[Performance problem – didn’t reach the end again]
AO I was nowhere near the end.
MG Neither was I.
CM No, neither was I. That’s ok though.
MG That was the first time we all got a gap.
KM I was kind of there so I was doing the second one down.
MG I was before the fourth circles.
[Performance problem – different tempos, different lengths]
KM I’ve got those blank bits so I was kind of, I could be at the end.
AO Oh I was a couple of sections before that but there was a gap.
MG I got to the first place where we’ve all got a gap and I thought that’s remarkable but then I just didn’t have the balls to come back in.
AO I was the same yeah, I was just about to lash back in.
MG And I’ve got tons of reels as well it’s a shame [joking].
AO I was going to come in with Dinky’s [Dinky Dorian’s is a well-known reel].
[Interpretation problem – Catriona read it like a piano score, not four parts. CM seems to pick and choose or opt in and out of score sections. Is this related to free improv experience with GIO?]
CM I tell you what I did though, I didn’t choose a line, I read it just like a whole thing.
MG Oh fair enough, like a piano score.
CM Yeah I just went along the four lines for the strathspey and then I just did the first line of the reel but I was intending to go the rest of the four lines.
AO I just picked a line again and . . .
MG I went for the top line.
AO I went for the second line.
KM Lateral that is.
LW Kev, how did you approach it?
[Kev and Aidan both took no. 2
Interpretation – Kev tuned to drop D because of D in line 2’s first box
Interpretation problem (symbols, need a key really or explanation)
Kev ignored some bits – opted in and out]
KM Eh, well, I kind of very loosely interpreted line two as the . . . well I had a D at the start so I tuned my bottom string to drop D, which is literal. But then I kind of was thinking about directions and I was thinking about the circles as being like, kind of, like in a long, like using a chord and holding that and then but then I was kind of . . . I was kind of skirting around a bit and ignoring bitsand I wasn’t going at any particular tempo at all. So, I wasn’t even picking bar measures or anything like that.
[Communication/listening was impaired by the score and visual concentration: Aidan and Kev didn’t realise they were playing the same part, I don’t think Aidan noticed that Kev had started the score rather than checking his tuning or similar, Aidan thought he was starting]
MG Did you count it quite literally? Yeah so did I.
AO And I kind of led with a D like a D chord thinking that if there’s going to be any interaction at least people will know I’m on the second line.
MG Ah, you see?
KM That’s why we were playing exactly the same chord.
AO We should get a band [Aidan and Kev are ex-bandmates].
[Interpretation problem (symbols again)]
AO And then eh, I don’t know, it’s kind of like to read the arrows as dynamics and then the circle as being more of a kind of rounded tune. Like a melodic line but then I got to the double arrows and I thought: ‘can’t be up and down at the same time’. So, I tried to be. Gave myself a headache.
AO And then I started thinking it looked a little bit like an anchor so I started playing a hornpipe.
KM The circle was a Mexican.
AO I wouldn’t mind trying that one again.
MG How did you interpret your arrows and circles?
[Reacted to the score depending on what the ensemble was doing, interpreted arrows as pitch and movement of music, and tried to hook in with other players at points]
CM Me? Well, I interpreted them as I felt like interpreting according to what was going on around, going on or sometimes I chose like maybe a little melodic thing and then transfer it down the harp but if there was something interesting going on I maybe chose to hook in with somebody and then do something that was still moving like this arrow.
CM What about you?
[Interpretation – Martin took the circles as the same kind of chord, right hand only]
MG All the circles were the same in that they were all [plays dissonant chord] but that was pretty random, but they were all consistent.
AO So, the circle.
MG But when it was an arrow I played down in terms of pitch and when it was up and down, I played up and down.
AO And the circle was [the dissonant] chord [just demonstrated]?
MG Yeah, the circle had no left hand but I don’t know why not but they were all the same.
[Interpretation – tempo]
AO And how did you feel if there was a kind of tempo set between Kev and I?
[Performance assumption based on common knowledge]
MG I assumed there had to be a tempo, I took that strathspey and reel as like . . .
AO It had to be kind of metered.
MG Yeah. I kind of assumed that we would all play it that way. It would be fucking hard not to apart from anything else.
KM . . . I mean I kind of got into little riffs at times where it kind of went into some sort of tempo but.
