On May 19th, I invited seperatly four musicians for an interview, on the occasion of a new music piece that I was going to write for them. The interview took place at my apartment in Rotterdam. We had never ever met before.
The musicians didn't know what was going to happen, they only knew, I was going to ask them some questions, and record it. They entered a strange environment, were seated at a small table with mikrophones and recording machines on it. Before the interview started, I promised not to publish the recording. They could speak freely. I asked the musicians, the same 17 questions. Their answers were varying in content and length.
In this composition method I translate the voice of the musicians, and the way they speak to the "voice" of their instrument. At the end they simulate with their instrument their voice, and way of speaking according to what they have said during the interview.
After I recorded the interview, ten days later, I send them the score of the new piece, called Addictionary. The score consisted of, an audio sample of the interview, and a graphical score. The last gave a detailed time based description of the spoken text in combination with graphical signs and symbols to evoke playing techniques.
The composition can be called a structured improvisation. The structure of the composition is given by my questions and the length of their answers, the way they speak, their phrasing, their rythmn, their intonation, the key tone of their voices and their talking habits, with typical Uhms, Ahs, Ohs and laughter.
Most important part of the score is the audio recording of the interview. This document is the director of their piece. The musician should listen to his voice over and over again, untill he is able to imitate it with the instrument he or she plays. During the concert I will again ask them the same 17 questions, and they will answer them using their instrument as their voice.
The 17 Questions
- What's your profession?
- What kind of music do you play?
- Do you compose?
- Do you interpret graphical scores or do you improvise?
- Do you sometimes have stage fright?
- Can you describe the character of your instrument?
- How old is your instrument?
- Is your instrument rather male or female?
- Do you talk to your instrument?
- Can you vocalise your instrument?
- Can you describe the character of your voice and the way you speak?
- What is the key tone of your voice?
- How high and low can you get?
- How many musical terms starting with the letter A can you name?
- Can you imagine that this interview will become an important part of your score. That what you have said will be translated to your instrument?
- Can you come up with some playing techniques to simulate your voice and way of speaking?
- Can you tell a joke about your profession?