[Dixielandjazz] jazz and psychology

tito martino tmartino at terra.com.br
Tue Feb 25 14:42:04 PST 2003

Bill Hildebrandt stated:

<<<<<<<<<<The ability to improvise in music is similar to the ability to
create in any field of endeavor. Creative impulses, ideas,
"breakthroughs" etc. come to us from the subconscious mind, which as I
understand, never sleeps. Thus the subconscious mind is at all times
monitoring not only our bodily functions, but also every bit of sensory
information we receive thru our senses. This means that it is aware of a
lot more information that we are "inputting" than our conscious mind may
be aware of at any time. A good deal of this "total information flow" is
stored on our memories and is accessed by our subconscious minds as it
churns away, day & night, figuring our what's going on in the world
around us.

Great ideas, and creative improvisations, come from the subconscious
mind and we most of the time never know where the next note is coming
from (unless it is a rehearsed "improvisation".) The more music we have
been exposed to (i.e. the older we get) the more raw material the
subconscious mind has at its disposal to work with. Also, the more
sensitive we are to "listening" to the subconscious mind the more
improvisational capability we have. One can almost train one's self to
"listen" to the subconscious mind by paying attention to one's feelings,
one's hunches, suspicions, inklings, etc. The term "intuition" by the
way, is a term relating to one's sensitivity to one's subconscious.

Younger folk, especially students, have not had as much exposure to the
variety of experiences* needed to stock their subconscious minds with
enough material for fluent improvisation. (*especially OKOM)

Respectfully submitted, and apologizing for the length,
Bill (I'm no psychologist but I read a lot) Hildebrandt
the New Farmington River Royal Ragtime Ramblers
Simsbury, CT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

 Hi, Hildebrandt,

I agree. I'm no psychologist either but I studied for three semesters at
Jung Institut in Zurich, in 1988/89, wanting to be one; 
My final thesis was to be about jazz and psychology; considering the
four doors to psychic information, identified by C.G.Jung as being
Emotion, Feeling, Reason and Intuition.  

In short, I would defend and verify that every Jazzman has a four sided
psychological approach to the musical aspects of Jazz:
1) approach to melody is ruled by his Emotions;
2) approach to harmony, is ruled by his Reason;
3) approach to rhythm is ruled by his Feelings;
4) approach to improvisation is ruled by his Intuition.(as you said)

Melody and harmony in Jazz come basically from European cultural
traditions;  Rhythm and Improvistion come basically from African
cultural traditions.

This unique fusion of European and African cultures in America (I mean
New Orleans) in the beginning of 20th century gave birth to Classical,
or Traditional Jazz, or OKOM, if you agree. 

It's quite a thesis, indeed, but I never had time to finish.   

Tito Martino
clarinet, s.sax, a.sax,
Tito Martino Jazz Band
São Paulo  Brasil  

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