In the Aberrant Event of Musical-Philosophical Thought

Steve Tromans

conference: DARE 2017: aberrant nuptials
date: November 20, 2017
venue: Orpheus Institute, Concert Hall
format: in absence
keywords: improvisation

abstract about the author(s)


The event considered as non-actualised (indefinite) is lacking in nothing. It suffices to put it in relation to its concomitants …
— Gilles Deleuze, “Immanence: A Life”

…improvisation has little or nothing to do with communication and more to do with ensuring that the channels of communication are kept open and alive.
— Gary Peters, The Philosophy of Improvisation

This presentation brings together  live  music-making  (solo  piano)  and  spoken  word  to elucidate what I am calling the “aberrant event” of musical-philosophical thought. Specifically, it is concerned with exploring how the relations between music improvisation and a Deleuzian philosophical approach can perform a complex movement of interdisciplinary interrelation from which emerges (concomitantly) new knowledge and knowledge of the new.

Drawing on Deleuze, Bergson, Peters, and my own music-making practice, I argue that in what we understand as the event of performance (in any disciplinary field) there is a differen(t/c)ial movement of complex “becoming,” wherein the “eventness” of the event unfolding is transformed on account of the encounter between the temporal constituents of any unfolding event; to certain extents negating the newness of its perceived novelty, to others, creating precisely the required degree of novelty in order to enable the conditions for future events.

Embracing this notion of the creative event of musical-philosophical nuptiality (however aberrant), I further argue that the categories of music and philosophy, considered as discrete disciplinary fields, are themselves products of an emergent temporal movement: an event of musical-philosophical thought; an “aberrant” event without that which moves but which is ever in motion, immanently creative in its constitution of those “secondary effects” we erroneously take as transcendent givens.

about the author(s)

Steve Tromans

Steve Tromans is a Birmingham-based pianist and composer working predominantly in the disciplinary fields of jazz and improvised music. He has given in the region of six thousand performances at a national and international level, and composed over one hundred works for a variety of ensembles and music-making situations. Tromans’s Birmingham-Chicago Improvisers’ Ensemble project, bringing together expert improvisers from the UK and the USA, was featured on BBC Radio’s Jazz on 3 programme in 2013 and 2015. In recent years, Tromans has undertaken practice-as-research in improvised performance, giving mixed-mode lecture-recitals at a host of academic conferences/guest workshops, and has received publication in a series of music and performing arts journals and books. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in jazz at Birmingham City University.

info & contact


Birmingham City University, UK