"Melody" is a top-down improvisation!

Improvisations are a fruitful context for finding or creating something new. In the work Melodia (Melody), composed by Edson Zampronha, some known compositional strategies are blend in a different way for achieving both a free state of mind (to me, an improvisation in its deepest sense) and a compelling musical thought.

How this blend is achieved in this work? Listen to Melody performed by Carlos Orobón and Edson Zampronha. After the concert, a significant part of the audience were quite curious to look at the score for understanding what had been actually written down. At least to me it does not seem to be a typical chance music improvisation due to many synchronies in pitch, morphology, recurrent figures, time and global shape.

Carlos Orobón and Edson Zampronha play Melodia (Melody), by Edson Zampronha, performed at the Main Theater of the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Asturias (Oviedo, Spain) on April 17, 2013.

In Melody improvisation and the global musical plan occupy different hierarchical levels. Improvisation occupies the higher level, and the melody in a lower level becomes a deep structure that guides the work. (Click here to see how it occurs in a sound installation as well.)

This procedure is similar to a baroque music in which we find a melody, a bass line (technically a thoroughbass), and ornaments created on these grounds. Unlike a baroque music, Melody squeezes thoroughbass and melodic line into one single line. 

However, in Melody ornaments can partially change the deep melodic line, creating the special case of a top-down musical organization (a higher level designing a lower one).

This is a special procedure that produces effective results. Improvisation becomes more than embellishments or variations. It recycles and redefines the ground on which it is firstly conceived, and it becomes partially structural. I suppose this is the main point here.

It is great to listen to Carlos Orobón and Edson Zampronha playing in this video. Carlos Orobón is a very creative and very gifted performer that is able to unify a high technique and a superb musical understanding, and he has deeply interacted with Edson Zampronha for the creation of this very special performance. Listen to it again, you will enjoy it even more!

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