Racer Sessions

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

Jared Borkowski - July 24, 2012


Song Forms

The focus for this Sunday’s session will be song forms. In place of an original composed presentation at the beginning of the session, I will have three groups of volunteers freely improvise through three unique song forms. Each form will be written out on two posters and visible to the performers as well as the audience. 

One of the forms might look something like this, for example: A B A B C C’

Whatever each person plays during the first part of the piece gets composed as the “A” section. Listening for a change, the group will together transition into “B”. For the return of “A” each player will revisit the idea they played during the first “A”. I’ve played around with improvising in this way recently and it turned out to be far more difficult than I thought it would be. I like the challenge, and when done well, I like the result being a freely improvised piece of music that revisits previous sections as a group. 

Each group will play the same piece twice. The first time through, the goal will be to improvise through the piece staying together in the form by listening. Again, harder than it seems (for me at least). The second time there will be a pointer; a person guiding the form by pointing to each section of the form on the poster throughout the piece. This takes listening on the pointer’s part as well, but they ultimately make the decision of when to move on to each section. The goal of the second performance of the piece is for the improvisors to use the same material and ideas for each section that they “composed” during the first performance. I believe each performance will turn out very different, but I’m hoping they will sound like two versions of the same piece. Another challenge is that the two versions will not be played consecutively. Each group will play version I, then they will each play version II in the same order. Remembering what you, not to mention the other players in your group, composed for each section the first time through the piece, after listening to two other pieces, will be a challenge, but of course, will influence the outcome as well. 

For the open jam portion of the night I will have several more posters with various song forms for groups to use. I will also have some very specific guidelines and challenges for ensembles to work with for the first several jam pieces. 

See you Sunday and thank you for reading my post.