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50:50 Online project present The Blank Canvas Octet Live on Zoom November 2020

50:50 Online project present The Blank Canvas Octet Live on Zoom November 2020 Image: P Morton using GIMP

50:50 Online project present The Blank Canvas Octet Live on Zoom weekly during November 2020

50:50 online is a `telematic` project, that is it is a live streamed event via the internet. The current platform is 

There is a schedule for weekly events during November  2020, so it follows the dates are

  1. November 4th
  2. November 11th
  3. November 18th
  4. November 25th
  5. Then its December, already

The regular sessions are for participants and project associates and three audicence members.
The september 9th session is available to the publi on demand via the video platform YouTube

The online sessions have been provoked by the current lockdown situation, but the thinking is that the online sessions will continue in a post coid-19 environment.
This project is rewarding and a success. It allow improvisers from around the country to meet. play together on a weekly basis.
Feel the potential!

About System 50:50

The Blank Canvas Octet is a project exploring free improvisation in music in a large ensemble context. It uses the ‘system 50:50` - where chess clocks are used to bring cohesion to the sound field which can often become cluttered. The result is a dynamic and shifting canvas of sound that allows small discreet sounds to be heard and deeper layers to be felt and expressed. An exciting project to participate in, to witness and to hear.

Charlie Collins, improviser, Sheffield wrote on system 50:50 “Definitely something with LOADS of possibilities - the reaction in the car driving back was unbelievably positive - no one could remember playing in a large ensemble that was so "open". The openness allowed me to play quietly, which meant the dynamics were incredible for an improvising large ensemble.” -

Another point of listening comes from Simon Ross, Macclesfield. `System 50/50 works well - it’s a really good way to get a group to play effectively without egos, virtuosity, and shyness getting in the way. It is democratic, inclusive, coherent, leaderless, focused, there is room to think and time to listen, choices. It is less competitive and more cooperative. Ends well.`

The octet, who are the players?

The Blank Canvas Octet during November 2020 will feature the following, more or less:

CLAYTON JACKSON, electronics and objects, Silverdale
NICK BRANTON, reeds, Liverpool
GARFIELD SOUTHALL, guitar, Chester
GEOFF BRIGHT, reeds, Sheffield
GILL WHITELEY, strings, Sheffield
LYN HODNETT, voice, Wales & other
SABINE KUSMAUL, guitar, Macclesfield
PHIL MORTON, accidents and treatments, Liverpool
DAN GOREN, trumpet, Chipping Norton
PAUL MEDLEY. clarinet, Oxford
CHRIS PARFITT, misc, Bridgend, Wales

Audience & ghosts

HOST ACCOUNT - improvisers online

A series of Octets will be made from the set list.  For example, were there to be twelve improvisers on the set list, four would sit out one set as a member of the audience and there would be three sets of improvised music. Everyone will play, but not necessarily in every set.

Event information:

Weekly on a Wednesday during November 2020 and for the forseeable future.

"Doors" 19.00 BST
Sound check 19.10 - 19.30 BST
Concert starts 19.30 BST duration 40 minutes maximum

An online participatory event hosted by the web application ZOOM,us
The regular sessions are available to the participants and not to the public on demand. Audience members (3) need an invite in the form of a clickable link
Once every six weeks the `concerts` are broadcast to the public using the video platform YouTube.

Information for audience members

Interested in just listening in, being a member of an audience?
let us know by completing the form below and we will be in touch

Information for `Ghosts`

The short story is.
If `free improvisation` is new to you or you may wish to engage discreetly with the Blank Canvas Octet you can be a `ghost`
A ghost participates in the session discreetly by muting their input to the session.
A ghost can interact with the live feed from the Blank Canvas Octet in their own space but not fill the sound field of the zoom performance.
Phil Morton writes, this an excellent opportunity yet to be tested for musicians who wish to explore improvisation whose histories and experience of free improvisation is thin, who are yet to acquire a composure in a free improvisation sound world environment. It can be experienced as a development process that can be added to or replace the practice of attending workshops. It is available weekly. The player can learn by `doing` . The availability of attendance is regular, frequent, it is weekly.

Alternatively: if the session is `full` an improvisers may attend: as a `ghost` or audience member as an alternative to the dissapointment of not attending.
System 50:50 is a simple process but sometimes simplicity maybe a challenge. Ghosting introduces all improvisers to system 50;50 in a safe environment. You can test and try system 50:50.

Information for improvisers.

if you are interested in this project as a participant let us know by completing the form below and we will be in touch
The target is for twelve participants in every session.

Please confirm the name of the event that interests you*
How would you like to participate in this event?:
Your comments
add your name to the contact list for this project and receive newsletters: .*
Word Verification:


An example, a past performance broadcast on YouTube on 30.09.2020


  • 00.00 Video starts at 00.00 with chit chat, skip this and go to
  • 03.00 That is 3 minutes when the formalities begin, and the concert starts soon, therefater

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