Saturday, October 9, 2010

Improvisation and Form Part 4

When a group of improvisers are aware of what is happening in the course of an improvisation, are able to remember it, and can reproduce and refer to it,  it greatly increases the possibility of spontaneous group improvisation of longer and more diverse forms.  

But even then, formal development and compositional improvising won’t happen unless the people in the group want to explore that aspect of group improvisation.  In order for an improvisational group to naturally and fluidly compose together in this way they must be willing to allow awareness of formal elements to become a part of their group improvisation. 

The group must also develop an individual and group awareness of the possibilities for improvising in this way.  Spontaneous group composition requires an constant awareness of the possibility of using the ideas and materials from earlier parts of the improvisation, and the willingness to choose to let go of any individual idea and embrace these possibilities when they occur.

There are many ways to think about and develop longer forms and each group will develop a different set of possibilities based on their interests.  Try as many different forms and approaches to musical form and development as you can imagine! The more possibilities your group has experienced, the more possibilities will be available to you in the course of an improvisation.  There are lots of ways to go about this, but the simplest is to say: “This improvisation will have (X) form.” and then try to do it.  See how it happens (or doesn’t happen), then try again.

All improvisation has form, whether you pay attention to that form or not.  If you do pay attention, it can open up a whole new world of group improvisational possibilities.