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Questionnaire: Róbert Rózsa (2007)

November 2, 2010

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

I don’t have any formal musical training.

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 have always been fascinated by the sound and music of cartoons, and then there’s early electronic and freely improvised music. Since I don’t play any “classical” instrument, I had to come up with my own, “non-classical”, different instrument. Old analogue synths, various effects and processors, sounding toys, an unusual and different use of turntables or cassette players, those were the sounds which i sought out. In the beginning I was using my own hi-fi components, tapes, vynils, microphones, feedback effects. Soon after that I discovered no-input mixing and that is the instrument I’m using today, and besides that I also use amplified objects, a toy-synthesizer, mini discs, etc.

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

I’m attracted to the freedom of creating, the phenomenon of  “liberated sound”, the unusual creation and organization of it – the freedom of  being playful in the name of music.

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

I think that improvisation is the most honest, the most interesting, and also the most unpredictable way of music-making, which is in itself a great challenge. Improvisation is a spontaneous game without an end in which everyone makes their own rules; music liberated from all the constraints of genre, style, school, any limitations, in one word: openness. It is about searching and making sense out of things through creation and during the creation itself; music that exists and emerges for its own sake, and I think that it can be said that everyone is involved in its creation, because the listener too, while listening, is involved (more so than in any other case) in its shaping. These are the reasons why I’m very interested in and attracted to improvisation.

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

Spontaneous, or free musical improvisation is the highest level of finding the sense and the possibilities of freedom in sound, of its spontaneous creation, shaping and organization. Planning in improvisation is a way to give it directions, some previously constructed form or to facilitate a certain mode of communication between players, which is more than a useful element in playing, especially if it is about a larger group of players.

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?

Practising in the classical sense does not exist, especially any kind of  training, because then it is not improvisation. But one should play as much as they can, and work on discovering and expanding their sonic possibilities, ways of expression. So, trying out, yes. Using already “tried out” sounds as well. And, the new and the unknown should always be the imperative of improvisation, because, to experiment and to search for new possibilities is something is possible and necessary.

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

Good or bad improvisation? And the categorization, the evaluation. This thing doesn’t seem simple at all to me, so every judgment is actually subjective, because it’s most of all about personal perception and impression, sensitivity. I’d say that I like good improvised music only. To me it’s the one that stimulates my imagination and marvels, or maybe teases. I like the improvisation in which I recognize the curiousness. I also like the fact that it is unrepeatable. Then there’s skillfulness, virtuosity or imaginativeness, unpredictability, the extremes in music, and silence, everything and anything can make an improvisation good or better than some other.

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

The consciousness exists, indeed. In my case, this “consciousness” does not hinder my playing, I’d rather say that it helps concentrating better and being more attentive, and a kind of a never predictable relaxing for the sake of creative liberation.


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