Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Talya ten Brink

In Aleatory music an element of the composition is left to chance, such as “unstructured pieces consisting of vague directives, such as “Play for five minutes” or by being “told to arrange the structure of the piece” (Encyclopedia Britannica Online). Street musicians are temporal, ad-hoc elements of a moment in the urban landscape. The street musicians rearrange their stages as they respond to interactions with site users. An Asian man who played the Erhu in Westlake center reappeared at Pike Place market, and on my return to the subway I noticed that a two-man band took his place. Their reliance on human relationships means that they are “elements that set in motion rather artificial ecologies that, in turn, take on a genuine self-organizing life of their own” (Corner, 102). Within this framework, the musicians choose what they are going to play. I discovered that each musician not only had his own style, but his own personality that came through his music. When an artist exposes his art to a person, it is as if he is exposing the product of his soul. My camera captured the personality of the musician instead of the music, but one can get a sense of the type of music from my snapshots of the musicians’ personalities. I took photographs in Pike Place Market and Westlake Center: Pike Place Station, on January 16, 2010 from 1-3 pm. The photograph from UW Bookstore on the Ave was taken at 7 pm, January 16, 2010. Even if the street performers’ audience doesn’t pause to look and listen, their notes imbue the air, and settle into the passers-by, who subconsciously absorb the strange music into their errands and worries and thoughts as they hurry on. Music is essential to life; and in a city, street performers bring that music to the everyman. Street performers animate the urban landscape. They bring an element of chance into daily environment.

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