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Ross Daly: Where does this music come from? / 1st Period / 12 – 16 April 2019

“Where does this music come from?” This is a question I get asked almost everyday not only by members of audiences at my concerts but also by students and even colleagues. The answer to this question however is simultaneously very simple as well as somewhat complicated. For all of us who have given our lives to the study of musical idioms broadly referred to as “traditional”, the first question to arise is inevitably one of whether we belong, or, especially if we are not “born” into the tradition in question, if we can actually belong to a a specific tradition.

This question is especially relevant to the students of Labyrinth, given that the majority of them are studying traditions into which they find themselves by choice and not by “birth”. The answer to this question, in my experience, is that indeed we can actually reach a stage in which we are fully assimilated into a specific tradition with which we do not have a “biological” connection, but that in all likelihood we cannot remain there. In order to reach full assimilation and mastery in a specific tradition, it becomes necessary for one to focus on it single-mindedly, usually leaving one’s experiences and achievements in other traditions on the sidelines and, at least temporarily, ignoring their existence.

This however can only happen for a limited time as, after a while, all of these other aspects of one’s being, those not associated with the tradition on which one is focusing begin to assert themselves in an irresistible manner rendering it all but impossible for one to find fulfillment within the parameters of any single tradition regardless of how deeply one has delved into it. From this point on one’s true artistic direction can gradually begin to reveal itself. A direction into which all aspects and facets of one’s being can be incorporated and find their expression. What happens at this point to one’s relationship with “tradition”? That, together with the question posed at the beginning of this paragraph is precisely what we will examine within the context of this seminar.

This seminar is relevant primarily (although not exclusively) to musicians at a relatively advanced level who are already at least somewhat involved in creative activity. We will work through an extended repertoire of traditional material from different sources, as well as of compositions of my own and of others working within the field of contemporary modal music.

1.Reading staff notation at an intermediate level is necessary.
2.Instruments capable of microtonal intervals are preferred wherever possible.


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