Advanced Rhythm-Improvisation

The main objective of the programme ‘Advanced Rhythm’ is to provide rhythmical tools that will help the student to achieve a higher degree of accuracy and confidence. South Indian (Karnatic) classical music not only makes use of one of the most complex rhythmical systems but, in addition, has very clear and practical teaching and exercise methods.

The expansion of rhythmical possibilities has been one of the cornerstones of improvised music from 1960s until now. Most improvisers nowadays face music influenced by, among others, Tigran Hamasyan, Dave Holland, Weather Report, Steve Coleman, Aka Moon, Vijay Iyer, Miles Okazaki, Steve Lehman, Avisai Cohen, or elements from the Balkans, India, Africa or Cuba.

Today’s jazz, or recreation of standards following the rhythmical developments of the last few decades, demand a new approach to rhythmical training, a training that will provide musicians with the necessary tools to face with accuracy more varied and complex rhythmical concepts, while keeping the emotional content. The programme ‘Advanced Rhythm’ addresses ways in which the Karnatic rhythmical system can enhance, improve or even radically change the creation (be it written or improvised) and interpretation of rhythmically intricate jazz music.

The incredible wealth of rhythmical techniques, devices and concepts, the different types of Tala construction, the use of rhythm as a structural and developmental element and, last but not least, the use of mathematics to sometimes very sophisticated levels in South India, enable the western musician to improve and enhance their accuracy and/or their creative process and make the study of Karnatic rhythm a fascinating adventure of far-reaching consequences. 

Therefore, this 4-year programme is directed at improvisers who want to attain a broader view of rhythmical and structural fields. The rhythmical concepts of polyrhythm, polypulse and irregular groupings used in South India provide a very flexible method with which the student can experiment without trying to copy Karnatic music. All the topics are re-structured to enable the student to work only with the concepts and techniques. Each year the student decides whether to continue onto the following year or not.

Improvisers tend to be performers and creators simultaneously. Therefore, the emphasis of the course lies on a combination of rhythmical techniques to improve their accuracy, along with creative concepts that can be used to compose pieces or improvise solos.

Structure of the programme
Advanced Rhythm can be followed from one up to four years. Classes will take place once a week and they will be of 2 hours duration. The maximum number of lessons that can be missed is 6 out of the 28 of theory/exercise lessons that take place until mid-April. During the last two months of the year students will organize a group, or participate in one (trio - quintet), with which will they prepare a guided improvisation that will be performed at the end-of-year concert.
In the last 8 weeks (mid-April to mid-June), the preparation of the final piece does not work as regular lessons and meetings to work on pieces are arranged whenever possible for the students and teachers. Homework requires no less than an average of 5,5 hours a week.

The final grade will be based on:

  • Attendance, homework and attitude (40%)
  • Proficiency of material in the performance at the end of each year (40%)
  • Theory exam at the end of the year (20%) 

If the student may be interested in pursuing the Masters Profile ‘Applications of Karnatic Rhythm to Contemporary Improvisation’, please read below.

Cursusgegevens

docenten Jos Zwaanenburg, Rafael Reina, David de Marez Oyens, Jonas Bisquert, Kristina Fuchs
periode heel jaar, 2 lesuren
groepsgrootte 6-8
eis om toegelaten te kunnen worden, moeten studenten de cursus Introduction to Advanced Rhythm hebben afgesloten, of deze cursus volgen in de eerste periode (september-december) gelijktijdig met Advanced Rhythm
toetsing aanwezigheid, werkhouding (ook t.a.v. huiswerk) en prestaties tijdens de les, een theorie-examen en een afsluitend concert
studiepunten 10 studiepunten per jaar. NB: In verband met deze studielast zijn de studiepunten naast ensemble deels onder te brengen in de vrije ruimte en/of mastervakken (max. 5 punten).
code 4ARIM1

Master's Profile

APPLICATIONS of KARNATIC RHYTHM to CONTEMPORARY IMPROVISATION

This Master's profile is based on the 4-year programme ‘Advanced Rhythm’ but deepening and providing many more elements than the regular lessons. This Masters profile will be comprised of:

  • Two different options as to how to deepen in the material.
    Creative output.

