Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm at Cafe Racer in Seattle, WA

Cameron Peace - May 6, 2012

Music For Duos


Amidst all of the possible ways in which individuals and instruments are combined to make music, I’ve recently discovered that one of my favorite configurations to listen to and also to participate in is the duo.  I find this is especially true when it comes to improvised music.  That is not to say I don’t enjoy other group sizes, however I think that there is a group dynamic and aesthetic that is more likely to occur in duos.  Here are some of my thoughts on that group dynamic:

1.  Most obviously, You get a chance to hear how two individual musicians relate and react to one another, accommodating for one another’s choices is a very clear way.  

2.  Playing in a duo means that listening is paramount.  It should always be important, but if someone is not listening in a duo…..well, it’s pretty apparent, and usually does not work.

3.  In free improvisation, when there are multiple ideas being tossed around, it is often that the most forceful/confident idea to be put forward is used.  I believe the often used analogy of “music as a conversation” is particularly apt here.  In a larger group of people conversing, there are often a few members who dominate and direct the conversation.  Some individuals are drowned out, or withdraw entirely from the conversation.  I find it is the same in music.  This is not always a bad thing, typically a clear leader elevates the sound of the group.  However, when this happens, I find myself missing the input of individuals less comfortable in a large group, or those who are simply less forceful with their ideas.  

4.  Related to the previous comment, I don’t feel like I’ve really gotten to know someone as a person until I’ve spent some time with them in one on one conversation.  This is especially true in regards to my introverted friends.  Throughout my life there have been friends that I’ve known casually and interacted with in larger groups frequently (sometimes for years).  However, I never really understood them until I had a chance to interact with them one on one.  I feel the same way musically.  

Something that has been floating around in my brain regarding this:  http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html

This Sunday, my only guideline for the jams is that I would like them to be duos.  That being said, I would encourage everyone to branch out and play with someone you may not have had the chance to interact one on one with in the past.

I have written 3 pieces for duos to get things started.  Joining me will be:

  • David Balatero
  • Andrew Swanson
  • Jared Borkowski

-Cameron Peace