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Classical improvisers

Re: Classical improvisers
January 09, 2010, 11:53:50 PM
well, what  was hardly nasty. Even if you think it was, that wasn't my main point. The thread starter was enforcing the point how classical improvisation is superior to other form because it is apparently "structured". I was just chipping in my two cents based on actual study and experience of having 'improvised' music. The process during improvisation through all genres are essentially the same. It is a function of a player's aural ability and technical ability to respond to what is  being heard. that's all.

Re: Classical improvisers
January 10, 2010, 12:07:59 AM
well, what  was hardly nasty. Even if you think it was, that wasn't my main point. The thread starter was enforcing the point how classical improvisation is superior to other form because it is apparently "structured". I was just chipping in my two cents based on actual study and experience of having 'improvised' music. The process during improvisation through all genres are essentially the same. It is a function of a player's aural ability and technical ability to respond to what is  being heard. that's all.

The difference being pointed out is that classical improvisation is done so with thematic construction, and blues/rock/pop with consideration for harmony and key. A classical improvised performance would normally consist of the performer creating a theme, and then creating several variations and expansions of that theme in a manner that created some form of narrative. The variations would be related via rhythm and melody, and would be improvised upon on the spot based on where the idea of the piece carries the themes. Modern improvisation requires an extensive knowledge of scales, and can extend into an almost infinite amount of noodling through use of relevant minor and major keys, but it isn't so important that a narrative is established. In fact, there seems to be more of a focus in modern improvisation, especially in jazz, to explore interesting relations between notes; even if the relations are only interesting because they are uncommon. This song is a good example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3jhFfOUyQE. Also, as you said, modern improvisation is based on reacting to the music being played; thus why it only requires a knowledge of what notes one can play that would not clash with the overall mood (key) of the rest of the piece (although some clash intentionally in order to sound "original").

Re: Classical improvisers
January 10, 2010, 12:43:56 AM
"Also, as you said, modern improvisation is based on reacting to the music being played; "

no, what i'am saying is that it is the same with classical music is as well. I enjoy improvisations which have a more poignant bigger picture. I'am not defending random wankery and noodling based on regurgitation of muscle memorized scales and modes and what have you not. your ideal example of an improvisation , from what you've said, is like Paganini's 24th caprice? I don't know, that has hardly any narration to it. Narration does not necessarily mean variations on the same thing. To me , a good improvisation is where everything follows in the context of what happened before and where everything fits in to give a clear big picture.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71izserFcek

that is what i mean.

Re: Classical improvisers
January 10, 2010, 08:33:19 AM
"Also, as you said, modern improvisation is based on reacting to the music being played; "

To me , a good improvisation is where everything follows in the context of what happened before and where everything fits in to give a clear big picture.



I'd hate to be a yes man, but 100% agreed. When I was speaking of narration, I did not mean variations on a single theme, but I do think that relevant narration will be related to previous themes in whatever manner fits the idea of the piece.


Re: Classical improvisers
January 10, 2010, 01:58:23 PM
However, it's not like "improvisation" in rock, jazz blues:

(a) It's structured. The song has a pattern, and the improv must fit that, like not just rhyming but staying in meter (no rap artist does this).
(b) In addition to harmonic correspondence, there needs to be melodic correspondence.

This is far more complex than what popular musicians do, and more challenging. It is however harder to perceive the subtlety of, because nothing's going to hit you over the head with HAY THIS IZ IMPROVIZED like a totally random solo.

I have to ask you a question. I don't mean to sound  patronizing, but have you ever 'improvised'  any music?  I'am asking you an honest question.

Are you implying I'm incompetent to answer your post? Yes or no please.

I ask you this because,  You're making it sound like improvisation in Rock and Jazz is just playing some random notes or regurgitating the same licks over and over again. It would never work that way . If that was the case, the players would invariably sound like idiots. The improvised  'melody' that comes out has be a product of the harmonic (progressions, basslines) and rhythmic context. Yes, even in blues, the improvised melody does reflect the context in which the improvisation is going on. The improvised music is an outcome of what you hear (in your inner ear, head.. whatever) in the context of what is there to be improvised over. If you can't 'hear' what you want to play in the context, you can't improvise. Period. Improvisation is not about organization. By definition it is spontaneous,  but it has to fit the context in which it is being improvised.

Classical improvisation means making the improvised passages fit the structure of the work. There's a lot more at play, including song form. Jazz, blues, rock, etc. give you a space to solo or have a variation on a circular form. There is absolutely no comparison. I know you're proud that you can improvise rock, but it's trivial as an ability, and that's why you've got such an adamant, passive defense of your trivial sophomoric ability.

Re: Classical improvisers
January 10, 2010, 08:13:27 PM
Yes, you are incompetent to answer if you don't know how improvisation works. That's what I was implying. Once again, do you know how musicians improvise? If you don't, I find it really hard to take anything you say on this matter seriously.
Iam not saying that classical music is not more sophisticated than Rock. Ofcoruse it is. But improvisation in both the cases follow the same pattern and is carried out through the same process.
Go on, resort to ad hominem and tell me more about how I pride myself in  my trivial ability to improvise in the rock context.

