musicians in space





Project outline

Musicians in space is a practice-based research investigating the ways in which free improvising musicians relate to both the listener and the space around them during performance. It introduces a model of spatialized performance for free improvisation based on the argument that the formal separation and the static positioning of the audience and performer, does little to support a musical process that is supposedly built on the close inter-relationship of all the elements of the musicking ecosystem.

This study stems from my practice as both an improvising dancer and musician, with my combined practice undoubtedly contributing to my heightened awareness of the spatial and physical nature of an improvising musicians practice. This study also takes many of the findings from a MA project from 2014, that took an improvised dance practice, the Underscore, and translated it for use by improvising musicians. While the previous study focused on the Music-based Underscore (MbUS) as a shared preparatory process for improvising musicians, the current study focuses on the implementation of a model of spatialized performance, specifically for improvised music.

The Musicians in Space research additionally explores the process of the free improviser within the context of a performance ecosystem, where it is recognised that the musicking act can not be separated from the time, space, the participants, and the environment in which it is being performed. This approach emphasizes the physical and social interconnectedness that lies at the heart of any improvisational process, while also recognising the inherent social and political implications associated with the performance of free improvised music.

The aim of this research is to exemplify an approach to free improvisation that stresses our relatedness to space and the inter-connected web of associations that bind us together both within and beyond the music. While at the same time, providing an innovative and engaging format for the performance of free improvised music, that will hopefully, prove to be accessible to the uninitiated listener.