Graphic Arrays For Musical Interaction


Adapt/Oppose is a modular graphic sign system I have developed over the course of the past years. It is based on a handful of basic signs - circles, horizontal lines, curved and dashed diagonal lines - and defines musical spaces for group interaction. Due to their specific nature, the signs can be combined in multiple ways in order to create complex structures. The system works by isolating two concurrent sets of binary oppositions: one set indicates the cueing in or out musicians and the other set indicates the function of the musicians chosen material - by either adapting or opposing a given situation.

In free improvisation, musicians often find themselves in overly complex situations. These require immediate analysis and decisions, control over material, reflection and anticipation - at once and in real time. By eliminating the need for the musician to decide at which point to start, and by defining a general mode of relation to a given musical situation, the complexity becomes significantly reduced. Thus the participants are given the opportunity to focus entirely on the remaining parameters such as the shaping of the actual musical material, articulation, dynamics, durations, etc. Despite that, they are still asked to make many decisions in the moment of playing just as they would in free improvisation.

Furthermore, this reduction of complexity allows for repeatable discreet sections and enables me - as a second order observer - to develop specific group versions of Adapt/Oppose together with the participants in a mutual process.

Adapt/Oppose has been performed by professional musicians, but has been also the basis for several workshops forbeginners or semi-professionals.

"Form not only is an important aspect in the latest music of Polwechsel, it is also essential to the work of Burkhard Beins. However, rather than being interested in organising the overall structure of a piece of music, he studies the decisions and actions that give rise to form. Since 2007 Beins has been developing Adapt/Oppose, a series of scores that define only the spaces for group interaction and have meanwhile been performed by various ensembles. Durations and timing of musical events are left open, as is the actual musical material, which has to be worked out collectively. The parameters specified in the score are: combination, direction and the order in which the musicians react and interact; the position in the structure where new material is introduced; the fundamental expressive principles of similarity and contrast. Beins' scores are neither indeterminate pieces nor improvisation systems but tools for collective compositions. Last but not least they reflect fundamental aspects of Polwechsel's work, for Adapt/Oppose directs the musicians' attention to combining two extremely different dimensions: on the one hand the full concentration on the detailed shaping of the singular musical moment, on the other, the participation of every player in determining the beginning, duration and end of individual sections and thus the proportions of the resultant form. As Beins emphasises, the mere constellation of musicians is a compositional element, since both the musical materials and personal styles of the players enter a process of mutual transformation."
- Mathias Haenisch, from his liner notes for the Polwechsel CD, Traces Of Wood

Performed Versions, Workshops and Presentations:

20.03.2007: Version 06/1, Maerzmusik, Berlin/D
Sascha Armbruster (sax), Johanna Hessenberg (sax), Sebastien Schiesser (sax), Marcel Schmid (sax), Markus Wenninger (sax), Nikolai Zinke (git), Burkhard Beins (perc)
Workshop Ensemble of the Masterclass 'Experimental Music' held by Sascha Armbruster, Burkhard Beins and Orm Finnendahl as part of the 3rd Summer Academy of Music, Schloss Königs Wusterhausen in Summer 2006.

17.12.2009: Version 09/1, ausland, Berlin/D
The N-Ensemble: Kjetil Brandsdal (e-bass), Bjornar Habbestad (fl, electr), Koen Nutters (laptop), Anders Hana (e-git), Matthias Engler (perc), Nicolas Field (perc), Morten J. Olsen (perc)

March 2010: Version 10/1, Club Manufaktur (Schorndorf) and Club W71 (Weikersheim)
June 2010: Kid Ailack Concert Hall (Tokyo), Float (Osaka) and Guggenheim House (Kobe)
+ Wien Modern (2010), ZKM (Karlsruhe 2011), Batteries III (Geneva 2011), Klangwerkstatt (Berlin 2012), Exploratorium (Berlin 2013), Klangspuren Schwaz (2013),...
POLWECHSEL: Michael Moser (vc), Werner Dafeldecker (db), Martin Brandlmayr (perc), Burkhard Beins (perc)

08.07.2010: Version 10/2, Exploratorium, Berlin/D
Liz Allbee (tp), Johnny Chang (vl), Antoine Chessex (ts), Chris Heenan (kb-cl), Magda Mayas (p), Koen Nutters (db), Morten J. Olsen (perc)

25.09.2010: Version 10/3, Umlaut Festival, Berlin/D
Pierre Borel (as), Antonin Gerbal (dr), Joel Grip (db), Sofia Jernberg (voice), Nicolas Lefort (git, mixer), Nils Ostendorf (tp), Eve Risser (p)

16.04.2011: Version 11/1, Batteries III Festival, Geneva/CH
Alexandre Babel (perc), Patricia Bosshard (vl), Jonas Kocher (acc), Rodolphe Loubatière (perc), Nicolas Masson (sax), Dragos Tara (db)

