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Playing During Speeches, and a Great Movie

by Matthias Grob


I cared for the sound of a 3 day conference about "integral sciences" - experienced people talking about everything between Homeoopathy, Permaculture, female power and UFOs. No religions, no proofs. Experiences, Faith - the old "new age" conspiracy, but a lot more mature and concrete. No one sold any truth, and mutual respect and tolerance was a strong base. The aim is not so much the survival of mankind (much less of certain groups or individuals), but the humble acceptance of necessary changes in the course of the bigger evolution.

The Work

I played most of the time, during the speeches! It's somewhat like improvising a sound track. For me, it's rather easier to follow a difficult speech while playing. The sound was mostly very low, and nobody seamed to care about what I played, but as soon as I stopped or got lost, the difference became obvious. Sometimes I was amazed how nicely the sound coincided with the speech or even prepared for a change in it. It once happened that I developped a theme while an ancient story was told and later in the speech, when that story was mentioned again, I already was back at that same theme! Loops helped a lot to simplify my work and the listeners reception, but I rarely had time to build a complex loop and often just used single notes to keep flexible. Pretty different styles were appropriate, between nature-like noises, romantic harmonies, intergalactic conflicts, softly animating rhythms and silence (also because I am not used to play 8 hours/day). Since I had my "magic box" set up in the corner of the stage, I was free to leave and come back when I felt necessity. Two of the speakers asked me not to play, because they felt it would distract from their subject. Others wanted me to play. Most agreed without comment.


At some point I felt like the "fool of the court". During the questions phases I did not play, but made "innocent" questions from my special corner. I understood I was doing little corrections in the energy flow. Its not so much about music, but about the perception of moods, a rhythm flowing between speaker and listener and about the experience to influence an experience.

Historical reviews and analytical subjects are much harder to support with sound than emotional or spiritual contents.

The flow of the speech (or the lack of it!) becomes more obvious through the parallel music and can be improved by the music if the speaker is receptive and speaks rather free. I would like to try to work together with a speaker.

No chance to do this work with prerecorded music!

Towards the end, people came to me, saying that I had helped a lot to keep the balance of the event and bought CDs.

A Marvelous Movie

By a nice accident, a week before the event, I had stumbled over a French movie on TV called "The Violinist" that ends with a brilliant Bach solo in some dirty underground, causing an old man to die in peace and poor people to gather around a fireplace, starting to share the little they have - this may sound ridiculous as I tell it here, but it makes a lot of sense, watch this movie!

I cried of deep emotion and understood:


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