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Thoughts about music as communication instead of knowledge...

With Dr. Guy Dubios

Listening ®-evolution, as we tend to call it, is concerned with ways or manners of practicing music without an a-priori set of agreed codes or conventions. Playing music in many ways is engaging with a dialogue (at least), even when one is playing "solo" there is always the material conversation between the musician, instrument and the acoustics. Thus even as a soloist, one is actually playing a trio: bodies in relation to the instrument; instrument in relation to its play; and both in relation to the surrounding and to the materiality of sound. These relations have been codified in many different ways through regimes of meaning, forming alongside musical practices, languages that represent sonoric agency. Classical language of music controls both knowledge and memory in hierarchical fashion - being brought down from the composer to the musicians playing a composition. 


The musical text establishes a ground for any performance: in the classical practice of music there is an affinity between such ground and the truth of the composition. One is to play the text, as true as possible to the source, in fidelity to its original representation. Source here means not only composition or composer, but also intent, and other regulatory boundaries that had been established over the years concerning the “right” way of playing “it.” 

While there is a general classical approach to music that sees authorship as one of its restricting orders upon listening or playing, there is also an opportunity within it of taking those texts as “plans for planings.” Instead of trying to stick with the “original” plan, the playgrounds being offered here make use of musical texts in order to open up musical practices of any kind, regardless their presuppositions, and to explore possibilities which are established through listening and communication. This listening ®-evolution is not targeting traditional practices or regimes, it is not about replacing them by something more authentic or new. We wish to enable a level of coexistence which will be poetic enough, creative enough,so that music can continue to develop organically. 

Such coexistence that we are speaking of here, follows a notion of development expressed by Isabelle Stengers, in her Plea to Slow Science - where she identifies a type of progression which is sideways. Instead of accumulating knowledge for the disposal of a certain field, or principal, Stengers proposes a move that blurs boundaries between fields, and asks for a certain degree of migration and displacement for new processes of orientation to develop. Instead of imagining progression as linear, cutting out things that dimmed irrelevant to the “main;”  Stengers wishes for a more organic development, something that is attuned to mundanity, or to chance - in short science which is more inclined with the living. 

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