In this post, I am going to talk about my workshop on sound art at University of Tehran for music students.
Here is the first part of my workshop. I talked about the field of sound art and its branches. There were so many interesting examples like sound sculpture. Then I talked about our rehearsals with Keith Rowe at LCC.
This is the second part of workshop and I practiced with students in many variations according to what I learned from Keith Rowe. Here I asked some volunteer music students to do the final practice. In this section, volunteers are asked to make sustained tones for four times. Each start has to be all together and the dynamics vary in each start. The first sustain tones have to be in pianissimo; the second one in mezzo-forte; the third one in forte; and the last one in piano. In addition, no one had the freedom to change the tone structure during playing a sustained tone.
It introduces the tonic and dominant of the scale at first so the student learns to focus more on these sounds while playing and also about the fundamental reasons of this practice. Then it starts to fill the interval between the tonic and dominant.
It is an interesting method because it is not only offering scales of 8 notes coming up and down, but also scales in shape of melodies with different rhythmic variations.
It also includes parts for student to improvise in the tonality!
I am so happy that I found this method at Schotts music store and it will give a lot of joy to my students in Iran :)
I used to work with pure data. Programming with pure data has a wide range of abilities to get to any artistic ideas, but it is necessary to learn its programming language. As a musician it is too hard to learn how to use Pure Data, but Mas MSP made those abilities in a more user friendly way.
For having an object in Pd I had to insert some codes in order to make them because no object is ready there. So, it could not be possible to make a patch without the knowledge of those codes. Max MSP gives the opportunity to have shortcuts of objects which has made its using so easier and the objects are more useful rather than Pd. Banger is one of my favorite objects which I found in Max.
Max workshop at LCC was one of my favorite workshops because introduced Max to me. However, this software is really expensive to purchase.
The BEST violin teaching method I have ever seen!!!
Learning ensemble, harmony, improvisation, techniques, melody, and
enjoyable scales for absolute beginner students, ALL at the same time
with Hugo Seling's method.
I don't need
to make my beginner students confused with different lessons from
various books which causes playing violin even harder to them. They are
playing scale with me but they are feeling playing a serious part of an
The artist wants something with a specific descriptions, both in a whole and details, then becomes able to present it as exactly what it was in one hundred percent and with no deficiency in details. Having no deficiency in transfer the idea from mind to something real is what I call Art. There is no limitation for the plan _ traditional or avant-garde, having formal structure or no form, classic or commercial_ but the result has to be exactly the same as the plan.Therefore, an artist must know about each detail of his/her plan.
According to this idea, there will be no right to judge about the main idea. Some critics believe that ideas without any philosophies are worthless, they are worthless if they are imitation of another one, and so on.
I believe that the most important part of an art production process is the idea so any limitation or pressure can be extremely dangerous for an artist. An artist has to feel a complete freedom of making idea to become able to discover his/her unconsciousness. Some composition teachers think that they are helping their students by giving advices about what to do or what not to do, but the fact is that it only destroys their artistic characters. The only help should be in a way to waken up their unconsciousness!
Everything you need as an artist is in your unconsciousness!
There are many composition students here work hard on learning techniques like harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, form studies, while they are still under the huge pressure of fights for success in art.
There is NO need to fight for success in art!
Just be honest with inside of yourself, egoist toward outside of yourself,
and responsible for your art.
There is no need to be worried about making something new when your personality defines your love in art! None of two finger prints are the same, and none of two art creatures can be the same. Therefore, there is no need to try for making a new one, it is itself new!
Focus on what you want through smallest details!
There will be probably some problems during the production process related to the lack of some techniques. Here is the place of a good teacher to help the student learning the required technique.
As long as you are controlling every aspects of your creation, this is a VALUABLE piece of art.
My valuable memory:
"Nasim, this is your piece for a soprano and piano accompaniment. Could it be for a piano and soprano accompaniment?" Klaus Lang, 2013, Tehran
Who is an artist? How can we distinguish between a valuable art work and just a combination of accidental issues? Does it make sense to say a good work or a bad work? What is the best way of criticizing? Is it necessary for an artist to be avant-garde? What about traditional classical artists?...
These questions are very familiar among Iranian artists. The main problem we had during our music composition study courses was how to overcome huge amount of well-known artists and introduce our unique musical language. We did not even know how to be unique and special. I see that many music composition students are dealing with hard pressure and can not even find any solution for that. Some teachers insist on traditional classical compositions and consider avant-garde musics as somethings out of artistic values, while there are also teachers who only focus on being avant-garde for the reason of nowadays life and contemporary music.
There comes a question about the connection between time and artist. What is the definition of these words, traditional,and modern?
I believe that we can be modern and traditional at the same time. We can be modern according to our past history and we can be traditional according to our future. Therefore, these are not proper measurement for artistic criticizing. Primitive humans in the cages had been creating something new and modern to their age. Therefore, being avant-garde or traditional are the definitions which has been made after creations for categorizing our studies.
So what should we follow to become a successful artist? Is it necessary to create something completely new? Does it mean that we can not be a successful artist if we have not created something completely new? I have read about many successful composers who are composing music without any attention to be specifically different... So, What is the truth?
As a music composition graduate, I believe that it is extremely unfair to confuse a composition student about his or her success by focusing on the areas which only relates to time. What I have concluded by studying many scores of various successful composers from all around the world, is a self-freedom of being criticized.
In fact, the problem we are dealing is forgetting the main definition of art but focusing on some confusing details instead.
I hope this blog can do some helps for our young art students.
Next part I am going to talk about the definition of valuable art and artist.
I was thinking all these days about how to describe what I learned about prepared violin and its philosophy. The main question was to find the idea which has concluded to prepared instruments. I was dealing with finding a clear answer to these questions...
