A composer’s individuality is reflected in his/her composition/ A performer’s individuality is reflected in his/her interpretation.
“Yours Mine” is a project that explores a cross-cultural/ creative role collaboration process between a composer and the performers.
How do we cultivate cultural awareness in a creative process?
How do we break from the traditional composer/performer roles allowed for open dialogues in a collaborative process?
In the project, the performers will take part in the process of composing by choosing the various musical materials in a questionnaire given by the composer. As each person comes with different life experiences, cultural backgrounds, preferences to different sounds, the outcomes of each composition will be unique.
In part one of the piece, the performer will take a quiz that will determine the musical content. The form of the piece will be controlled by the composer but the performer will be asked to think about the meaning of chosen materials drawing from his or her own experiences.
There are three layers: instrument, voice, and tape. The instrument is opened to the interpretation of the performer. The voice part involves two languages: my native language Mandarin and the performer's native language. The electronics part is a series of sound examples(flexible tape set) based on the questions in the questionnaire Q3. The performer will decide the sample content and three layers will be played at the same time during for a recording or for performance. The combination of these three layers is almost infinitive since everyone has different life experiences.
During my years of living aboard, I had become interested in creating connections with people from different cultural backgrounds and from all walks of life. This project is inspired by the continual exploration, but most importantly, I want to reflect more deeply about our own identity and to explore diversity by this project.
Questions and Reflections:
• if you are struggling, because you're being through a composing process.
• let's think about the normal cooperation process. First, the composer is responsible for the score, the music, guiding performers to understand the work and make the performance happen properly. The performer is responsible for the performance, interpretation, even sometimes whether to be loyal to the written music. There might be some struggle during the process, but the boundary is clear. That's the boundary this project wants to challenge and research into. In this project, the performers may feel unclear to play an empty score, may feel confused to fill out everything by themselves, may feel more time-consuming for working on this kind of piece, because this work is not about following composer's instruction, nor practice makes perfect. The composer may feel confused to be not able to control primary materials, may feel insecure/ uncertain about the result, may feel more time-consuming for communicating/ explaining this process, because the composer can't make decisions for the performer in this case. Nothing is clear until the performer is sure or happy about his/ her choices.
• "Can I fill out the questionnaire and send it to you, then you finish the score for me?" Sorry, no, because the questionnaire and the score are connected, the performer has to be aware of creating materials. Even though I have decided the structure/ form, but how this piece would sound like is the performer’s decision, including the sound materials/ music/ recording qualities. During the process, I can guide and help the performer how to finish the score; besides, the performer will discover the composing process in the meantime.
• How many materials would a composer control, and how much would a performer control in this project? Does the performer feel comfortable to compose and to make decisions?
Some performers are not used to compose music/ a piece, they might have no idea how to make the first step. However, this struggle has to be through, and it's exactly one of the main points of this project: Why not to challenge the relationship between composer and performer?
• why I choose those personal questions? Because I'm curious about different performer’s backgrounds and stories. I'm willing to free/ modify the instructions of part one, if the performer feels like to have more freedom. In the long run, all the instructions are only for guidance, nothing needs to be precise. For instance, one section could be more or less, it depends on the performer’s chosen melodies( music). 10 seconds could be longer or shorter. Please remind, put the quality of your chosen materials in a higher priority than the instructed time frame. I'm happy to listen to your quests/ thoughts/ struggles, this is not about limitation, more about to learn to listen to yourself.
• About my decisions in this piece, the highest priority is the structure, like most composers, and the second is the performance note, the questionnaire, will transform into the performer’s idea/ decisions and primary materials/ motivation of this project. Therefore, I have the responsibility for guiding the performer through the connections between questions and scores, make them understand the whole process.