27.08.2011: Version 11/2, Météo Festival, Workshop Presentation, Mulhouse/FR
Workshop Ensemble: Mano Cazalobos, Gwenaelle Chastagner, Stephane Clor, Antoine Elias, Julien Grosjean, Sebastien Hermann, Sebastien Hermann, Sarah Jamali, Delphine Langhoff, Jeremy Ledda, Jacques Lopez, Ronan Gil de Morais, Moussa Moussa, Sebastien Muller, Keely Sigot, Marie Verry

01.+ 02.06.2012: Versions 12/1 + 12/2, Serralves em Festa, Porto/PT
Liz Allbee (tp), Antoine Chessex (sax), Diana Combo (turntables), Mário Costa (perc), Werner Dafeldecker (db), Joao Martins (sax), Eduardo Raon (harp), Marcelo dos Reis (ac-git), Jorge Queijo (perc), Ana Luisa Veloso (e-git)

10.12.2012: Version 12/3 Area Sismica, Forlí/IT
Sebastiano Carghini (computer), Attila Faravelli (electro-acoustic devices), Giovanni Lami (computer, transducers), Enrico Malatesta (percussion), Simone Marzocchi (trumpet), Nicola Ratti (guitar, electronics), Federico Robol (acoustic bass guitar), Glauco Salvo (zither), Luca Santini (trumpet), Massimo Valentinotti (guitars), Dominique Vaccaro (electronic devices)

2013: Recorded Version on CD, Hat Hut, CH
POLWECHSEL: Michael Moser (vc), Werner Dafeldecker (db), Martin Brandlmayr (perc), Burkhard Beins (perc)
released on CD: Traces of Wood

03.04.2014: Version 14/1, ausland, Berlin/D
GLÜCK: Burkhard Beins, Enrico Malatesta, Michael Vorfeld, Christian Wolfarth, Ingar Zach (percussion)

26.04.2014: Version 14/2, Plateforme Intermedia, Nantes/FR
Julien Grosjean, Julien Ottavi, Romain Papion, Florian Tossitti, Gabriel Vogel (percussion) and Burkhard Beins (tam tam)

04.05.2014: Lecture, Certain Sundays, Berlin/D

17./18.05.2014: Workshop, Neue Musikschule Berlin/D
Bastian Duncker (alto sax), Sam Gill (alto sax), Karin Johansson (p), Felix Koch (tp), Carola Lewis (fl), Julia Reidy (e-git)

17.01.2015: Version 15/1, The Now now Festival, Sydney/AUS
Splinter Orchestra: Laura Altman, Drew Bourgeois, Marco Cheng, Jim Denley, Joseph Derrick, Peter Farrar, Sam Gill, Luiz Gabriel Gubeissi, Melanie Herbert, Tony Osborne, Axel Powrie, Julia Reidy, Cecile Roux, Bonnie Stewart, Jack Stoneham, Jeremy Tatar

21.01.2015: Workshop with music students at Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore/SIN

30.01.2015: Version 15/2, The Zoo, Bangkok/TH
Kittipham Jambuala, Chamtima Kampanart, Kilinsuwanmorlee Kanatip, Marut Nopparat, Itsara Padungsak, Worapong Pansen, Woodtipon Phomlocluc, Ponpavit Promehoo, Pongsakorn Rattanapattarakul, Oranich Thongsuwan, Kamonpond Wongcharoenchor, Kasekskai Wongchayesilpa

07.02.2015: Version 15/3, Goethe Institut, Hanoi/VN
Nguyen Thuy Dung (tranh), Nguyen Thu Thuy (dan day), Nguyen Chi Linh (acoustic guitar), Nguyen Thuy Chi (dan bau), Pham Thanh Tam (objects), Nguyen Huong Na (percussion), Nguyen Huu Hai Duy (drums), Nguyen Van Viet (accordion), Huong Nguyen (objects)

2015: Recorded Versions 14/1-a and 14/1-b on CD, Mikroton, RUS
GLÜCK: Burkhard Beins, Enrico Malatesta, Michael Vorfeld, Christian Wolfarth, Ingar Zach (percussion)
released on CD: Glück

25.-29.1.2016: Workshop with choerography students at HZT, Ufer Studios, Berlin/D

18.05.2016: Lecture at HZT, Ufer Studios, Berlin/D

08.01.2017: Version 17/1 for 3 musicians, 3 dancers and electronic music interludes, Tactile Paths Festival, Berlin/D
Jadi Carboni (dance, choerography), Edith Buttingsrut Pedersen (dance), Roberta Ricci (dance), Saara Wallraf (violin), Michael Thieke (clarinet), Christopher Williams (double bass), Burkhard Beins (composition, electronic music)

23.-25.03.2017: Version 17/2, workshop with presentation concert at Sound Disobiedence Festival, Ljubljana/SLO