Re: On languages for describing suitable motions

David Rodger (
Thu, 16 Oct 1997 10:07:10 +0100

>Maths is clearly NOT a good language for interacting with dancers, a
>problem I'm trying to address. I am developing an ever increasing set of
>"useful" performance motions which exploit the properties of acceleration,
>but others trying out Drancing-A (without insight into the operation)
>don't exploit these properties, and it's difficult to explain. The person
>trying it out doesn't gain much from a demonstration of a single motion,
>since one needs to understand a single "property" exploited by a class of
>motions, i.e. a continuum of motions within a single "mode" not single
>moves. Otherwise one is destined to repeat the same boring single motion
>forever. Rather, one must understand the class of motions exploiting one
>property of acceleration.

Any musical instrument requires the same. (I use this analogy since your
aim is music performance.) There are limited actions required to produce
sound, but any single one of them does not exemplify the expressive and
timbral possibilities of the "class".

>Sometimes when I use Drancing-A I have a visual picture of the motion I
>wish to perform. I see the motion as a space-curve (like a 3d plot) of
>exactly the type I'd use to explain the properties of acceleration to
>physics students. I picture the Frenet frame motion vectors moving along
>the curve. And I have a set of formulae in my head telling me in advance
>what the signals will look like during the move

The playing of any instrument in which the player observes a set of
established practices admits such expectations. In this case, the sonic
result need not be so rigidly fixed.

>Sometimes I try to switch off these expectations and just go for it. The
>results are very different and just as valuable (or musically pleasing).
>The aim I guess is to train specific motions exploiting physics so that
>they can then be exploited subconciously.

The parallel with traditional instruments is clear. I'm sure that Coltrane
"wnet for it" often, but if he hadn't known what actions to make to get
sound out of the sax, we wouldn't have that marvellous music that can be
heard on Giant Steps, Ascension, Ohm, etc. This points to a central
question for musicians and dancers: How much is successful improvisation
attributable to technique and to material orgnisation?

Regards, David

David Rodger, "I'd bet for techno music you
Audio Engineer: could get pretty good lossless
Recording, Editing, Mastering compression, as the compression
Lifeguard and Lifeguard Trainer is based on repeated data."
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