The Plan

The task composing the events

If there’s something certain you want to happen – for a fantasy or an inner vision to become external reality – then have the choice of either waiting for it to happen based on its statistical probability, or planning and making it come about yourself.

Beginning – Progression – End

To draw up a plan, not only do you need to be aware of what you want, and which ensemble constellation is required to make the idea a reality, but – given the variety of artistic possibilities available – definitive decisions must be taken with regard to the temporal emergence of the desired outcome: Beginning – Progression – End.

Who – When – What

If a certain event is to occur within an otherwise freely acting group, it is necessary to specify who should do what, and when they should do it.

To accomplish this, on the one hand, the desired outcome must be clearly identified and communicated – including, if possible, the instructions for the action(s) leading to the perceptible emergence of the desired outcome – and, on the other, clarity must be created around who should perform these intended actions.


In the case of improvising ensembles, where the latitude for personal input is an important concern and an artistic need for the members of the ensemble, the task of the composer composing the events is to strike the best possible balance between the things that are determined and the things that are left open-ended.

Composing for improvising ensembles means: If something specific needs to happen, it must be identified as precisely as need be; the things not identified remain exposed to everything that is instantaneous.

This is how the substantive concern of a composer with regard to what absolutely must emerge, on the one hand, and improvisers’ desire for open-ended and indefinite spaces in which the art of improvisation can unfold in living symbiosis, on the other, can coalesce to form a clearly designed flow of fulfilling events.

The arrangement of planned events is the dramaturgical conceptual design of an artistic landscape for the interactive, free flow of improvised actions and reactions.

The impact and utility, in other words: the quality of the plan – the score, as it were – is demonstrated by its productive clarity for the performers and is made manifest in the degree of success in realising the desired outcome.


Outline of possible group configurations for the shared performance of planned events, based on the example of 4 independent players:

Theory & practice / The Plan © Norbert Stein Pata Musicc