WAYS OF DEEPENING IN THE MATERIAL

1) Option A (35 credits)

Individual coaching: Every week students will meet their coach to work on the student's project (30 minutes a week). Each student is free to choose the pieces to work on, in terms of style and aesthetics, etc. They are also free in how to use the coaching time: for example, students can choose to work on improvisation during the session, or learn and apply cell and motivic development to creation, whether improvised or composed, or any other idea they might have. There is no 'fulfilling' a particular style or aesthetic. The coach's role is to help every student in his/her style and choice, including how to broaden his/her style and choice with karnatic concepts and developmental ideas.

Deepening sessions: Sessions where the ‘roots’ of the material, as well as what other creators have done or are doing with Karnatic rhythmical concepts, will be listened to and analyzed within a musical context.

Following the so-called ‘Improvisation Ensemble’ each year.

Following the Advanced Rhythm composition class**** each year

****: Following the composition lessons does not imply that the student has to create through-composed pieces in a classical contemporary style. These lessons are meant for the student to acquire many more creative techniques that are not imparted in the improvisation ensembles, and students can apply it to their composition as well as their improvisation. Also, the student following the composition lessons is exempted from following the compulsory subject Creative Writing.


The credits distribution for Option A will be as follows:

-15 credits from the Ensembles,
-15 credits from the master electives of which 5 credits replace the following of the compulsory ‘Creative Writing’ (these credits will be allocated to the composition lessons)
-5 credits from the Individual credits (these are the credits and time allocated to the individual coaching –please see creative output below-).

2) Option B  (30 credits)

Individual coaching: Every week students will meet their coach to work on their student's project (30 minutes a week). Each student is free to choose the pieces to work on, in terms of style and aesthetics, etc. They are also free in how to use the coaching time: for example, students can choose to work on improvisation during the session, or learn and apply cell and motivic development to creation, whether improvised or composed, or any other idea they might have. There is no need to think of 'fulfilling' a particular style or aesthetic. The coach's role is to help every student in his/her style and choice, including how to broaden his/her style and choice with karnatic concepts and developmental ideas.

Deepening sessions: Sessions where the ‘roots’ of the material, as well as what other creators have done or are doing with Karnatic rhythmical concepts, will be listened to and analyzed within a musical context.

Following the so-called ‘Improvisation Ensemble’ each year

Following the so-called ‘Reading Ensemble’ each year ****

****: Following the reading ensemble will help the student to reinforce the main ‘building blocks’ of Karnatic rhythm as well as seeing various techniques from a completely different angle. Another goal is to increase the reading skills of the musician.

The credits distribution for Option A will be as follows:

-15 credits from the Ensembles,
-10 credits from the master electives for the reading ensemble
-5 credits from the Individual credits (these are the credits and time allocated to the individual coaching –please see creative output below-).

CREATIVE OUTPUT
As mentioned above, students will be coached individually in order to complete their project, whatever the nature of the project.

These pieces are not meant to be a workload added to what the student has to create throughout the year but simply a shift on focus on the material to be used for those pieces.

During the individual coaching sessions a special attention can be lent to working on cell and motivic development to enhance coherence while soloing or creating in general.

All pieces prepared in these two years can be used for the MA1 exam as well as the graduation recital

There is a numerus clausus of 2 students per year that can be accepted

Students interested should contact Rafael Reina: r.reina@ahk.nl

All students will start where they left it off at the end of their bachelors studies (i.e., if a student has finished the 1st year of the Reading, Improvisation or Composition approach, he/she will start with the material of the 2nd year, regardless the chosen option). New masters students can start from the 1st year.

During the 2nd year, the student can choose to go to India via the Jahnavi Jayaprakash Foundation (Bangalore) under the guidance of B.C. Manjunath, or the University of Mysore, under the guidance of Dr. Mysore Manjunath, for a maximum of 6 weeks in order to attain the ‘Indian’ view on the elements of the program.

Delen