Monday, November 14, 2022

In praise of looseness

 When one is playing improvised music, perfection isn't really a useful concept. If one plays "perfectly" one night, does one play the exact thing again? Then it's not improvisation. I have played improvised performances most of my life, so I tend to favour music that sounds fresh and not preplanned. For example, I like the Police more than Sting solo, I don't think most Beatles covers improve on them at all, and definitely Van Halen is superior to Van Hagar! The feeling of music that is being made "without a net" is one I greatly cherish. For certain, I like Steely Dan and symphonic music too, but "in the moment" is where my heart lives.

On a similarly related topic, I've been experimenting with using some extended techniques in what I call  "Saskatchewan Surdo". In other words, if I played any of these in Sao Paulo, nobody would confuse me with a local! ( Especially since I don't speak any Portuguese! ) One one the great things, however, about playing Percussion Section/World music-style beats is that they're supposed to sound like there's more than one person playing, and therefore shouldn't be played with razor-sharp precision. Works for me! 
So, here are 5 examples of "Sask. Surdo". Don't be afraid to adapt beats of the world to create something new. If you do it honestly, with taste and respect, everything should be fine. Have fun!

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