 PM

Hi Ed,

I see what you mean. I'm a composer and as such my thinking is different than that of a pianist. And this example I posted has been re-treated a bit so...

But I will repeat that I don't think impros are of a specific style, or worth. some can be amazing... That's my point...
Posted by: ScottM

Re: Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/14/13 03:32 PM

Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Alright. For two months, I have refrained from comment on this thread, expecting Mr. Exhaulted to defend his original position, which was stated on a completely different thread, as I recall. Again from memory, we were in a discussion of the deep differences between more-than-less formal composition, and improvisation.

So, Nikolas, allow me to play the Devil's Advocate here -
We all enjoy your "improvised composition" very much, but it is not anything like the "typical" improvised work found on the forum. Why? Because you are not a piano player who is making up a piece as he goes. Instead, you are a composer, with a composer’s approach. You understand structure, development, form, and arch. While you might technically be improvising, you are using compositional techniques (consciously or sub-consciously) that give the work interest, a shape, and a coherence, that is typically missing from the extemporaneous creations. So, while you might be improvising, you are bringing many year’s worth of compositional skill to the task.

As you know, it is also typical of a real composer to augment, to revise, and to refine after “the first draft”.

I should restate here that I have absolutely nothing against the unwritten, in-the-moment, improvised works that are frequently posted on the Forum. I do, however, agree with Sir Wombat’s original observation that most lack serious development and conclusion.

Ed


This is EXACTLY why I can't listen to improvised jazz. Except for persons or rare ability you get wishy-washy rambling, no coherence of thought and complete self-absorption to the detriment of the listener.
Posted by: Dara

Re: Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/16/13 05:52 AM

Originally Posted By: ScottM
This is EXACTLY why I can't listen to improvised jazz. Except for persons or rare ability you get wishy-washy rambling, no coherence of thought and complete self-absorption to the detriment of the listener.



Originally Posted By: LoPresti
We all enjoy your "improvised composition" very much, but it is not anything like the "typical" improvised work found on the forum.


thanks nikolas for your submission... wonderful piece

the above quotes in this thread give an example of the condescendence often expressed here on PW and across the forums (subtly or outright) in regards to those that pursue improvisation as an art form and practice.

Posted by: ScottM

Re: Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/17/13 12:57 AM

Originally Posted By: Dara
Originally Posted By: ScottM
This is EXACTLY why I can't listen to improvised jazz. Except for persons or rare ability you get wishy-washy rambling, no coherence of thought and complete self-absorption to the detriment of the listener.



Originally Posted By: LoPresti
We all enjoy your "improvised composition" very much, but it is not anything like the "typical" improvised work found on the forum.


thanks nikolas for your submission... wonderful piece

the above quotes in this thread give an example of the condescendence often expressed here on PW and across the forums (subtly or outright) in regards to those that pursue improvisation as an art form and practice.



There should be no confusion between pointing out bad music and condescension. There is such a thing as bad music and rambling jazz is the epitome of that. If you don't like to have standards in music that is up to you. That does not mean they do not exist.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/17/13 08:05 AM

Originally Posted By: ScottM
Originally Posted By: Dara
Originally Posted By: ScottM
This is EXACTLY why I can't listen to improvised jazz. Except for persons or rare ability you get wishy-washy rambling, no coherence of thought and complete self-absorption to the detriment of the listener.



Originally Posted By: LoPresti
We all enjoy your "improvised composition" very much, but it is not anything like the "typical" improvised work found on the forum.


thanks nikolas for your submission... wonderful piece

the above quotes in this thread give an example of the condescendence often expressed here on PW and across the forums (subtly or outright) in regards to those that pursue improvisation as an art form and practice.



There should be no confusion between pointing out bad music and condescension. There is such a thing as bad music and rambling jazz is the epitome of that. If you don't like to have standards in music that is up to you. That does not mean they do not exist.

I think what Dara means is something I feel, too. Instead of saying, “I don’t like that particular brand of music,” which is absolutely fine and perfectly acceptable, people tend to say, “That music sucks.” Well, to be honest, it may not be the music at all, but the listener. To each their own, but to not allow that through use of universally damning language is, as Dara put, quite condescending and rather arrogant.

I’ve learned to brush it off over years of dealing with it, understanding that most people do not mean it in such a way, but the language use is a putoff for many people who choose not to associate with the community for that very reason. And in a day and age when sales are down, marketing is down, revenue is down, and nobody’s listening to that kind of music anymore.. it would help to be more inclusive, instead of exclusive.
Posted by: Ted

Re: Unique - a work based on an imporovisation - 02/17/13 06:15 PM

For a long time I treated improvisation, not necessarily jazz-related, as a compositional tool, but in recent years I have come to regard it as an end in itself, with its own dynamic forms, and mental processes quite distinct from notated music. One reason for this is the readily available means of making high quality, lasting recordings at home; not an option until recent times. Whether someone listening to these pieces could discern their improvisational origin does not concern me. Only the sound matters in the end.

I see rambling and tight structure as the end points of a perfectly valid continuum of artistic choice, applicable to either composition or improvisation like any other musical element. Just exactly what takes place mentally during the best improvisation, on the other hand, is a fascinating question.