Questionnaire: Axel Dörner (2007)
1. Have you got any formal musical training, and what do you draw from it now?
Yes, I got musical training from early age on, I started piano lessons in classical music at the age of six at the local music school in the village where I grew up, and some years later a trumpet. Later I had a lot of trumpet teachers from each of them I learned different things which are still valuable for me.
2. What kind of equipment/instrument do you use, and what is you relationship towards it? What do you think lies behind your choice of the equipment/instrument?
I use a holton firebird trumpet, it´s exactly the perfect instrument for what I´m doing on the trumpet because it allows microtonal playing, also for my electronics i use Max/MSP software which is very flexible and continiously developing in combination with a special desinged interface called gluion (www.glui.de). The equipment I did chose is helping me to express my musical thoughts.
3. What is it that attracts you towards musical experimentation?
Musical experimentation as a first step is necessary for me to develop my ideas and realise them it leads me to results which I wouldn´t get without experiments, after the experiments I work with the results.
4. Why are you involved in improvisation, and how do you perceive it?
Improvisation is necessary for me because it´s a method which leads to different results than composition. You can not erase things in improvisation (like you can do in composition), this leads to a very different time perception.
5. How do you perceive the relation between planning and spontaneity in improvisation?
For me in improvisation it´s important to be open to change my plans at any moment if it´s necessary. Sometimes in certain kinds of improvisation I have to make very quick decisions, in other kinds of improvisations which are at a slower tempo it´s possible to plan my decisions more.
6. Do you “practise” for an improvisation, and what are your general thoughts on the idea of “practising” for improvisation?
When you improvise, do you use sounds that you’ve already “tried out”, and how much room is there for actual sound experimentation?
I practise different kinds of improvisation (for example jazz), I think it´s a good idea to practice musical ideas, but certain things you cannot practise alone, for this it´s necessary to play with other musicians or a concert. Usually I don´t experiment in a concert, but it happens that I play things which I have never played before, because of the inspiration from the other musicians or the environment.
7. How do you evaluate an improvisation? What is it, according to you, that makes one improvisation better than another?
The value of different improvisations depends on a lot of different things, it can also change with the time. Also my own perspective is limited. It happened to me that I liked recordings of older improvisations, which I thought were not so interestings at the time when they were made. It´s a question which I cannot answer in a general way, I only can say in each special case what I like in an improvisation.
8. When you are recording for a release, does the awareness of being recorded influence your playing, and in what way?
Sometimes it does, sometimes it does less. It depends how much I´m used to be recorded. But it´s comparable to playing to an audience, which is in a way different to playing if nobody listens to it. If I know that the recording will be released, I mostly have a higher concentration, because I know I cannot erase sounds I have played.