[Interpretation (symbols – question mark)]
MG Did anyone get to a question mark?
KM I got to a question mark.
MG And what did you choose?
KM I just wondered.
MG You sat and thought about something.
[Interpretation – empty boxes]
CM What about the empty spaces, the empty boxes?
AO I sat out.
MG Yeah, I did.
AO But that’s . . .
. . .
CM What did you play?
[Kev played empty boxes as pauses, not silences]
KM Eh, I kind of used them as sort of like . . . some of them I used as like pauses where I would just hold a thing for a bit, but then because I wasn’t really going at any sort of tempo it was kind of . . .
[Interpretation (comparison to jam session, different roles played by musicians, leader to follow, etc.)]
AO I was kind of thinking of it like we were having a kind of session like a jam and therefore there was a section where, you know when someone’s playing a tune you don’t really know where you could kind of jam along a wee bit but not really take the melody.
KM I guess the thing is because we didn’t . . . because it’s not discussed, any of these are valid. Is that the way you wanted it to be?
. . .
. . .
[discuss choices in style and approach in Score II, related to identity in different contexts]
MG I know what you mean though because I’m going to try and do an impression of a contemporary free musician. You know what I mean?
MG And that is unnatural.
LW Well what I’m interested in is traditional musicians improvising and sounding like themselves with traditional ornaments and phrasing.
AO So, what you were doing in the first take, you felt unnatural? [to Kevin]
MG I’m going to try and be Simon [Thoumire, concertina player mentioned in section 2. MEANING] but an octave lower.
AO I’ve heard you, I don’t think that’s unnatural to you, I’ve heard you do that lots of times in front of public people.
MG I think what I mean specifically is dissonance, you know [plays some], something that comes out when you do these sorts of things that isn’t part of traditional music.
KM Yeah, whereas I would say that free improvisation doesn’t and in no way has to be dissonant. I think it can be tonal.
AO Aye absolutely.
KM But it’s just a difference between improvising with . . . I mean total free tonality improvisation is one thing but I think we can improvise within a . . .
[Martin is drawn to dissonance when there’s less structure to follow, but also uses it in his regular concert set with band Lau]
MG Yeah but it’s just something that I personally feel I veer towards in anything that isn’t structured harmonically.
KM But I mean in the stuff that you do with Lau [band www.lau-music.co.uk], sometimes you go off and you do . . .
MG That’s mistakes.
. . .
LW So, will we move on to the second one?
. . .
[Discuss Score II]
LW So, this one. I didn’t give you a key [for symbols]. The D, you can choose to ignore it if you like but I thought that would give you a [musical] key to play in.
LW It’s up to you guys.
MG I took it specifically to mean not being D.
MG Because otherwise everyone would do it, know what I mean?
AO Love when I have a session with you, he’s in E and F
LW And, eh, you miscounted the blocks [boxes] – there’s eight and then sixteen. So, its meant to be a strathspey and
AO one, two, three, four, five, . . . sixteen!
AO Frick! So, it is.
LW Yeah and so it’s like a timeline but there’re no tempos, it’s up to you guys.
MG So you expect, it’s not obvious for me. Do you expect eight bars of strathspey?
[Planning length of boxes and thinking in terms of tunes]
LW Or maybe each block [box] is two bars or . . .
MG Do you expect once through a strathspey and twice through a reel?
AO I was imagining like a four-bar, twice round a tune?
MG Yeah that’s what I was thinking – four times, well not four times.
AO So it would be like . . .
MG We all stopped here anyway.
AO So it’s like, I imagined it twice round a strathspey.
MG Twice through a strathspey.
AO Just one strathspey and then . . .
MG Four times round a reel.
AO Or two reels.
LW Yeah, well I’m not gonna disagree with that.
[Lori explains what symbols mean.]
LW So, it’s parts. So, you would pick one and again it’s communication so the arrows mean that you’re listening to that other player and playing along with them.
MG Oh, I see.
KM Is the third . . . ?
[laughing] ‘Aw’ [‘pennies dropping’]
[Questions about symbols, etc.]
MG I thought that was dynamics!
[Aidan plays a phrase from The Trumpet Hornpipe, comedic]
KM So does that mean 2 and 4 are together and . . .