Re: Classical improvisers
January 10, 2010, 09:47:23 PM
Yes, actually you have to care about the motifs you do and their correspondence in jazz improvisation.

The originality of jazz improvisation is the improvisation of structure itself, specially within a band: a glimpse at the saxophonist and now is his turn to improvise. The problem I found in this originality of jazz is that is very easy to disconnect from the context of the song by focusing in the individual abilities of players, if you have ever been in a jazz concert you can easily notice that each solo improvisation seems to be like a wonder alone, by itself. Classical solos, variations, improptus and cadenzas have certain limitations to not disconnect the technique from the overall work.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71izserFcek


That guitar player is really impressive. But being a guy playing on a chords sequence, hardly makes honor to the improvisatory possibilities of dynamics and structure that only a live band is able to perform. Of course, I don't like that Fourplay vibe on it, and that groovy feeling that makes people snap their fingers, raising the excitement on the fact that "he's improvising!"

Re: Classical improvisers
January 11, 2010, 08:19:07 AM
Agreed, impressive playing but my god did I get bored half way through. What does this show other than a whole lot of finger excersizes.

Re: Classical improvisers
January 11, 2010, 09:18:52 AM
Yes, you are incompetent to answer if you don't know how improvisation works. That's what I was implying.

You're incompetent to answer if you don't know how classical, structured improvisation works. Do you? Can you do it?


Re: Classical improvisers
January 11, 2010, 09:26:43 AM
I can bet my ass I can do it better than you think you know what it is. but so much for dick waving competition. You have no clue about the aural process involved in improvising , do you? .  Now answer yes or no please, are you a musician?

Re: Classical improvisers
January 11, 2010, 10:02:43 AM
I can bet my ass I can do it better than you think you know what it is. but so much for dick waving competition. You have no clue about the aural process involved in improvising , do you? .  Now answer yes or no please, are you a musician?

Please argue the topic at hand.

Present your arguments for what classical improvisation is, and what jazz improvisation is, and show us the difference or lack thereof.

No ad hominems please.

Re: Classical improvisers
January 11, 2010, 01:36:51 PM
Ok, here are some classical improvisations that I've found for those who wish an example. The first one is impressive regarding not as much as technique as in harmonic intelligence!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP9ZV-yjTdI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqU1pIVXpVg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rqTOcuvIOY (5:25)

MLK

Re: Classical improvisers
January 20, 2010, 10:36:13 AM
I'm a musician. Improvisation is mostly a scam. No one just plucks music from thin air; professional improvisers just regurgitate licks they've rehearsed to death, playing around songs that are limited to basic and predictable structures with cues that are obvious and simple. Structured improvisation is simply about recognising that whatever you play, a structure will be implied so it makes sense to go in with a plan (aim + context).

Conservationist addressed the point very well, hes qualified to answer as far as i can see.

Re: Classical improvisers
January 20, 2010, 11:41:59 AM
"professional improvisers just regurgitate licks they've rehearsed to death, "

ofcourse they have to have a bag of musical vocabulary to be able to improvise, but saying professional improvisers just regurgitate licks is just not  true. That's no more to the point than saying that when we have a conversation , all we're doing is just regurgitating the words and phrases we've internalized all over the years. Improvisation is a very aural based process in that you have to know what somethings sounds like in your head (or be able to sing it) before you play it. You have to have a competent relative pitch ability developed within you. I don't know what you're trying to imply by "plucking music form thin air". try this - listen to a chord progession and sing a melody on top of it.  Don't play your instrument, SING. Anyone can do that. If that is plucking music out from thin air to you then yes, they do pluck music from thin air. The hard part is being able to connect that with your fingers and do it in real time simultaneously. That's what a good improviser should be able to do.

Re: Classical improvisers
January 21, 2010, 07:58:26 AM
Improvisation is a very aural based process in that you have to know what somethings sounds like in your head (or be able to sing it) before you play it. You have to have a competent relative pitch ability developed within you. I don't know what you're trying to imply by "plucking music form thin air". try this - listen to a chord progession and sing a melody on top of it.  Don't play your instrument, SING. Anyone can do that. If that is plucking music out from thin air to you then yes, they do pluck music from thin air. The hard part is being able to connect that with your fingers and do it in real time simultaneously. That's what a good improviser should be able to do.

Yes, we know that -- and have known it for the duration of this thread.

Improvisation, like playing an instrument, is a basic skill.

There are then layers on top of that which differentiate the skill, such as the ability to play certain techniques -- or with certain complexity.

I don't think U2 could compose a symphony.

I don't think your average folk musician could pull off a death metal tune.

See how the basic skill turns into other skills! And that's what we're talking about here.

Do you find this message pedantic? Well, you insisted it be so -- you were the one who started assuming "we" didn't know what improvisation was at the most basic level, when we were talking about a level of complexity on top of that. This is how people can talk at each other and not convey meaning.