It happened finally last night and I found that there is an approach of electronic music returning to acoustic materials.
It is really interesting that John Cage introduced Prepared Piano which caused the main idea to invent synthesizer, and then in following, pure electronic music with computers. And what is happening now is a new approach and need of electronic music's structure with usage of acoustic materials.
Having this philosophy, I think there is no need now to describe any more details about prepared instruments, how to make them, what to do with and its goals. In fact, I believe that even it can cause interested artists to feel limited by hearing more details about it.
The main important idea is the reflection of electronic music in acoustic instruments/materials.
However, there are some former experiences which now can be found in details as Extended Techniques of each one of instruments. I do not want to give you any aspects in order to keep myself away from limiting your creativity, but just to give you a glance about prepared violin, I can give you an example of putting some objects like a small screw among the strings between the finger-board and sound-post then stroking bow on the spring.
It is possible to put any other material between or over the strings and experiment the sound.
I will talk about this area more soon again. Please stay in touch :)
During four days of rehearsals under supervision by Keith Rowe, there were many musical aspects which all opened various musical views to me.
As a classical violinist, I had never been dealing with playing in an ensemble of laptops! while I had only 4 days to get ready for improvising with them! I had no idea about how to do it! My mind was busy with lots of questions...
Keith came to the practice room and gave some keys then left.
1. Just try to feel the room.
2. Listen to all details of sounds are surrounding you.
3. It's better to play NOTHING rather than playing so many things but mean NOTHING.
4. Now I give you only 1 minute to play only 1 single tone.
It was the most challenging moment because we had just met each other. The first one minute practice passed mostly in silence but only with few tones.
5. Now play only 2 single tones in 1 minute.
Still everything was confusing and hard to control.
6. I never want you to feel satisfied of your performance because it causes your fail.
7. Now I give you 5 minutes to play completely free.
We were getting closer to find each other but there was a huge problem. and that was the danger of "Sonic Sausage"!!!
8. It is very easier to decide when to start rather than decide about when to STOP!
I had to keep listening to others and play as closer as possible to their sounds. I needed to find new different sounds to match with the ensemble. (This is what I am going to talk about in next post.)
Keith emphasised on two most important keys:
Never forget the practice about 1 single tone in 1 minute!
Never forget that It's better to play NOTHING rather than playing so many things but mean NOTHING.
London College of Communication, 8-12 December 2013
„Composition beyond Music“ by no means excludes „music“, but above all it is an opportunity to reflect on presentation forms for acoustic works, for sound compositions that go beyond the classic concert setup. Field recordings, site-specific compositions and installations, the presentation of sounds, sound production as a social pattern, the essentials of sound and music, music without sounds, technology and research into source material, the body in music, archaeoacoustics, sound and other media, perception and reality – these are just some of the potential themes to be explored, elaborated, and presented by the participants in their own works in this workshop series that combines theory and practice. The direction and focus of each workshop will ultimately be determined by the individual concepts and ideas of the participants and also depends on the available venues, galleries, and performance possibilities.
The workshop is meant to encourage the critical analysis of musical preconditions and practices so that the participants will be inspired to discover alternative forms of sounds and listening through the aesthetic examination of such practices.
Consequently, the workshop is not only open to composers, sound artists and musicians but also to participants from other disciplines, provided that they are interested in making reference to or integrating sound into their work. Peter Ablinger
Conditions of participation
The workshop is restricted to a small group of about 8-10 composers/artists, who have to be registered as Summer Course participants. Costs for material necessary to be purchased or rent for the realisation of the works at Darmstadt Summer Course 2014 can be at least partially reimbursed (more information about this later). As the program and supervision by Peter Ablinger is very intense – both with individual tutoring as well as lectures and discussions as a group on a permanent basis accompanying the actual realisation of works on spot – participants of this program will have restricted possibilities to receive lessions from other tutors. However they are of course free to attend all other offers (such as group lectures, lectures and discussions, concerts etc.) open also to all other participants at the Summer Course. The participants are advised to make use of and attend a preceding meeting in Darmstadt (period 23 to 26 April 2014) to already meet with Peter Ablinger and the other participants, check out the site-specific conditions, get general infos and attend first lectures by Peter Ablinger in order to prepare for the final working period during the Darmstadt Summer Course (2 to 16 August 2014). In between this first meeting and the Summer Course the participants are requested to develop specific ideas to be realised during the Summer Course and also being presented within the festival.
Please, send a CV and a short sketch of your project idea via E-Mail to imd[at]darmstadt.de by 15 January 2014 the latest.
The workshop „Composition Beyound Music“ is a special project set up within the EU project and network ULYSSES and will be organised by five partners (IMD, DE, Darmstadt / impuls, A, Graz / Gaudeamus Muziekweek, NL, Utrecht / IRCAM, FR, Paris / Time of Music, FI, Vitasaari). The results of all workshops will then be compiled and represent different perspectives on the topic by approximately 40 international young composers/artists taking into consideration also the site-specific conditions of each place respectively specifics of each workshop and institution.
"I don't compose music, I only say Look!", Peter Ablinger said in his workshop in Tehran.
"Just try to play only one sound in one minute", Keith Rowe said in his improvisation workshop at London College of Communication.
What is sound that these great artists are talking about?
We are living in a world full of sound and noises which our ears are mostly used not to listen to them.
The art of sound is a field which asks us to think twice about sounds are surrounding us.
I had a very great experience in London, offered by Six Pillars, to listen and play with sounds. During this two weeks residency I found new sounds on my violin which I had never touched them before. I had to play with laptops so I had to make different sounds with my violin. I learned that we can hear sounds in a different view. The view which shows us how to enjoy even the noises are coming from our television.
This weblog is the opportunity to share my experiences with you, so keep in touch!