Improvising Music for the Screen – A Discussion with Mike Cooper by Professor Philip Hayward


“Mike Cooper’s approach to musical improvisation for screen media is one that draws heavily on his prior experience in European ‘Free Music’ improvisation and his collaborations with sound and performance artists. His musical improvisations rely less on careful synchronisation of motifs and sequences to on-screen action and more on creating musical themes and textures that weave in and out of the screen narrative (and its diegetic ‘logic’), creating a parallel sonic text with points of overlap and divergence. This serves to undermine the primacy of the visual narrative text in the performance (and the subservience of music to the pre-existent themes and moods of the former). Cooper’s approach, instead, offers a performance space and context where a (silent or silenced) audio-visual text is treated as the pre[-]text for a distinct type of audio-visual event where strategic intent and performer sensibility combine with circumstance and accident to create an unpredictable musical improvisation to image.” (from the text)


Professor Philip Hayward GradCertEd, MA, PhD(Macquarie) 

Professor Philip Hayward is an active researcher in Island Studies. He is co-editor of
Shima: The International Journal of Research into island Cultures -
- and is also international network convenor of SICRI: The Small Island Cultures Research
Initiative - - He has published books, journal articles and book chapters
on various aspects of island cultures and he has ongoing research projects in the Amami
and Tokara islands of southern Japan and in the south eastern Pacific.