The question, when performing

The question, when performing, is:

“Am I putting up with anything right now? Is there something that I’m unhappy with that I haven’t addressed?”

For example, awkward posture, which looks uncomfortable, will make the audience uncomfortable too, because it shows the performer to be someone who is putting up with something rather than doing something about it. We want to see someone who is at peace, from head to toe.

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9 Responses to The question, when performing

  1. Lena says:

    I have seen several saxophone players who look very awkward when playing, for example, putting the horn very low and bending down to it, like Joe Henderson, or like David Sanborn, putting it very high and tilting the head up as much as possible. We have seen Keith Jarrett jumping up and down or Bill Evans almost reaching the keys with his nose. It all looks very awkward, but obviously these musicians feel quite comfortable in these awkward positions. So did you mean the posture that FEELS uncomfortable to the player himself rather that the posture that looks uncomfortable? I think it is the player’s feeling that he is transmitting, not so much how it looks. :))

    • dantepfer says:

      Great clarification, Lena. That’s what I was trying to express: is there something that feels, to the audience, like the performer hasn’t addressed? I.e. does the performer look uncomfortable, like he or she is putting up with something rather than making it right? I’ve never felt like Keith looked uncomfortable — the way he uses his body is what feels right to him. And same with Joe Henderson, of course. But there are other artists, usually less good ones, where you just can tell that they are uncomfortable, and it’s uncomfortable to witness that. And this goes for note choices, too — when a performer plays a note they didn’t intend, but pretends like they did, that feels uncomfortable to the audience, like something is being faked. My point here is that, as performers, we need to have done quite a bit of introspection before we get on stage, so that we’ve resolved as many of our issues as possible and are at peace with ourselves. Otherwise it’s a drag for the audience.

  2. Paul de Rooij says:

    Hi Dan; (1) does your interaction software attempt to maintain the output within a fractal number range? (For some reason, most people like a relatively narrow range). Mandelbrot has examples for this with images, but other articles deal with music. Some iterated polynomials can generate music within a fractal number range — and it is pleasant to listen to.

    And (2) what software tools do you use?
    Keep up good work

    • dantepfer says:

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for the questions! For Natural Machines, the output my programs produce is a direct reflection of the input that I gave it on the piano. So whatever fractal qualities my improvising may have, they should be reflected in the output as well. For the generative music I’ve written, the only one that explicitly uses fractals is Fractal Tree, on the Natural Machines album, and all I did was try to faithfully translate the tree fractal into music; I wasn’t particularly trying to keep the fractal number range small, just trying to find ways to make it sound good while staying faithful to the data.

      Software tools: SuperCollider for music stuff. Processing for the visualizations. Unity (C#) for the new VR element I’ve added to the project.


  3. Harris Flug says:

    What do you think of conlon Nacarrows player piano pieces and frank zappas synclavier pieces(I knew them both)

    • dantepfer says:

      Huge fan of Conlon Nancarrow, and his music is definitely an influence on me. I haven’t checked out Zappa’s synclavier pieces but should…

  4. Stanley Ritchie says:

    I’m only now aware of what you’ve done with the Goldbergs — thank you! What a brilliant idea! Have you ever thought of doing this with one of the fugues for violin or the Ciaccona?

    • dantepfer says:

      Do you mean the #BachUpsideDown project? Or my Goldberg Variations / Variations? For the former, I do intend to cover more of Bach’s work. Definitely the Inventions as soon as I finish the Goldbergs…

  5. Frank Gyure says:

    Just found the blog. Thank you,DT. IMHO,the artist/performer should not think about this 99% of the time. The artist/performer should just do what they feel is right. There are plenty of examples of idiosyncratic visual performances that are completely disconnected from the audio-only perspective

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