Emerging Musical Language
During the course of this dialogue, an interpersonal musical language began to emerge that appeared to be specific to this particular combination of people. If I was to play in duo format with another berimbau player, for example, the language would no doubt be very different. The long previous history of collaboration in various contexts between Adriano and I plays a crucial role here. Another contributing factor can be observed in Adriano’s unique approach to the berimbau, which has been formed over many years of developing his own artistic identity. Over a period of time, using improvisation as a method, specific elements began to take shape as idiosyncratic characteristics of this language, including particular techniques, rhythmic approaches, melodic and harmonic exploration, texture and timbre.
I use the word improvisation here to describe the method used to search for this emerging language. In practical terms, this at times involved one of us simply beginning to play, to see how the other would react and respond to a given musical idea. This technique was bounced back and forth with the roles of initiating and responding constantly interchanging. Core musical ideas were discovered during this process. It can be noted here that verbal language had not been used in the musical / creative process up until this point, however, when ideas were discovered that we liked, we then began discussing them as a way to remember and refine the ideas. It can also be noted that many musical ideas came and went, falling by the wayside in the process.
The outcome of this process was a handful of distilled musical ideas, which we verbally agreed on keeping. The first version of the resulting piece of music was performed live as part of my 2nd doctoral concert, Resonance 2, June 2017 (see video example, figure 3.0). The material was partly structured and partly improvised in this performance, whereby we had known material to work with and a skeleton structure, alongside unknown elements that emerged in the moment. This video serves as documentation of a live artistic research process, where the musicians can be heard to discover and explore both known and unknown elements together in real time.
In contrast, the studio recording heard at the top of this page was completely improvised from the graphic score (see figure 1.13). Listening back to this recording, I can hear aspects of the language that had been created during the time leading up to the recording, as well as new elements and musical ideas that arose spontaneously in the moment. On reflection, the discovery of these new musical ideas in the studio was clearly the result of a much longer process of exploration, which led to uncovering something new in the moment.
The following discussion between Adriano and myself came about spontaneously as part of the rehearsal process and became an important part of the creation of the music.