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On the Convergence Liberation of Makam X

Hafez Modirzadeh

Published: 2011-12-07

Improvisation, by definition, fueled by the same creative energies that move life, and as a fluid variance on and constant trickster of form, embodies the subversive. As sound, this paradoxical force gives rise to the metaphoric renaming of the harmonic series as "Makam X," thereby coiling such intervallic gravity with musical and extra-musical messages: here, speculation on a "cradle-mode" leads to implications of the tetrachordal, and subsequently, the appreciation of shared principles among African American, Persian, Andalucian, and Filipino musical traditions. This inspired me, through several personal encounters that included masters Mahmoud Zoufonoun, Danongan Kalanduyan, and Ornette Coleman, to pursue the eventual convergence and consequent disintegration of such systems, seeking not only a drive towards shared source, but also the liberation from formal restraints that suppress shared empowerment. In consideration of all this, and in light of recent shape-shifting movements throughout the world, I present an omnivorous model for improvisation used towards the proposal of a Convergence Liberation Principle.

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Improvisation is, simply put, being and living this very moment. No one can hide in music, and improvising in music is to be truly in this very moment and being completely yourself, with all your qualities and faults. It is probably the most honest state for a human being to be in.

– John McLaughlin in an interview with Daniel Fischlin.