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 Forum index » Discussion » Composition
Japanese linked poetry, a model for sequential group improv
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Acoustic Interloper



Joined: Jul 07, 2007
Posts: 1964
Location: Berks County, PA
Audio files: 82

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:48 pm    Post subject: Japanese linked poetry, a model for sequential group improv
Subject description: Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
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I have started reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches by Matsuo Basho, Japanese poet (1644-1694), compiled and introduced by Nobuyuki Yuasa in 1965, published in 1966. Yuasa explains the practice of linked poetry, a sequential improvisation in which a series of poets, one at a time, composes the next stanza of a poem by making a change in direction, tone, or imagery, while linking to a central image, feeling, or phrase in the preceding stanza of the preceding poet. Yuasa's introduction:
Quote:

What must be borne in mind in reading these long sequences of linked verse is that they were written by a number of poets sitting together and writing alternately, and that each poem in a series was linked to the immediately preceding one either by witty association or verbal play. The result was often a kind of kaleidoscopic beauty with infinite variety revealed to the reader in a slowly evolving moment.
Inherent in these long sequences of linked verse, however, was a danger that they might degenerate into chaotic confusion or tedious monotony. To prevent this, therefore, various attempts were made to establish certain rules of composition, and various schools of poets began to be formed. During the Kamakura period, these schools were classified roughly into two groups, serious (ushin) and non-serious (mushin), the former trying to emulate the elegant style of waka and the latter persisting in witty composition of a lower order.

The serial improvisation in the actual poems is very loosely coupled, with the links sometimes hard to spot, at least for me. Wink It seems, though, that this could be a very fruitful approach to serial group improvisation of music. Instead of having a central theme as in a series of jazz solos, each soloist would improvise a partially new piece, but one that links to its predecessor in one or more musical dimensions. Maybe I can workshop that idea at an electro-music event. I suppose for a distributed jams, the individual segments would have to be longer than just a couple of phrases, because of the latency.

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Acoustic Interloper



Joined: Jul 07, 2007
Posts: 1964
Location: Berks County, PA
Audio files: 82

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Come to think of it, this approach has a lot in common with the Musical Chairs sessions I used in my Photoshop/Illustrator classes. Students would contribute photos to a collection of building blocks, and at class time each student would start a composition. When I turned on the music, they'd wander around the room, and when I turned it off, they'd sit down at a new (for them) workstation and continue with that composition. Linked, serial improvisation. Each such session had a theme. Here are a few images from the "Virtual Architecture" theme.


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When the stream is deep
my wild little dog frolics,
when shallow, she drinks.
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Acoustic Interloper



Joined: Jul 07, 2007
Posts: 1964
Location: Berks County, PA
Audio files: 82

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Previous post continued . . .


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my wild little dog frolics,
when shallow, she drinks.
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