music made of reactions

Improv Session – Agrell’s Interval Game and Ternary Form

In our last improv, we talked about how constraints drive creativity – but too many constraints, or constraints that never change, can get a little dull. To remedy that, in this improv we intorduced a little tonal variety by taking the next logical next step and added a B section that introduced different intervals.

I personally *love* trying to structure free improv into ABA form, because it requires the performers to create a coherent idea, decide as a group when to leave that idea, and then remember that idea so they can return it later (the average free improv only hits the first of those three, frankly).

We were working out of Jeffrey Agrell’s “Improv Games for One Musician,” specifically with his “interval improvisations,” in which the player(s) limits his notes to certain intervals.  In his list of suggested intervals, Agrell described the use of fourth and fifths as “heroic,” which greatly amused us, so we decided to go with that for our B section.  We tied on our super capes and created the following ternary form:

A – 7ths, augmented fouths
B – perfect fourths and fifths
A – 7ths, augmented fouths




The switch to the B-section fourths and fifths creates a nice change in the landscape, to my ears.  I remember that this time through I found it easier to listen to David’s intervals and wait for the sound of his fourths and fifths to indicate that I should join him in the B section.  It created a nice little warm-up exercise.

Enjoy!  Next week we’ll tackle a couple of iterations on a mysterious and author-less prose score.

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One response

  1. Pingback: Prose Scores, Concise Elegance, and Ethan Hein’s Convergence/Divergence | natetrier

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