15 January 2012

A game worth knowing

The BIB editor reports:

The workshop given yesterday afternoon (14 Jan.) by Béla Fleck in Waltons New School of Music, George's Street, Dublin, was well attended. Fleck, who will be playing in concert with the original lineup of the Flecktones at the National Concert Hall this coming Tuesday (17 Jan.), responded to many questions on subjects ranging from banjo amplification to warm-ups (he uses three Bach pieces) to rhythms in Indian music, and let us hear plenty of his irreplaceable prewar TB-75 conversion. Anyone there had the opportunity to learn a lot.

To take one example: he described an 'improvisation game' played (offstage) by a particular band. The first musician thinks up a musical phrase and plays it till it satisfies him; the next musician devises something that will fit in with this phrase, and the two instruments then play together. The third instrument then plays something to fit the combined sound; and so on till everyone is playing and has contributed to the emergence of an overall sound. The first musician then adjusts what he is playing to suit the sound that has emerged, and the process begins all over again.

This can go on for as long as desired. As a means of producing 'togetherness' in a band that plays improvisational music like bluegrass, it seems hard to beat.


At 4:45 pm, Blogger Tim said...

When I lived with a band called Phish....they did this for hours in the living room. They called it "finding your own hey" because when you found you had locked into the groove...you shouted "Hey!" It paid off for them...they became gifted improvisers and the biggest "jam band" in the world since the demise of Jerry Garcia.

At 4:58 pm, Blogger Richard Hawkins said...

It was almost certainly Phish that Béla Fleck mentioned; my memory wasn't sure of this. Whoever it was, the idea remains a great idea.

BIB editor


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