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Exploring the nature and practice of free musical improvisation as a duo in zoom break out rooms.

Published in Centrifuge Concerts
Saturday, 27 February 2021 21:56

The Blank Canvas Septet - Manchester UK March 2021

Project Overview

The Blank Canvas Septet - Manchester will play free improvisation in music using `System 5050`. A full description of System 5050 is available via a link displayed lower down.

The phrase `septet` is a label, not a numerical description, the ensemble may feature between 7-16 players. The `Septet` is not linked to the Blank Canvas Octet. the Octet is a different ensemble.

The target number is a contact list of 21 names, this large number is required due to the complexity and density of modern lifestyles, to have 7 people present in a room on an agreed day, we need an extended, starting list of 21

Phil Morton proposition is that: System 50:50 is the go to tool for developing free improvisation in larger numbers, say over 7 improvisers, and this disposes with the need of other external referntial strategies such as: conduction, graphic scores, game strategies, contemporary composition techniques. More on that another time.

Time lines and history: The Septet , there have been nine rehearsals in Blue Print studios. The project was set to move to Peer hat in March 2020 with a view to more regular sessions - weekly being the target -when COVID-19 arrived to put a stop to those plans.

Zoom - Online sessions: The creative alternative

Phil Morton, the curator of the sessions, suggests it will longer rather than sooner till we can meet in The Peer Hat, there may not be a post COVID-19 lifestyle, Whilst we await developments the Blank Canvas Septet will be online using the web application zoom. Please be aware that another ensemble `The Blank Canvas Octet` has sbeen meeting since May every week on zoom: the Octet is a rewarding and successful project.

Criteria for participation.

All levels of ability and experience are welcome.

Recruitment and location.

Due to the fact that improvisers from other countries can and will participate in The Blank Canvas Septet when it is `online` there may need to be a policy to maintain the `Manchetser:UK` attribute of the description.

When? the schedule

Mondays 19.00 GMT, on the following dates, interested? complete the form below, in the name of event / project box please enter Blank Canvas Septet

  • 01.03.2021
  • 08.03.2021
  • 15.03.2021
  • 22.03.2021
  • 29.03.2021

Reviews and project development

There will reviews every six weeks. The `review` and zoom meeting is an opportunity to share our thinking about the `The Septet` and to plan a future.

What is System 50:50?

a detailed summary is here: CLICK THIS LINK

What happens next:

To express an interest:in the Blank Canvas Septet - Manchester:UK please complete the form below
or Contact Phil Morton: philmorton@improvisersnetwork.co.uk :
UK: mobile 07999518582

What people say about system 50;50

System 50/50 works well - it’s a really good way to get a group to play effectively without egos , virtuosity , and shyness getting in the way. It is democratic, inclusive. coherent, leaderless, focused, there is room to think and time to listen, choices. It is less competitive more cooperative. Ends well. Simon Ross (Macclesfield), Blank Canvas  - Liverpool

On system 50:50 “Definitely something with LOADS of possibilities - the reaction in the car driving back was unbelievably positive - no one could remember playing in a large ensemble that was so "open". The openness allowed me to play quietly, which meant the dynamics were incredible for an improvising large ensemble.” - Charlie Collins Sheffield

It seems to me that any attempt to restrict what free improvisers play, presents a threat to the core nature of their music. Generally, 'To play or not play' is about as far as any predetermination can productively go, the player retaining (almost!) complete formal agency regarding when and what(s)he decides to play - Dan Goren Oxford Improvisers

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Workshops & open sessions: UK listings