The An Darach Sketches

from Leam Fhìn by Calum Macleod

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Originally written for my Jazz Quintet and premiered in a Spotlight Recital at the RNCM on the 16th November 2012 and reworked for harps and percussion.

The track begins and concludes with an improvisation technique called Comprovisation developed by Steve Berry. He says ‘Comprovisation as a workshop-derived piece relies upon anything heard and sustained is in some way intentional, fuelled by conviction or plain old enthusiastic enjoyment.

Generally a Comprovisation unfolds from a chorale-like opening, comprising sung or played sustained pitches. So an organically evolving harmony unfolds, the tonal or otherwise dissonant content of which will be a reflection (or sum) of the collective aesthetic of the participants.

The word was accidentally blurted out by a nervous young student back in 1992. Intending to say 'improvisation' he had of course imported part of 'composition'. I instantly loved the new word and appropriated it to use as a name for an existing workshop method.

The rest of the track is improvised over chord progressions and melodic segments. One of these segments is a 5-note pattern a bird used to sing repeatedly for hour after hour outside the house where I grew up, which is known as ‘An Darach’ or ‘The Oak’.


from Leam Fhìn, released May 22, 2015


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