ANTI-DETAILED CONDUCTION SIGNS
(Unity-Diversity II, conduction version). For ensemble ad lib, may be large.
Sometimes improvisors gather around one kind of sound, regardless whether it’s one kind
of texture, of melodic movement, of a special timbre, or around one pitch - whether
loud or soft: that's unity. At other times, it's fun to hear a lot of contrasting,
individual phenomena in the air: that's diversity.
The conductor's role here is to listen and make sure these possibilities are
discovered and explored. This is done by occasionally showing a sign. Signs are always
given to the whole group, never to individuals or sub-groups. Before showing it, he/she
may raise both hands for some time to secure the attention of all. Everything else is
Signs should be given only now and then. Standing before the ensemble is a kind of
sign in itself. Conductor may indicate coherent periods of non-influencing by sitting
down. Resist temptations to influence details, stay neutral in mimics and other
gestures. Even better than having one conductor, however, would be to allow each
ensemble member one sign during one playing process or another collective arrangement.
- On how to specify unity and diversity in practise, see Unity-Diversity I for ideas.
away from each
THINK FOR A
Hand shown with
feel free to
Less is more!
- vary them!
The conductor can have some signs in addition to the two first ones that might add a
twist. "Think for a moment" - don't do anything specific, but if you find it could be
time to change something (or pause!), feel free to do so according to your own idea.
"More pauses" - to counteract congestion of sound. "Vary dynamics" - discover this
parameter instead of predictable collective ups and downs - could there be more loud
and soft together (don't just play louder when you see this sign, maybe you need to do
the opposite). "Refresh" - to get on if it's stuck or simply, more variation.
These signs were made as an attempted alternative to conducting systems that tend to
fix details and lead to rather monophonic textures. Instead, there is an endeavour to
encourage the polyphonic diversity of the ensemble/orchestra, and the intuitive,
irrational dimensions of playing. .