A room of my own

Today I spent a lovely day at Mr Li’s Music Box studios in the Nanming River area of Guiyang’s old town, listening through to some of the sound recordings I’ve made during my time in China so far- and having a play! I had a room to myself, private and quiet, on the 17th floor of the building, with a window which gave onto the river and the opposing apartment blocks of the old town.

Since my final show will feature acoustic instruments (if all goes to plan- piano, cello, violin, clarinet and me on violin/saw), I decided to focus on generating ideas with this kind of sound world in mind.

Here are a few early sketches. The first two are inspired by the mesmeric sound of the lusheng, the second two by a beautiful Dong song. I enjoyed bringing the various things that have inspired me into what I was making, whether melodically, rhythmically, in stylistic ways, like with glissandi, by using certain scales etc.

And with a bit of piano…

And with an orchestra of musical saws…

In the evening, I went to Guqin Master Wu’s idyllic courtyard pavillion for an evening of musical improvisation with him and his friends. It’s always a relief somehow to listen to people improvising: the combination of the quiet instruments and the subtle and sensitive playing of these musicians made for a beautifully mellow atmosphere.

Which helped me get over the shock of quite how many unexpected TV cameras and audience members there were, and how far from casual this “just a casual thing with friends” seemed to be in reality!

But it was a pleasure to play my saw and to improvise, and everybody seemed to enjoy the concert. I felt encouraged to see such an appreciative audience in Guiyang for improvised music.

It made me smile to see these extremely sweet little audience members listening so intently too…

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3 Replies to “A room of my own”

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