Here's an understatement: "theme and variation" is a common musical device. In the hands of some musicians however, this "variation" is enabled to greatly restructure the "theme," or even to supplant it entirely.
This is not so true in pop musics, where "theme" is usually dominant, with "variation" taking the form of choruses or solos, as in rock or jazz musics.
Generally-in the interest of popular comprehension and commercial applications-this song-form coherence is more or less a prerequIsite. In pop musics, a "bridge" (related change in the middle of the song), or a mere change of key often replaces any real expansions upon a theme.
Personally, I'm attracted more to "variation with no theme." The solo that creates its own referent. The undesignated rhythm section, without an obligatory assignment to provide "backup" to something else. The bridge that's actually an off-ramp, or maybe an airstrip. I'm thinking of a more flexible, egalitarian type of ensemble orchestration.
Ironically, in improvising, this themeless variation idea is reversed at times. The music finds its own 'theme' (area of focus), or series of themes as it moves.
Self-constructed and even self-contradictory structures possible solely because of a pointed absence of structure.
This latter premise of structural adaptivity and flexibility points directly to a primary intent of improvising, a quite rigorous intent. In fact, this premise is pointing at this intent right now. It's in that bush across the street.
Photographies by Chema Madoz
01.- CALL IT ANYTHING YOU WANT
02.- CONCERNING ACCIDENTS
03.- DISLIKE OF MUSICAL NOISE EXPLAINED
05.- TRUTH in MUSIC APPRECIATION
06.- WHAT IS MUSICAL FREE IMPROVISATION
07.- OUR UNIVERSE
08.- WORKING JUNG´S RIFF
10.- WHEN IT'S OUT OF OUR HANDS
11.- GLAD WE DIDN'T ORDER THE SPECIAL
12.- WORKING JUNG'S RIFF
13.- KNOW THE ENEMY
14.- THE MUTABLE FORM
15.- CONCERNING INMORTALITY
16.- MACH NUMBERS
17.- CONDITIONALITIES OF QUIETUDE
18.- THEN AND NOW
19.- WHY NOT SNEEZE
20.- WE PASSED JUPITER and THEN HEADED NORTH
21.- PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Based in a noted musician's decades of personal experiences, his book Solo Gig: Essential Curiosities in Musical Free Improvisation (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011) examines some crucial and far-reaching aspects of musical free improvisation, with particular regard to live performances. In this illustrated collection of narrative essays, the author looks both into and from inside this uniquely paradoxical, challenging and rewarding way of making music, within the context of an inherently eccentric milieu.