Sunday, September 12, 2010

More on Improv

In an example of what Jung called synchronicity, after publishing the previous post I came across this video. On the Apollonian to Dionysian spectrum, Michael Hedges was over on the Dionysian side with a little shamanism thrown in. Before he died way too early in a car crash, he was making music like nobody else. It had to do with his wonderful connection with audiences, his using custom made guitars, tunings that made the guitar sound like some kind of other instrument, and a real familiarity of what was going on in the "classical" music world, having formally studied composition.

But what really set him apart for me was the improvisational feel his work has. He sounds like he could improvise for hours and not be boring, and that's the point of this post. My sense of his playing of this Bach piece is that it's informed by his improvisational skill. I think most people would put Bach more over on the Apollonian side of things, that his works are beautifully crafted works of art, nearly mathematical in structure. Hedges makes this piece sound like he's making it up as he goes along, expressing his feelings of the moment, using technique and a feel for the sound of his instrument that has to have come from his time put in improvising. 

On a music therapy note, his playing a calming piece at the end of a long concert is a wonderful example of using music to help people transition from one feeling/mental state to another.

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