Improvising New Consonance: Following the Subterranean Connections between North American and Italian Avant-Garde Collectives (1963–1976)
“Improvising New Consonance: The Subterranean Connections Between North American and Italian Avant-Garde, 1963–1976” is grounded in both music history and music analysis and explores the communities created around collective improvisation in the Bay Area, Rome, and Montreal through four case studies: New Music Ensemble, Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, Musica Elettronica Viva and MuD / Sonde. This research challenges the understanding of collective experimental improvisation as a genre, framing the phenomenon through the contemporary paradigm of “artistic practice as research.” This reading favours a broader understanding of experimentalism as a cross-generic phenomenon. The work is articulated in two interconnected and equally important parts to sustain my argument: 1. Using Actor-Network Theory, I examine what cultural policies were put in place within a Cold War and post-colonial context to support international exchanges among otherwise extremely localized experiences. This geography challenges dominant narratives about post-war music, normally focussed north of the Alps and on the US East Coast. 2. Building on Steinbeck’s work on the Art Ensemble of Chicago, I analyze the collective practices that allowed the groups to develop unconventional improvisatory responses. I discuss exercises developed to solve peculiar improvisational problems, and assessment strategies used to evaluate recorded sessions, linking this body of knowledge to the recordings we have to build an innovative analytical framework.
improvisation, collective improvisation, experimental music, avant-garde, 1960s, 1970s, Canadian music, American music, Italian music, cultural diplomacy, experimentalism
Bertolani, V. (2018). Improvising New Consonance: Following the Subterranean Connections between North American and Italian Avant-Garde Collectives (1963–1976) (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca. doi:10.11575/PRISM/32228