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Questionnaire: Liz Tonne (2007)

November 2, 2010

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

Yes, I studied piano for eleven years as a child and have taken a few voice lessons here and there. It gave me a great background in the development of musical forms and styles, primarily classical, of the last three centuries. It also taught me how to practice and to understand music as both an art form and a craft.

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 use only my voice. Singing keeps me healthy and aware of many subtle nuances affecting my overall physical body. Choice? It’s not really a choice, more of a natural progression or karmic lesson.

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

I enjoy playing more traditional forms of music as well. Experimental music is more in tune with the psychic and artistic currents that are circulating in society.

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

Improvisation is a meditation for me and a way to connect with other people non-verbally.

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

You must start an improvisation somewhere. This doesn’t necessarily have to be something planned but often something familiar. From there you can leave a place of comfort and familiarity and begin to explore and ride the sound. At a certain point planning becomes a composition and it is fine to incorporate improvisation into a composition but it’s still a composition.

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?

I practice technique not improvisation. When my voice is really warmed up and I have reconnected with the physical sensations from which most of the extended techniques come from I am very free musically. Then I am free to focus on listening which is where the music comes from. I do use sounds that I am familiar with. If I’m lucky the improvisation will enter a place of deep concentration where new sounds will spontaneously evolve.

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

Form, a good improvisation has intrinsic form to it, perhaps always a different form but one that appeals to the human mind. It is not random.

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

Yes, recording can highly influence my singing, especially because of the technology involved. I don’t like to record in studios at all. I like live recorded performances. I don’t see much reason to record improvisatory music anyway. It is a highly experiential art form for both the musician and audience.


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