New directions in organ art by Willem Tanke

by Willem Tanke | Het ORGEL | Year 103 | (2007) | Issue 2

Willem Tanke New directions in organ art
Het ORGEL 103 (2007), nr. 2, 17-23 [summary]

The Art of Doing Nothing is the name of a research project that Willem Tanke is carrying
out for the World Music Research Group of Rotterdam Conservatory. It aims at improving mental and physical preconditions for musicianship by creating a good balance between performing, improvising and composing, with the help of analysis and research.

For the instruction of students, the following text is used:

At the beginning there is silence, which allows a good performing attitude to develop, with a calm, concentrated mind, a relaxed body and steady breathing from the lower stomach. With this attitude, improvisation results in e.g. a number of rhythmic patterns and melodies. Of these, the most interesting are remembered, recorded, or written down on paper. Gradually, after some hours, days, or even months, a certain structure will be developed, based on the composer’s judgment of the right balance between repetition, variation and contrast. At the end, the various improvisations crystallize into a composition. This composition has to be learned by heart, because the discipline of memorizing the rhythmic patterns and melodies is necessary for developing the freedom from which new improvisations can be created. This procedure has a certain resemblance to improvising and composing in, for instance, classical Indian and Iranian music. Brief compositions may be the starting-point for numerous improvisations that can ultimately lead to new compositions. The process is somewhat similar to the continuous changes that take place in any living language.

In accordance with this view Willem Tanke will demonstrate new ways of
improvising and composing for organ during the seminar “Organ Art and World
Music” in Rotterdam on 13/14 April, 2007.