Contemporary Perspectives


Working with all the new pieces and being in dialogue with the perspectives of the composers, opened up the possibilities for the embodiment and exploration of individual folk musical features. Elements such as micro variation, macro pulses, asymmetrical rhythmics, imitation, hushed expression and way of playing, were taken out of their folk musical situation, moved, explored and opened in new juxtapositions. 

Three different processes for making new works addressed different tension fields and meeting points of folk musical and art musical aesthetics and attitudes, and different ways of using the piano in relation to them. My individual way of playing, my playing self, was taken into the works in different ways. My slått playing was a basis for the composition of  Nations, that I recognized and built upon in the performances. The experiments with ornaments, imitation and rhythm within my playing, were the building stones of the experimental work Abstraction in Folk ArtThe way I listened to the old voices, played and created together with them, was part of the formation of the musical result of Avstandsriss.

Looking back to Hayden and Windsor’s concepts on relations between performer and composerthe way we worked in Nationswas mostly a hierarchical, instructive process, using their categorizations. The pre-compositional conversations and the post-compositional discussions of interpretation, were the collaborative parts of the process. Particular for Nations, was that as a performer I had a place in the creative proto material: my performer’s voice was built into the work, so to speak. The process with Det abstrakte i folkekunsten was, according to Hayden and Windsor’s concepts, an interactive process that was hierarchically structured in its decision making, but I was also continually part of tasks during the main composition process. Avstandsriss was made as a tracery collaboration and falls into the third category, a collaborative process, where both composer and performer picked out material that was processed, with solutions tested and discussed in workshops.

The detached elements and juxtapositions of Det abstrakte i folkekunsten and the creative work of Avstandsriss were fruitful as studies for me in searching further into folk musical elements in my playing, from different angles and distances. During this work, I noticed that I started listening in a different way, because the view of my own performing role and possibilities had changed as well. 

Simultanously, an incentive emerged for me. I was close to the composers’ processes of working out their answers to the challenge of what folk music inspiration at the piano might be, and experienced their personal and many-faceted answers. I had influence on the formation of these works, but I realized that I had a wish to come up with such an answer myself, going beyond interpretation. What kind of music might folk musical inspiration at the piano possibly be - to me?  Most importantly, this question led to the issues I discuss in the chapter Slåttepiano: Folk Music on the Pianobut first, at the same time as I worked with contemporary music, I also worked with the folk musical interpretation of existing piano music.