New Article: Composing for Improvisers: Negotiating the Issue of Individual Voice

HONK! Fest 2010: Parade from Davis Square to Harvard Square, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, October 10, 2010 | © Courtesy of Chris Devers/Flickr.
HONK! Fest 2010: Parade from Davis Square to Harvard Square, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, October 10, 2010 | © Courtesy of Chris Devers/Flickr.

Anton Hunter

Published Online: 2018-09-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0019.

Abstract

This paper addresses one aspect of my Practice as Research project exploring composing for large groups of improvising musicians. It looks at how my practice evolved as a result of contemplating the nature of solo improvisation, together with Garry L. Hagberg’s writings around “Collective Intention.” I discuss a new work for octet that started with small-group improvisations, initially totally freely and then later using thematic material inspired and informed by the initial sessions. By basing the finished compositions on improvisations this way, I aim to bring the creative voice of the individuals into final performance. Not just by employing the compositional techniques of the likes of Graham Collier, John Zorn, Anthony Braxton and many others who allow room for realtime improvised contributions in performance, but by weaving the unique voices of the musicians into the written material as well. In this way, I am challenging the stereotype of a lone composer working away from the ensemble, which the contemporary big band composer often fits.


Featured Image Credits: HONK! Fest 2010: Parade from Davis Square to Harvard Square, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, October 10, 2010 | © Courtesy of Chris Devers/Flickr.


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