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Questionnaire: Bechir Saade (2007)

November 2, 2010

1. Have you got any formal musical training, and what do you draw from it now?

Yes but never finished or got a degree or something. I guess not much except trying to get the ‘sound’ right and a bit of discipline to practice.

2. What kind of equipment/instrument do you use, and what is you relationship towards it? What do you think lies behind your choice of the equipment/instrument?

I play mainly the bass clarinet and nay (a Middle Eastern flute). I just love their sound basically. I also like the necessity to produce sounds by blowing, breathing, etc.

3. What is it that attracts you towards musical experimentation?

The curiosity to discover new sounds, new movements etc. But also the insistence and concentration on listening more properly to sounds for what they are. In tonal music, textures are sometimes just taken for granted and so we lose sight of their beauty.

4. Why are you involved in improvisation, and how do you perceive it?

See answer to 3. I just can’t separate experimentation from improvisation. Rarely would I commit to specific composed forms of experimentation. I never thought of music (especially in my daily practice) as being composed.

5. How do you perceive the relation between planning and spontaneity in improvisation?

Planning is practice. Reaching out on a daily basis for the potential of your instrument. Spontaneity is the explosion of the use of this potential once playing in the now. Sometimes in the spontaneity you discover things you never played before too. Then you pick them up calmly and try to corner them better once practicing again.

6. Do you “practise” for an improvisation, and what are your general thoughts on the idea of “practising” for improvisation?
When you improvise, do you use sounds that you’ve already “tried out”, and how much room is there for actual sound experimentation?

Ok I think I kind of answered to that.

7. How do you evaluate an improvisation? What is it, according to you, that makes one improvisation better than another?

Just what it does to my senses I guess. Some loose criteria that can help are clear intentions in the way you play, a minimum of mastery over what you’re doing (kind of the same as the first), and the hardest “making it somehow work”.

8. When you are recording for a release, does the awareness of being recorded influence your playing, and in what way?

I think so yes. But I don’t know in which way. Maybe playing is more sober than in concert setting.

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