LW Yes, so if you’ve got nothing in your box you’re not playing and the circle is everybody all together with the group
[Unintentional misdirection: In this workshop I wrongly interpreted the circle as playing together, when you can see from the sketch in 4. MAKING that I had originally intended it to represent solo playing. This misdirection seemed to be understood by the performers and likely influenced Score II, takes 2, 3, and 4 towards more cohesive, ensemble playing. Take 1 occurred before the misdirection was given. I chose to reinstate the circle as solo playing in the ‘final’ score, providing a key on the score.]
LW You’re meant to try and come together and play something that sounds like a strathspey [very loosely] that might be the same and when it’s both ways it means that you’re . . . like if you were 2 Martin . . . you would be playing with Aidan and Kev but not paying any attention to Catriona.
MG Now you’ve said that . . . I hadn’t understood that. I thought the arrows . . . okay.
KM If you’re number 4 and you’re going both ways, are you going to 1 and 3?
AO To 1.
LW Yeah, and the question marks are kind of . . .
AO Danger zones.
LW Free cards.
CM What’s that? So the arrows . . .
LW You choose which one to do.
CM The arrows . . . you’re playing with the person that the arrow, the number that it’s pointing to, the person beside you. Right ok.
[Lori explains some of the inspiration and the strathspey to reel change etc.]
LW And in my mind when I wrote this, I had that, this is kind of, I suppose they’re all sort of slightly inspired by session playing. But not necessarily pub session playing except the third one [score III], which obviously does have connotations. But it’s that moment when you burst out of a strathspey into a reel and that kind of massive boost of energy that happens when everyone fires into the reel.
LW I was thinking it would be great if I could get that in the piece.
AO Right. So . . .
LW Which is why everybody’s . . . it’s really busy at that point because obviously communication’s really important so you all go into the reel, ‘bang’.
[Kev decides they need to decide tempo and the length of each measure/box]
KM Know what I’m thinking? It’s a tempo thing then and then we need to decide whether each section is one or two bars or . . . Do we?
LW As long as you’re all playing with the same idea in mind then . . .
MG Well yeah what if we say, twice through a strathspey and two times through two different reels?
LW So, four blocks [boxes] is the strathspey so you’ve got . . .
CM What does that one count as like? Four bars per box?
MG & LW Yeah.
CM Right and same with the reel.
MG Yeah but or half that or double that or whatever.
[Catriona compares the piece more literally to listening habits in a session.]
CM And you know because the arrows are saying communicate with that person but if you’re playing in a session you’re always never really playing, you’re always for the common goal, so in lines 1 and 2 say deliberately play, do we then not deliberately?
MG There’s no one else playing at that point is there? So, they just need to play with each other.
[Aidan comments on session listening/interaction
Kev suggests it might be because of the tune that they are locked into approximately the same thing]
AO But even in a session you’ll lock into, you know you can lock in to.
KM Yeah but the difference with a session is that you have a common theme which everybody locks into and that I think is the tune.
KM Whereas this . . .
AO There’s no tune.
LW We’re not trying to recreate a session in this.
MG No, no but there’s a certain . . .
LW It was just slightly inspired by that.
MG . . . feeling between strathspey and reel yeah.
LW You can think of it as a bit of a fucked up session if you like.
KM A really, really, really drunk session.
LW In an alternative universe.
[Decide on pulse and tempo]
AO Okay so, what number and what’s the pulse then if its four bars: 1 2 3 4 or a-1 2 3 4, 2 2 3 4? The second one? The faster pulse?
MG I dunno I would have the slower strathspey just for the . . ., but that’s just, that’s aesthetic. That’s not . . .
AO A slower strathspey.
MG Yeah than a reel.
AO Yeah okay.
MG I don’t know.
KM So, shall we go numbers? Consecutively again then?
LW Feel free to mark on the page by the way, scribble away if you want.
LW Feel free to mark on the page.
MG Thank you.
CM What was it 1, 2, 3, 4 (numbering people).
AO Or whatever is that . . .
MG yeah that’s cool.
. . .
1 – KM
2 – MG
3 – AO
4 – CM
LW So . . .
CM Four bars per box.
MG Kev will count because he’s 1.
[Count in? No, Martin just start]
KM I’ll count and then not play at the start.
MG Oh right, it’s just me, cool. Maybe it doesn’t matter then.
[PLAY SCORE II – take 2]