Alice Eldridge-

Alice Eldridge

What I would like from you. Your personal (idiosyncratic/ phenomenological/ entirely peculiar) take on the role of shape in the processes involved in creating, playing, listening to or reflecting upon music. In other words: Do you ever think about 'shape' in relation to music?

I always do. Both listening and/or playing, I feel music strongly related with shape or relationship among shapes. There’s a morphing attitude in music, this is evident. The most surprising thing is that while playing one experiments the privilege of a vision from his own spot of musician and a more general overview of the elements dancing around.

I’m for an improvisation where things happen, I strive for a multi-perspective musical creation and I feel improvisation always related with something concrete, never abstract.

To me painters and sculptors are main influences in my style and in my improvising approach. More than musicians, that are much important of course.

The first image I feel more appropriate to describe my idea of improvisation is a “Pendulum in motion”. This Pendulum is moving from a position I’ll call “Ego” to more complex positions that I call “Sound Theatre”. In all improvisations I always start from an “Ego” position, both acting or re-acting to other musician/ensemble or behavior stimulation. I always want to push the music somewhere, this is a very “Ego position”. Then, after the initial push, the Pendulum starts to move, both in terms of amplitude and vertical angle, toward the “Sound Theatre” where other Pendulums (other musicians inputs) are acting/re-acting. At this point (which is not that precise of course because each musician has a different degree of Ego and decisions and self-delivering to music), the “Sound Theatre” becomes simply MUSIC.

Sometimes, hopefully most of the times, the MUSIC becomes so strong that I can only belong to her.  From that point I don’t determine music anymore, MUSIC determines me.

Whilst you are improvising -- either solo or with others? (in time)

When I play solo concert the same category occurs, but I think more in a sculpting way. I usually decide “areas to play on”, tools to work with, horizontalities and verticalities, weight of dynamics and empty-full objects.

I often combine different plans and surfaces in a more complex solid tri-dimensional structure. Sometimes happens that the elements dance pretty alone. I mean some of these faces are strong enough to stand alone for a while, so I can feel the need of a silence.

Silence is a terrific opportunity to lend an ear to what rings true in the music one just played before.
There’s a little difference when happens to play interpretations of other’s music. I mean: every music has is own image, shape, place.
Once I played, and recorded too, my interpretation, a solo version, of “Die Sonne” op.19, a lied by Anton Webern.

I simply played the voice/sung line, but in order “to go unto” that line I started to stretch it, enlarging the horizontal melodic and the vertical harmonic possibility, but mostly dramatically increasing the dynamic jumps. After the first recording I decided to add/ record a second line starting at a certain point, just in order to reverberate in a new turbulent order the dancing elements I played before.

It was like to see the music in transparence, in a film-like perspective: notes as standing elements in a surrealistic De Chirico’s square.
Some other pieces are incredible in terms of shape imagination for me.

I love Charlie Mingus’s music and I studied quite a number of his most famous compositions. One of the most clearly “shaped” piece is “Reincarnation of the Lovebird”. Since the first moment I listened this track, it was several years ago, I felt it like a house. This theme is powerful in its own mysterious way.  While I play it I started to proceed to inhabit as if my home.

 A home with rooms and windows and flights of stairs and dark corners and    sudden flashes of light. I often play that theme, but its’ completely different from the initial theme, I recognize the house, but I chose to look at it from a different spot every time and I can stay in each room for the time I want to...

What about before (planning, learning) during (listening or playing) or after (reflecting upon or talking about music)? Could you give some examples? Is this more relevant at the level of a whole piece? or note? or particular passage or relationship with others? 

The whole piece and the single passage (and in defining the mood/space within all passages, single element shapes are important as well) are crucial in playing improvisation. I feel the improvisation like instant composition. Each improvisation delivers something. I try to deliver solid objects. They remain for a while out there, to be observed, seen.

Do you think in terms of just as many other metaphorical spaces? (colour, feeling, mood etc.)?

There are single colors and multi-colors.

Single colors: expression tools, techniques, dynamics, rhythms, gestures
Multi-colors: the combination of different expressive instant strategies, to see connections between lines, to see possible combination areas/moods.