Project description

Transposing So What proposes four temporary structures for Edinburgh Jazz Festival which aim to celebrate and enhance the spirit of live music in Edinburgh. This involves the consideration of jazz improvisation, where musicians respond to changes in the music that they play to create an expression of the given harmonic constraints of the music. In this spirit, a tectonic system is borne which, acting as the musician, can be adapted according to differing structural, programmatic and atmospheric requirements in different locations.

The project thus attempts to transpose Miles Davis’ legendary Jazz piece, So What, using a new method of composition. In this case, the tectonic system plays an arrangement written for a unique instrument which is specific to Edinburgh, the Meadows. It works alongside the capabilities of this instrument in order to encapsulate an essence of the city’s rhythms in the new arrangement of the piece.

The four different structures created include an auditorium, a jazz bar, a box office and a recreational space, each composed of a scaffolding frame and panel system which creates a bustling attraction during the day, and a glowing ambience at night. The composition considers left behind elements found on the Meadows such as the Mason’s Pillars which commemorate the Edinburgh International Exhibition of 1886. In keeping with this tradition, the jazz festival structures leave behind certain elements which remember the festival and contribute to the busy life of the Meadows.

The four movements of the composition are therefore performed in a unique way, festival-goers can feel and see it, whilst the original arrangement’s spirit will live on in the live music organised by the festival which will be performed within.

Transposing So What celebrates jazz, live music, gatherings of people and the city in which these things take place.

Explorations in Rhythm and Location

Notating the first 16 bars of Miles Davis’ solo. Each element represents a corresponding instrument and the way that it is played.

This series of explorations aim to visually represent So What and consider how the rhythms and structures found in the music can be translated into an intervention in a specific location which expresses not only the music, but also the rhythms of the location itself. 

Visual Representation of the first 16 bars of Miles Davis' improvisation in So What
Visual Representation of the first 16 bars of Miles Davis' improvisation in So What
Exploration of the interaction between rhythm and location
Representation of So What according to explorations of the rhythms of the Meadows
Four potential forms for four interventions determined from rhythmic explorations
Location Plan
The Big Show

If you hit a wrong note, it’s the next note that you play that determines if it’s good or bad.’ Miles Davis

In jazz improvisation, musicians listen to each other and adapt the notes that they play in order to better suit the way that their fellow musicians are playing. In the same way, the position and design of these buildings must adapt to respond to the requirements of the location and function.

The success of the composition depends on its response to external significant factors. This is how harmony is created.

The composition must be written for the instrument.

Elevation and Section of Auditorium
3D Model of Auditorium
3D Model of Auditorium 2
3D Model of Auditorium 3
Photograph of Jazz Bar physical model
Photograph of Jazz Bar physical model
Photograph of Jazz Bar physical model

Florence Pond

Transposing So What: Four Tectonic Interventions for Edinburgh Jazz Festival
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