The concert was a different experience for many people who attended. There were many things to be learnt in the concert. There were many styles of music that we got to learn. This learning of new music styles is an experience I have never learnt and it was a fantastic experience for me. In the music concerts that I have ever attended, one genre and style of music has been the main theme. One theme that came out clearly is innovation and blending music styles of various ages and periods to match together. In the concert new music was created to cut across from the past to the present times. This made me to conclude that the concert was concerned about closing the gap of the low and high culture of our society. This came out clearly in the way the music was mixed in the concert. The performance can be seen to be a mixture of the past music and modern music. This is seen in the way the music that spans long periods of time and instruments from diverse cultures and their period of existence. The instruments that were used brought some sense of tradition from the cultures that produced them. This is because of the traditional instrument called gu zheng which is a Chinese music instrument that was used to play the song “Clouds Rise”. This musical instrument was used to play even modern songs. It has more strings other than the 18-23 strings that are common. The artist, Hui Weng recomposed the song to fit modern times. This recomposition was enhanced by the gu zheng instrument which brought the song lively elements of modern songs. The use of these instruments together with low culture like the talking part accompanied by the vocals and the Peking Opera (low because of cultural facts which are full in its content) brings new musical traditions that are a favorite of the middle culture are aroused which is popular with all people from all social classes to enjoy.
Chan (2) brings much focus on the need to teach improvisation in Mills College. It brings into being the rationale that improvisation on current bands. There are many benefits that Chan (2) brings and argues in the article. The article argues that improvisation is a good way to go as there are many students in Mills College come from different background and cultures and have different music background experience. There is a need to undertake improvisation in the teaching process. The traditional backgrounds of jazz, Arabic music, classical and rock have eradicated the existence of boundaries which have been in existence for a long time. It has brought the need to understand the various music genres as the students will be taught to learn together. All the music genres will learn the various music genres and will therefore not regard a particular culture to be superior to the other. Chan (3) argues that one of the most important elements in the music program in the college is improvisation of the music genres. He goes ahead to compare two modes of music, which is copying according to the laid rules and improvising. According to Chan (3), the way we live through life is by improvising as we may have to work on situations and environments which would otherwise be impossible in the normal process. One way of overcoming this is through improvisation. Improvising helps kids understand that they are able to make things up from various elements and components that are provided to them. This way, they are able to learn that they are musical in this aspect. Music is made from different elements that could be in existence or that could be made from scratch. This means that the technical skills that are required to play the various musical instruments and the traditions that are attached to these instruments should be used as tools to improvise. They should not be used as obstacles that will hinder the performance of music. This is shown by the performance that was undertaken while in the concert. Chan (4) has taken the objective of the program to bring out a social meaning to improvisation. He argues that there should be social tolerance and openness in the way we live in the society. This is a culture that is got from the high culture to one that is popular. This is achieved by amalgamation of the various elements.
All these have been taken from the experience and the concert that I attended a month ago. The experience that I obtained from the concert is still fresh in my mind because of the new experiences that I went through. The concert took place at the New England’s Conservatory’s Jordan Hall that is found in Boston. The title of the concert is From Third Stream to Contemporary Improvisation. There was a change in the experience and the normal traditional performances of classical music halls. Departing from the traditional performances of classical performances, there was a difference as there was a mixture of performance. There was a change of events and how the various music elements were brought up. The improvisation of the ancient music with a touch of the modern era was refreshing in the concern. The music cut across the various periods of time. This was evident even from the name of the concert. The musicians brought together the sense of freedom in the way they undertook the performance such that they were able to perform with freedom without the need to be confined to the set rules. In other performances that have been undertaken in the past, musicians have been confined to following the rules that have been laid down. This was not the case and the musicians were able to cope with the new culture where they were able to improvise their singing and sing in the style that they like and are comfortable performing.
The event took place in the NEC department of contemporary improvisation. The design of the concert was that it was divided into two parts which had a total of 15 pieces. The piece that was performed was that of Third Stream which was performed in historical and current status. The improvisation of the ancient music with a touch of the modern era was refreshing in the concern. The music cut across the various periods of time. This was evident even from the name of the concert. The musicians brought together the sense of freedom in the way they undertook the performance such that they were able to perform with freedom without the need to be confined to the set rules. In other performances that have been undertaken in the past, musicians have been confined to following the rules that have been laid down. The various musical styles were founded with the founding of Third Stream Department in 1972. In the concert, the first song that we listened to is that of The Ragtime Dance which was done by Scott Jopline in the year of 1902 when it was first published. The original piece was done without many instruments other than a piano. This was improvised so that there was now the use of trumpet, violin and the piano. This made it to have modern touch. The music was active when played with a violin in the beginning. The rhythm was strong. The use of the violin in the beginning presented a clear and bright song. This was now ensemble and had a better ending when other instruments were added to the end part of the song. The role of the three classical instruments was clear. These three instruments brought together tone of quality and musicality in the way they came together to have a good quality of modern music away from ancient and was more of contemporary combination.
After the song Ragtime, we also got a chance to listen to music that was part of Third Stream that was titled Text Piece which was done by Nicodemou. This song was done with some members of the band doing without any musical instruments. The music was notably chaotic and with a lot of noise. There was no order in the performance of the song. The actual process of the song was that it was more of talking in four voices which were different. Most of the audience thought that there was no longer anything that could be defined to be music apart from noises which was made by the four voices. There was no order or any form of organization. There was no order of communication as each and everyone in the team seemed to be talking about a different subject thus looking as if they were talking to themselves. The words were uttered for some time and then there was the introduction of the song part by Abigale Reisman, Rachel Paintchand and Andria Nicodemou; the music part was started by the playing of violin and vibraphone. It was hard to understand the whole piece. Most of the audience thought that there was no meaning and there was no intention of the piece. It was as if the whole piece did not have a role in the audience. It was as if the whole piece was to have a new experience with the new audience. The new experience meant that the way they talked and the way they conversed and the thoughts that they had is the same way with which they played the instruments. This is what the main theme and meaning of The Third Stream and Contemporary Improvisation, where the band members make use of the same language, and music but they each have different voices. This was something that was totally different in me and in the experience that I have ever had. This was something new in my life. It brought a new way of music where improvisation of the language and music so that one theme and aspect is achieved.
Chan, Charity. The teaching of contemporary improvisation. 2011. 27 March 2013
Natanson, Martin. Literature, philosophy, and the social sciences. The Hague: Martin Nijhoff, 1968.