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Yazı: Cornelius Cardew, “Virtues That a Musician Can Develop”

Güncelleme tarihi: 12 Nis 2020

Uygun bir zamanda çevirmek üzere şurada dursun… “Towards an Ethic of Improvisation”dan alıntıdır:

Virtues that a musician can develop 1. Simplicity Where everything becomes simple is the most desirable place to be. But, like Wittgenstein and his ‘harmless contradiction’, you have to remember how you got there. The simplicity must contain the memory of how hard it was to achieve. (The relevant Wittgenstein quotation is from the posthumously published ‘Remarks on theFoundations of Mathematics’: “The pernicious thing is not, to produce a contradiction in the region where neither the consistent nor the contradictory proposition has any kind of work to do; no, what is pernicious is: not to know how one reached the place where contradiction no longer does any harm”.) In 1957 when I left The Royal Academy of Music in London complex compositional techniques were considered indispensable. I acquired some -and still carry them around like an infection that I am perpetually desirous of curing. Sometimes the temptation occurs to me that if I were to infect my students with it I would at last be free of it myself. 2. Integrity What we do in the actual event is important -not only what we have in mind. Often what we do is what tells us what we have in mind. The difference between making the sound and being the sound. The professional musician makes the sounds (in full knowledge of them as they are external to him);AMM is their sounds (as ignorant of them as one is about one’s own nature). 3. Selflessness To do something constructive you have to look beyond yourself. The entire world is your sphere if your vision can encompass it. Self-expression lapses too easily into mere documentation -‘I record that this is how I feel’. You should not be concerned with yourself beyond arranging a mode of life that makes it possible to remain on the line, balanced. Then you can work, look out beyond yourself. Firm foundations make it possible to leave the ground. 4. Forbearance Improvising in a group you have to accept not only the frailties of your fellow musicians, but also your own. Overcoming your instinctual revulsion against whatever is out of tune (in the broadest sense). 5. Preparedness for no matter what eventuality (Cage’s phrase) or simply Awakeness. I can best illustrate this with a special case of clairvoyant prediction. The trouble with clairvoyant prediction is that you can be absolutely convinced that one of two alternatives is going to happen, and then suddenly you are equally convinced of the other. In time this oscillation accelerates until the two states merge in a blur. Then all you can say is: I am convinced that either p or not-p, that either she will come or she won’t, or whatever the case is about. Of course there is an immense difference between simply being aware that something might or might not occur, and a clairvoyant conviction that it will or won’t occur. No practical difference but a great difference in feeling. A great intensity in your anticipation of this or that outcome. So it is with improvisation. “He who is ever looking for the breaking of a light he knows not whence about him, notes with a strange head fulness the faintest paleness of the sky” (Walter Pater). This constitutes awakeness.

6. Identification with nature Drifting through life: being driven through life; neither constitutes a true identification with nature. The best is to lead your life, and the same applies in improvising: like a yachtsman to utilise the interplay of natural forces andcurrents to steer a course. My attitude is that the musical and the real worlds are one. Musicality is a dimension of perfectly ordinary reality. The musician’s pursuit is to recognize the musical composition of the world (rather as Shelley does in Prometheus Unbound). All playing can be seen as an extension of singing; the voice and its extensions represent the musical dimension of men, women, children and animals. According to some authorities smoking is an extension of thumb sucking; perhaps the fear of cancer will eventually drive us back to thumb sucking. Possibly in an ideal future us animals will revert to singing, and leave wood, glass, metal, stone etc. to find their own voices, free of our torturings. (I have heard tell of devices that amplify to the point of audibility the sounds spontaneously occurring in natural materials). 7. Acceptance of Death From a certain point of view improvisation is the highest mode of musical activity, for it is based on the acceptance of music’s fatal weakness and essential and most beautiful characteristic -its transcience. The desire always to be right is an ignoble taskmaster, as is the desire for immortality.The performance of any vital action brings us closer to death; if it didn’t it would lack vitality. Life is a force to be used and if necessary used up. “Death is the virtue in us going to its destination” (Lieh Tzu).

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