12/29/09: Untitled

Well, apparently on my last improvisation of 2009 I finally ran out of ideas or the energy to produce a title. I see in my notes from that time that I come down with a bad cold, so that probably explains it. Still, you’d think, that I could give it the old college try, just to end the year on, if not a positive note, at least a consistent note—some title, any title would do, but no.

Speaking of endings, someone once asked me (it was probably me…I do spend a lot of time alone in my line work) how I know when I’ve reached the end of these little improvs. It’s a good question, because unlike prepared composition, you lack the benefit of taking your time to balance out all of the various elements of the unfolding drama and then, hopefully, arrive at an organically fitting conclusion. One possible solution would be to improvise within preset forms—like song forms, sonata allegro, rondo, etc. As While certain forms do sometimes suggest themselves as I work through these pieces, I don’t know what they’ll be going in. And I  don’t really want to know. It wouldn’t be a diary if I knew; I am recording my musical thoughts as they happen. They are, in the end, free improvisations. This doesn’t mean that there is no inherent structure but that the content and form are being built simultaneously in real-time.

All of which leads to what I fear will be a rather dissatisfying answer to the question of how I know when I’ve reached the end. The truth is that I don’t know.

I just stop.

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