Gilles Laval – Talking

Access to the texts associated with Gilles Laval:

A. Gunkanjima by Noemi Lefebvre : English translation
B. Edges – Gilles Laval : Lisières – English translation

Accéder aux textes originaux en français :

A. Gunkanjima : Gunkanjima
B. Réflexions sur quelques murs d’incompréhension entre pratiques musicales : texte original en français
C. Lisières – Gilles Laval : texte original en français



Extract from a Talk between Gilles Laval
and Jean-Charles François

Reflections on some walls of misunderstanding between musical practices


Gilles L. :

In a recent workshop that I conducted in an institution of higher education, I realized that there were problems I did not suspect at first. That is, after the students were given assignments, some misunderstanding occurred, which in my opinion is due to the fact that under the same words people do not hear the same things. And in this context, I also asked for an exercise that involved transcribing a recorded piece of music, but the listening varies according to the aesthetics of the world one comes from. We don’t use the same entries to listen and explain what we’re hearing.

Jean-Charles F. :

This means that people who are competent in their field of analysis or writing music are completely lost in the face of music that is foreign to them.

Gilles L. :
Yes, and this happened in several cases: someone who is somehow, let’s say, a specialist in writing music told me very sincerely that he didn’t have any clue to understand how to pick up a piece that was somewhat rhythmically complicated, because it was a sequence of rhythms that were a bit complex, and the instrumentation was a bass, drums, and guitar. And in fact he had no elements to begin to imagine a way to realize the assignment. And that was interesting, it opened up a constructive debate – which I hope will nourish his reflection a little – but in any case it was the opportunity to bring to him elements for understanding this.
Jean-Charles F. :

In a way it is the opposite of what Giacomo says: (see Encounter with Giacomo Spica Capobianco in the present edition) “when you go to a neighborhood where there is nothing left, it’s a no man’s land, there are only no law zones, even the cops don’t go there. You’re going to try to install things culturally, but there’s a gap that’s widened so much, such a big divide, that makes some people wonder why we come, they don’t see the point.” And you can turn the thing around a bit by saying: in a neighborhood with a classical music institution, everything is provided, it’s not a no man’s land, it’s just an area with full rights. But it’s basically the same problem: if things are introduced that are culturally unrecognized, there’s a gulf that has grown so wide, a fracture that is so great, that some people wonder why one comes there.

Gilles L. :
Yes absolutely, it’s interesting to mirror, the other access also seems impossible. Which for me is completely astonishing, because I dared to hope that in these places, openness and curiosity existed. But that doesn’t prevent them from being able to either shut themselves away or open themselves up to other practices. Because at the same time it is a reality for some but not for everyone. We can see that whether in deprived neighborhoods or in large institutions, fortunately there are people who are still able to realize that it is important to open up to others, who have the curiosity to find that there is an interesting issue at stake. We could say on both sides these attitudes also exist.

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