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Re: PrePrepared vs. Improvisational Live Looping Performances

Rather like Zoe, I come at this from a classically trained background  
where I played everything straight from the composers music for about  
20 years! When I started some tentative improvisation it was in a  
group and not solo, which somehow felt easier. In that group I got the  
looping bug from Steve Lawson, but didn't feel confident enough in my  
own compositional/improvisational ability to go for completely free  

My solo gigs also tend not to be entirely loop based, I also play a  
range of classical and non-classical unacompanied violin pieces (Bach,  
Piazzolla and so on). I think this really adds variety to the shows  
and also allows me to keep my 'classical' identity, which is still an  
important part of what I do.

With the looping I have built up a load of arrangements of various  
pieces - Beatles stuff, Nirvana, minimalist things by Glass and Reich,  
folk tunes, and pieces written specially for me - which involve fairly  
complex pedal setups. There can be some improv within them (and  
usually there is) but I have to stick fairly closely to the 'script'  
to keep the loops working correctly for the arrangement. I enjoy the  
challenge of working out these arrangements and they go down well with  
audiences (so far anyway!!). Again like Zoe I want to win over the  
audience straight away, and for me that means playing something I know  
really well (I know - scared of taking risks! But there's always a  
risk with looping however well planned....), at least for the opening  

More recently I've been adding some of my own pieces to my sets, but  
I'm a long, long way from a totally free set: I'll probably never get  
there, maybe just a slight change of balance as I explore some freer  

Basically I really love doing the worked out arrangements, which  
always feel slightly different in every show, and I keep getting ideas  
for more pieces I want to arrange.

I'll even admit to playing the Pachelbel Canon in some shows (!). As  
it's originally written for violins (and continuo of course) it seems  
to work well. Also I play it entirely in the original form, ie. bass  
line and then 3 canonic violin parts (no blazing electric violin  
improvised virtuosic solos for me in this one!). Audiences tend to  
fall into 2 categories here: There are always lots who love the piece  
and come up to me to thank me for playing their favourite classical  
work. The second type come up to me and say "I'm so sick of that  
piece, but it was great to hear it done by just one person"!

Me - I quite like the piece anyway!

For me looping (and my musical career in general) has been, and  
continues to be, an evolutionary process: Nothing is out of the  
question, it's just that it may take me a while to get around to some  
things (although listening to some of the music mentioned on this list  
is undoubtedly speeding up the process - thanks!).

But you wait, if I'm still looping when I'm 90 it'll be a whole  
different ball game........

Best wishes to all,