Ebb and flow.

So, my friend, Jesse, does hour long improvs each week and posts them.  I listened to this past week's, and realized something.  Or at least discovered that I had come to a new milestone in my journey.

When I started all of this, the first several improvs were all over the place.  Nothing was tidy, nothing was uniform... it was like looking into a pile of scraps.  Everything was indiscernible.  I didn't like that it made no sense.  Music, even free improv, needs to have some sort of semblance.  So I spent the next many days and weeks trying to pull things back into some kind of structure.

Seeking structure served several purposes.  First, it meant that things would find relationships to one another, and therefore make more sense from beginning to end.  Secondly, structure should imply some sort of direction, which I was lacking terribly.  I could feel that it wasn't there, and it bothered me a lot.  Finally, structure would help me construct a beginning, middle, and end.  There were at least two posts that I tried to create a sonata form, and however you liked or did not like them, I felt like they were "complete," and that made me comfortable.

Now, the detriment of seeking structure.  I didn't (and still don't) know enough about progressions to really be able to structure any improvisation very effectively.  And I think it in fact turned out to make me think too much.  Things got tentative and stodgy, and I would find myself revolving around the same chords or same motives without being able to develop them.  I was so committed to retaining a consistent idea that I couldn't move.  It made for some terribly boring output.  That being said, I think it was an incredibly important step to walk through.  And I know that there will by many times when I still need to keep all of this in mind.

Anyway, getting back to Jesse's improv.  So, I don't give myself a time restriction on any of my improvs.  But if you think about an hour, and how much music fills an hour... it's a really long time.  One hour of music generally fills an entire concert, and that's with breaks for clapping, intermission, and whatnot in between pieces.  One solid hour of playing is like running a marathon.  The reason I mention this is because it would be absolutely impossible to stick with a single idea for this long.

So, as I listened to Jesse's stuff, I noticed that there were wild variances between ideas.  They were all in the same "piece," but completely different from moment to moment.  Somehow, though, it worked, and flowed.  And it made me realize that I didn't need to feel locked in to the same motives or patterns for things to fit... maybe they would just find themselves again in some other form.  Or maybe not!  And that doesn't make it bad.  And that italicized thing was the revelation I think I needed to feel lately.

So today, I let things flow.  They went where they were going to go.  And what's funny is that when I listen back, they connect much more easily than anything I might have forced before. 

Here we go, Day 168: https://ia700807.us.archive.org/27/items/Improv12912/1_29_128_44Pm.mp3