Improv Quote of the Day: Medieval Music and Notation

The pitches found in a medieval manuscript were never intended as indications which would lead to a piece’s definitive performance, such as we normally use notation as a basis for performance today. In the Middle Ages, performers did not generally use notation, and therefore did not conceive of music in such terms. Thus, one could speak of our manuscript sources – admittedly the main evidence we have to go by – as mere skeletons, very much in need of conceptual fleshing out and understanding, and not as a reality.

–Barbara Thornton


New Improvisation Card Game: Tonic

Pianist Scott Hughes recently crowd funded (Kickstarter) a project to build a card game to help musicians practice improvisation. It’s called Tonic, and you can download it for free. Scott says:

I believe improvisation is the #1 greatest thing a musician can do to improve him or herself as a player and as a person. The tragedy is that it’s not taught in standard music programs, and as a result most musicians are afraid of it. I studied music at UArts and Temple and saw a lot of the usual problems, so I want to provide an alternative.



David Byrne on Creativity in Music

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailThe act of making music, clothes, art, or even food has a very different and possibly more beneficial effect on us than simply consuming those things. And yet, for a very long time, the attitude of the state toward teaching and funding the arts has been in direct opposition to fostering creativity among the general population. It can often seem that those in power don’t want us to enjoy making things for ourselves – they’d prefer to establish a cultural hierarchy that devalues our amateur efforts and encourages consumption rather than creation. … Capitalism tends toward the creation of passive consumers, and in many ways this tendency is counterproductive. Our innovations and creations, after all, are what keep many seemingly unrelated industries alive.

– David Byrne, How Music Works



Chris Johnston on Performance and Improvisation (Quote)


In the beginning, when clouds were God’s breath, and buffaloes roared without fear, and time was uncounted except by death and birth and the sky darkening, there was performance. And it was never counted as special or apart because it was and it was what happened and without it we thought there would be drought and insufficiency and possibly war when you wanted peace, or peace when you wanted war. So we moved and shook and spoke in sequences of unidentified languages and evoked harmony in ourselves and terror in our enemies. And we urged ourselves good fortune and bonded with each other and reinforced ourselves as tribe of reindeer or mountain or lyre bird.

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Creativity Quotes of the Day

English: French composer Nadia Boulanger (1887...

English: French composer Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) in 1925. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You are enriched by all the music you know by heart; it becomes a part of you. –Nadia Boulanger

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember: amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic. –Anonymous

The Earth without Art is just “eh”. –Anonymous

A problem is a chance for you to do your best. – Duke Ellington

Very few people do anything creative after the age of thirty-five. The reason is that very few people do anything creative before the age of thirty-five. 
- Joel Hildebrand

The way to succeed is to double your error rate. – Thomas J. Watson


Improv Quote of the Day: Making Things

Vijay Iyer

Vijay Iyer

My primary orientation is as an artist, and what that means is that I make things. I don’t make things in order to make money – I make things in order to communicate, reflect, meditate, and connect with people. It’s a personal practice. It’s a spiritual practice. It’s a social practice. And that’s really the foundation of everything I do.

–Jazz pianist, composer, and MacArtur fellowship winner Vijay Iyer