#55 Emergence and improvisation again: lessons from Frank Zappa

In blog #53 I presented an example of improvisation from jazz. The idea was that improvisation is a key instrument to facilitate emergence, to facilitate radical change and lessons can be learned from jazz music. Frank Zappa was an American composer. He composed and played jazz, but also classical music and he might be best known for his rock music as the bandleader of the Mothers of Invention.

Zappa explained in an interview the importance of improvisation for invention. He mentions creating ‘something special’, ‘unique’, ‘one-time only, ‘doing things that are literally impossible to imagine’. It is a performance that never happened before and will never happen again. That is exactly what emergence is about.

But how? Partly, that is related to the people who want to create the emergence. You need to have ‘the basic mechanical knowledge and imagination’. You need ‘spontaneity’. It is ‘me against the laws of nature’. You roughly know what the borders are (e.g. how many time you have to do it) and then you take the chance to go out there and make a mistake…. Interesting also is how you depend on each other (on how intuitive the rhythm section is that is backing you up).

In summary, emergence requires: knowledge; imagination; spontaneity; allowing mistakes and depending on each other!

See the interview here.

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