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Improvisation as a creative process within contemporary music

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Graeme Wilson


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Derek Bailey’s now well-known claim undoubtedly highlights one of the fundamental paradoxes of improvised music. It is a universal and diverse form of musical expression, yet it retains a shadowy presence within the study of music from both a research and a performance perspective. This chapter focuses on the importance of improvisation as a particular site for creativity in music. We explore contemporary notions of improvisation in a broader than usual context (i.e. looking not just at jazz), draw out some important aspects of improvisation for furthering our understanding of musical creativity generally, and suggest that improvisation affords the opportunity to challenge musical and cultural hegemonies and develop new ways of collaborating and thinking creatively in music.

Publication metadata

Author(s): MacDonald RAR, Wilson GB, Miell DE

Editor(s): Hargreaves, D; MacDonald, RAR; Miell, DE;

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Musical Imaginations: Multidisciplinary perspectives on creativity, performance and perception

Year: 2011

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Place Published: Oxford

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780199568086