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Listening to Improvised Music
Whilst Rupp was one of very few musicians with a truly ‘Cagian’ appreciation of sound,21
others suggested different modifications of Cage’s stance - the possibility of freeing
sound from its associations having opened the doors to focus on interaction and timbre
in new and different ways.
Klaus Kürvers, for example, placed emphasis on counterpoint and interplay, and he
described how, essential to his own appreciation of Improvised Music:
[You have to] accept that things happen in parallel, that they don’t relate
to one another, and that it can be difficult to hear 2, 3 or 4 autonomous
processes happening at the same time and then to find enjoyment in that.
He added that:
You do that all the time in daily life anyway - as soon you walk onto the street
you notice that there’s somebody walking towards you on the pavement,
that you have to watch out for cars. [...] These senses are actually already
developed, and you need this sensual awakeness (Wachheit) to listen to
music too, but in this case it’s aural.
The ear... has to be able to perceive parallel or unpredictable [things]... just
like theatre, or even just going to see a football game. [...] In a football game
there’s the whole football pitch and these 22 players, and you’re watching
them all, asking “What are they actually doing? How are they integrated?
What’s developing there? Who’s standing how?”. Listening requires just
the same skill as the eyes have when we watch a football match.
Representing the stance of many (Post-)Reductionists and the ‘Microscopic’ attention
to the inner minutiae of sound already addressed on p. 48, Andrea Neumann explained
A lot of times when you work with sounds and noises, then people say “Oh
that really sounds like rain, and that really sounds like water”... [but] I
always didn’t want that. I always wanted that people would think, “No just listen to this, what it is!” [...] It’s about opening completely to the
details of sounds. [...] Before I was maybe like into very tiny things and very
quiet, and now I also like more massive things, but in this massivity [sic]
you have also some beatings and all these layers where you can just enter
with your perception, and you [don’t] have... to wait for something more to
happen. Inside the sound there is a lot to discover when you just listen to it.
Mike Majkowski added that, in his solo work:
Just as with the supposed impossibility of attaining a truly ‘Cagian’ listening state, Axel Dörner
pointed out that, “There’s limitations to the openness. You an be extremely open, but you always try
to make sense out of something, immediately.”