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Listening to Improvised Music
listening excluded dancing, movement and other forms of overt audience participation.
Audiences didn’t applaud ‘solos’ (like in jazz), and there were generally very few
announcements and certainly no programme notes, song titles, TV screens or other
forms of presentation that fans of other genres might find familiar.
Instead, many musicians aspired, in the words of Hannes Lingens, to “make people
think”, and set out to create music with the “potential of changing society”, Burkhard
Beins asking, “Isn’t it that creative arts should be about that?”,24 and Christian Lillinger
stating that:
This music is intellectual music, unbelievably intellectual music. Not just
like “Hey, you have to play with balls” and that’s enough, [but] both of
The political and social models on which these intellectual/artistic assertions were often
based will be explored in section 10.3, however, to conclude this section, I believe it is
important to differentiate between two groups of musicians (purists of this stance, and
those who believed that ‘fun’ and entertainment also had a place), as well as looking at
musicians’ interaction with their audiences - specifically in terms of whether they were
looking to please their audiences or not.
As I will show in section 10.3, much as many performers had some kind of social or
political intent underlying their musical practices and considered what they did to be
the highest of ‘high’ art, a second camp also emphasised the importance of entertaining
and having fun, in addition to these more ‘serious’ concerns.
Tobias Delius was convinced that the two were by no means mutually exclusive, describing
That’s probably the most important thing of it all. [...] [It’s not just about]
some kind of problem solving... but basically it’s just such a pleasure to do
it. I’m not playing... to show people like politically we can get on with each
other... [although] I think it is part of what the music says. [...] But I also
think it’s a good message to send out that people should maybe worry a bit
more about having fun! Or not worry more!!! [laughs]
For Valerio Tricoli, one of the strongest voices on the subject:
It can be fun in the sense of people laughing because it’s ‘fun’. But fun
could be even [pauses] - ‘It’s entertainment, baby!’ [laughs]. I mean, I really
think that it has to be entertaining. In many senses.
It can be entertaining conceptually, entertaining for the mind... it can be
entertaining because it’s very emotional, it can be entertaining because it’s
Beins added: “Very often they are not, because it’s more about stardom... or money also, but it
should be about that. Art should be about that.”