Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Thursday 19 April 2012

Monastero s. Maria Delle Grazie
, Farnese, Italy.


The Orchestra Of Crafty Guitarists V –
Special Performance Project
 - April 15th to 23rd, 2012

Foresteria Sorelle Povere di S. Chiara
Monastero s. Maria Delle Grazie
 - Corso Vittorio Emanuele III n. 68
01010 - Farnese (VT), Italy.


Rising at 06.15.
Morning Sitting at 07.15.

Two new faces at breakfast. One is a Crafty from Italy; the other is Dr. Mike, who arrived last night from Vancouver. Dr. Mike was speaking at a North American conference of -ologies, is jet-lagged el extremo. A bag of Earl Grey tea bags, specially acquired for him last Sunday morning in Bredonborough, helped lift Dr. Mike into his day.

Comments were offered on how to articulate? The Seven Assumptions For Work In The Circle are a good guide). Also The Guitarist Inside and playing with feeling (partly addressed in The Guitarist Inside).

A question was asked: Did anyone notice the difference between playing one bar of Eye Of The Needle “without thought” and playing the same bar following the exercise to strengthen our feeling? Many hands were raised, including my own. Isn't it astonishing, that music might be played without feeling? And what a difference when played with due attention placed on feeling?

Q:    When we play “without thought”, do we stop thinking?
A:    It is more like, we stop thinking about. The mind continues to hold the form, to hold the present moment of the piece / performance, but does not concern itself with (for example) the names of the notes we are playing. Similarly when we are speaking, we don't consider how to spell the words we are using or the grammar of what we're saying. We hold the intent of the communication, the intent is put into words, the words of a trained speaker spring to the tongue, and give form to what is being communicated. Most speech per se is instinctive. Very little thinking goes into this. That is, we're not thinking about the words we are using.

Other good comments.

Words of utility and necessity were offered, including the collection of money for bedding and towels provided by the Sisters.

A brief meeting with English Chris, followed immediately by a meeting with Director Nunez. Various subjects covered, including our today-visit to Saturday’s performance space and meeting the priest; the archiving of Soundscapes and Frippertronics; and the RF & The LCG: Live In Argentina (2007) shows for DGM download.

11.14 Guitar meeting with The OCG in one Circle of 32 guitars, beginning with the Seven Assumptions. Time was spent on strengthening personal presence; a sense of presence within the room and the Circle; and strengthening our feeling-connection to others within the room.

When ready, please begin. Five feeble minutes.

When ready, please begin again. A rich c. 15 minutes, undermined for me by determined, endless rhythm playing for the final part. When rhythm-playing is this defined and relentless, it pins music to earth.


The original soloist was a member of all ensembles. If Music is the language through which Love speaks to us, perhaps sometimes it's also the language through which Love tells jokes.

The movement of two guitars to two new seats; and Mrs. Moscow became Queen Vicious, Dr. Mike became King Vicious; each and both rulers of 15 guitars. The word Whizz was not used, but chromatic notes distributed with one sequence beginning on E flat, the second sequence on D flat. The instruction was given: Move beyond the speed of light!

It was very interesting to see how the Whizz, or the Movement Beyond The Speed Of Light, travelled through the full Circle; increasingly disregarding the humble carriers of the impulse; at first hesitating if the player were themselves hesitant, and eventually simply moving through and above them, regardless. Something like, remorseless inevitability carrying all before it, including all those in front of it if unable to respond in time.

14.22    Meeting at 11.50 with Hernan, Dr. Mike, Alessandro and Martin and down the steps to the street…


… and the short walk to the town hall I…










… our performance space on Saturday I…






The Brazilian priest is young and friendly.

The place is do-able for performance, although not as ideal as either of the two local churches: one with the nunnery, the other of the town. But our work is not known in Farese and we are fortunate to be allowed in here, so no complaints.

On our return to the retreat house, a pause along the way for cappuccini in the centre of town...


I had the strong sense that something is missing from the centre; as if once there had been a focal point, now the presence of absence.

Up the hill forwards I…




… and a visit to the wonderful church, part of the nunnery, directly below our ballroom.

Lunch at 13.00 with two excellent pieces by The Guitar Circle Of Europe. Director Nunez presented an outline of tomorrow’s work: preparing the performance area, and dress rehearsal at the same time as Saturday’s performance.

21.11    Tea at 16.00. Personal meetings beginning at 16.30.

T’ai Chi at 18.30. Luciano’s work has moved to a new level.

Dinner at 19.00. Most mealtimes on this course are characterised by performances. Superb playing by both The Others and The GCE.

Comments and observations were particularly interesting this mealtime, with reports of subtle experiencing.

Comment: Noticing is an hyparchic act.

The Whizz presented at this morning's meeting did not use the word whizz. The instruction was: Move beyond the speed of light! Tony G once observed that in physics research, faster-than-light speeds were theoretically possible but related to acts of will. Noticing always has a creative element, which is outside time as conventionally understood. In JGB’s terminology, creative acts belong to hyparxis, the third dimension of time.

Several comments around the table referred to observations of subtleties, that could be not simply or easily explained to those who have not had those experiences. Yet the experiences are readily and simply available, even to players of modest capacity such as us: like sensing the presence of the whizzing before the whizzing began; also sensing the Whizzing as if standing behind the Circle.

Someone who was not in the whizzing this morning will read the above paragraph and likely think: these characters have been away from home for far too long. This is also true.

A meeting of The Orchestra is called for 21.45.

22.46 The Orchestra meeting: in two concentric circles. A few words presented on The Guitarist Inside.

When ready please begin.
When ready, please begin again.

The second extemporisation eventually met the call: Let it go! in response to the endless rhythm-vamping that pinned all hope of music to earth. No room was allowed for ambiguity, the tempo pudding tempo. The words pinned to the board for The OCG III in Sassoferrato sprung to mind:

Loud, endless strumming = death.

Moving to a Whizz.
Seven times in the Outside Circle from King Vicious, Dr. Mike. Seven times in the Inner Circle. from Queen Vicious.
Seven times moving from the Outer Circle to the Inner Circle.
Then to standing in one full Circle with Queen Vicious in pole position, who led a whizzing promenade.

Rehearsals of the two performance teams are now underway.