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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Meagan McGinnes at 8:06PM   |  3 comments
Robby Aceto- improv musician

 I am sure everyone has heard of a little silent movie called The Artist. The musical score in this film brought the picture to life. The growing popularity of this film within mainstream culture has expanded the somewhat limited view we have about what qualifies as a good movie. For most, a “quality” film means explosions, a good love story and some 3D glasses. FLEFF, with the help of improvisational musician Robby Aceto, is bringing back the idea of beauty within simplicity. And even though there may be no explosions, simple does not mean boring. Because there is nothing boring about improvisational live music to a silent film.

Improvisation is all about evoking a response from the audience. It is interesting to think that improvisation could be considered the utopia for music—if we are applying the definition of utopia as a state of being without guidelines or restrictions. And this is not the only way in which the idea of a utopia, or better yet a microtopia, applies to improvisational music and its process. Aceto states in his improvisational trio, the first thing they need to do is establish a common base for their understanding of the film. There has to be a respect for the wish and intent of the director. Once that communication has taken place and once that basic understanding is met, all factors will work together, even if perspectives and interpretations between the musicians are different. Because differences create a textural sound-scape that allows the pictures to come to life off the screen (and without 3D glasses, imagine that!). As I have said before, FLEFF is all about the texture. In the microtopia FLEFF creates, communication is key. Though we may all be attending FLEFF for different reasons and with different viewpoints, we all have one thing in common: a basic respect for environmental advocacy and art through film. All the other differences, the unexpected interpretations of our minds—or even of the music—add texture, interest and excitement. Something you can’t get from your standard, explosion-filled blockbuster film.

What do you think of the idea that the category of improvisation is a musical microtopia? 





thanks for your blog. the trio is called CLOUD CHAMBER ORCHESTRA. come to our screeni g on NANOOK. I have no idea what we will play...

Although I am a complete foreigner to understanding anything about music, I still have a great respect for its influence and totally agree with your statement that improvisation is indeed a musical microtopia. Whether we are speaking in terms of Academy Award winning films, like The Artist, or improvisational live music to a silent film, like Nanoook of the North, the audience remains engaged, inquisitive and aware of these powerful musical elements. And the best part about the music - you don't have to throw on a pair of glasses over your ears!

Robby- I will definitely be there!
Andrew- "And the best part about the music- you don't have to throw a pair of glasses over your ears!" I literally just laughed out loud! It is so true though! I cannot wait to experience more improvisational music FLEFF week.

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