A line-up for a single performance of improvised music.


In different genres there are some fixed personnell spots to fill for a performance of a given kind, like string quartet in classical music (2 violins, viola, cello) or piano trio in jazz (piano, double bass, drums). In non-idiomatic music possibilities in that regard are endless, but considerations about with whom and on what instruments you will play is a key method of influencing your future improvisation.

You can make forming constellations a part of your game or have a challenging activity centered around it. Early games of John Zorn were mostly about constellations — they provided an algorithm of who should play with whom in what order.

Exotic constellations

An activity for experienced improvisers that revolves around constellations is to perform with especially challenging sets of instruments. This might mean instruments of the same type, with narrow capabilities or of extremely differing dynamic range.

Examples may include:

  • noisemachine + classical guitar + yodelling vocals,
  • 6 piccolos + 1 recorder,
  • drumset + jaw harp (unamplified), etc.

In the context of non-idiomatic music this activity may be a whole jam session formula.

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