The Integrated Instrument Workshop – 17th-18th April 2015

First day approach was to start with movement and once fully comfortable using body integrate instruments. Process used musical terms as a language to create movement.

Relationship with instruments – we can’t choose our bodies but we can choose our instruments. Why your instrument? What does it mean to you? How does this affect the way you bring it to yourself and interact with it.

Person and instrument on stage why

Walk on with instrument sends one message

Inanimate object

How bring instrument to you

 

Process:

Observe instrument as if you have never seen it before

Clarinet:

it’s black, like a charred stick, like a mechanical device, perhaps a clock or for time keeping? It’s circular and looks different from every angle. It’s heavier than it looks and consists of lots of pieces stacked up on each other.

Thinking back to when I first saw and heard the instrument I was blown away by the beautiful tone- it’s warm, sweet, chocolaty sound. I was intrigued that one could make such a sound out of an inanimate object and was fascinated by the thought that one could mechanically press keys and levers and blow through the instrument to achieve this. I had to learn how to do this myself.

It’s a tube, and it has a piece of cane on the end, you can breath through it, but when you exhale no noise comes out, there’s only the sound of air rushing through all the holes. When you increase the air speed of your exhalation you eventually make a sound, a squeaking noise, if you tighten your mouth around the end as you blow the sound becomes less raucous and sweeter.

I developed a movement phrase to describe this:

I walked, circling around the clarinet which was standing on its end. I took it in from all angles, and spiralled in to look down from above. I found a place next to it, sitting with my right knee raised. I mimicked its shape by lifting my left arm, bent at the elbow, in front of my face, hand above my head. I completed the line of the clarinet by placing my right on my right knee, under my left elbow and looked  up to my left hand.  I then began breathing and releasing my chest either side of my new limb-clarinet almost swaying, to symbolise the sound of the clarinet. This swaying then extended over the clarinet itself as I broke my pose. I found one hand on the base, and the other near the top. The cane was in line with my mouth so I put it in. I started breathing through the instrument. Breaths increased as I began to stand and as I was standing my breath created a squeak followed by a rough sounding note. I inhaled though the instrument and exhaled one last time with a tighter mouth and produced a nicer tone.

 

Day 2 

Translate a 4 bar musical phrase into movement. 

Show dynamics as intensity of movement. Can you show extremes?

How far can you push yourself? What are the limits?

I used a section of Le tombeau de Ravel – Valse-caprices, by Arthur Benjamin. For me the Valse meter is important as it has a specific lilt. Also the unusual Ravel-like harmonies. I developed a movement phrase first by showing harmonic shifts as unusual shifts in the body. I curled from standing, contracting in the abdomen while turning to face the opposite direction, to low to the ground. I shifted my weight one leg to the other to indicate the next down beat; the beginning Running quavers. These quavers flow through to bring me back to standing and the harmonic shift resolve in the right leg being lifted behind. A molto crescendo and hemiola figure create a sudden building tension which I translated into running to the clarinet, grasping it fervently, rocking with the struggle of two against triple meter while inhaling in preparation to play. I then exploded into sound in an upward release, repeated the lifted leg and pivoted around to commence a circular motion to indicate the cyclical and push-pull feeling of the valse. This proceeded to a battle between sound and movement by continuing the running and the cyclical pushing and pulling, rising and falling. Movement triumphs with the clarinet swinging through the air, I countered its weight in my body, spinning to try gain control. I regained the musical line and sunk to the floor, on my back, tilting  to find peace at the end of the musical phrase. The clarinet rested on my chest and the two of us curled to a foetal position. I breathed through the instrument to commence the sound and reached around behind my head, now on my stomaching, going full circle while playing an echo of the original theme. This motion pulled me up with the clarinet in one hand – still playing – to sitting. I rested the clarinet on my knees in one hand, like a sword.