Just for the record: I compose as slowly as possible, I improvise as
quickly as I can. I compose at the computer (=leisure), I improvise in
my performance groups (=pressure). Alas, my improv chops are nowhere
near those of a Ken Restivo or a Terry McClanahan (my lead guitarist),
so you won't hear much worthy improvisation in my instrumental work.
Nevertheless, I believe that many composers, myself included, aim for
the *feel* of improvisation in their (often meticulously notated) work.
My composition teacher made me avoid writing anything for the guitar (my
principal instrument) for a full year. It was a very good lesson.
My AVS piece in the latest LAM collection took weeks to compose. I
started with some notions, expanded them, shrunk them, expanded them
again, and so on, on and on, until I'd shaped the results you hear in
the current version. I can do the pencil & paper thing, but I do love
the computer as a composer's work-station. It provides a ready reply
when I'm wondering "What if...".
Please note that I don't believe that the time it takes to compose
something is any indicator of other values in the work. IMO, the work
should stand alone, without reference to the details of its genesis, its
composer's personality and/or sexual preferences, the time of day it was
written, or the operating system used by the computer it was written on.
These factors may be very interesting, but the work either walks on its
own or it needs crutches.
Happily I can say that the music I hear in LAM 2009 is all walking tall.
My compliments to the composers, improvisors, bricoleurs, mixmasters,
and DJs, and major thanks to Patrick Shirkey for pulling it together
(again). You rock steady, Pat. We owe you more than a few. :)
End of early-morning improv/ramble with 9 degrees (F) above zero
accompaniment. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.
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