Exposition

Historically Inspired Improvisation - Improvising on basis of 19th-century music making (2019)

Bert Mooiman
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About this exposition

The average modern classical musician, the performer of music from the common practice era, tends to perform from scores only, and to treat a score like a text that should be converted into sound as precisely as possible. This is usually a one way process: without a score there will be no music. As a result of this attitude the musical languages of the common practice period have become dead languages, more or less like Latin and Ancient Greek, which are (with very few exceptions) no longer spoken actively but only translated into modern languages. More and more musicians become aware of the artistic limitations of this approach. In order to become, like musicians from the past, creative performers who are able to enter into a living relationship with the music, learning how to improvise seems to be a valuable means. The Royal Conservatoire in The Hague (The Netherlands) invests in ‘classical’ improvisation. An environment has been created which fosters the idea that improvisation is important for classical musicians, and a lot of experience has been gathered in teaching improvisation to those students. But what precisely do we mean with the word improvisation? And how exactly do we argue that improvisation is important for the new generations of conservatoire students? Improvisation by classical musicians is often referred to as ‘classical improvisation’ or ‘improvisation in a classical style’. These terms are not without problems, though. I would like to propose the notion of ‘historically inspired improvisation’ instead, indicating improvisation which uses thorough knowledge about music making in the past as a source of inspiration. ‘H.I.I.’ doesn’t necessarily aim for style imitations; rather, it works the other way around: integrating what we can use from historical music practices into our own creative music making. In this way, improvisation has the potential to fertilize all our ‘musicking’ (Chr. Small) – even when we play from scores. In my essay, a recorded student improvisation will be taken as a starting point. I will analyse and comment upon this recording, developing the idea of musical ‘loci communes’ which enables us to connect improvisation with the interpretation of a score. It is interesting to compare such insights with original treatises on improvisation, especially Carl Czerny’s Anleitung zum Fantasieren auf dem Pianoforte (1829). Czerny turns out to presume skills that are no longer self-evident to musicians of today, while on the other hand issues which are nowadays important are not addressed in his text at all. Drawing upon the theory of loci communes, I will work out an example of how I think Czerny’s book can still be a valuable source of inspiration today.
typeresearch exposition
keywordsClassical music, improvisation, music theory, piano
date08/10/2014
published10/12/2019
last modified10/12/2019
statuspublished
share statusprivate
affiliationRoyal Conservatoire, The Hague; Leiden University.
copyrightBert Mooimanb
licenseAll rights reserved
urlhttps://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/102206/755106
published inKC Research Portal
portal issue2. Royal Conservatoire Investigations


Simple Media

id name copyright license
153382 Thalberg BM All rights reserved
153380 senza tempo prelude BM All rights reserved
153378 preludes BM All rights reserved
153376 Prelude met tussendominanten BM All rights reserved
153374 incipit JJ BM All rights reserved
151593 incipits BM All rights reserved
150610 Fragment Dvorák Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
150372 Historically Inspired Improvisation (tekst voor RC) Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
150369 Brahms Unknown All rights reserved
150364 HOVO concert Brahms 1 (sel) Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
149990 P1000736 Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
149988 Foto Pleyel Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
149970 Jan Jakob Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
149957 Historically Inspired Improvisation (tekst voor RC) Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
148891 8-09_Five_Piano_Improvisations__No._1[1] Unknown All rights reserved
148889 Elgar Piano Improvisations Unknown All rights reserved
148885 Albéniz Improviseert 1 - kopie Unknown All rights reserved
148883 Albéniz Improviseert 1 - kopie Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
146160 Graf vleugel unknown All rights reserved
146156 Biedermeier Waltzes overview Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
131026 hans1 hb All rights reserved
130834 Improvised connecting prelude Pizzicato Polka - Hungarian Dance - copy Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130831 Improvised variations in El Choclo - copy Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130828 Improvised Connecting prelude (Destiny - El Choclo) (1) - copy Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130825 Improvisation with score - Vocalise - copy Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130822 Improvised sonata, fragment slow movement - copy Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130819 Improvised sonata, beginning first movement - copy Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130817 Time-fixation-diagram (explanation) - copy Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130815 Time-fixation-diagram - copy Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130811 Catalogue of ornamental patterns (dec 2014) - copy Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130808 Tekst afsluiting master MT voorjaar 2014 - copy Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130678 Tekst afsluiting master MT voorjaar 2014 Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130676 Time-fixation-diagram (explanation) Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130673 Time-fixation-diagram Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130433 Tekst afsluiting master MT voorjaar 2014 Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130426 Improvised sonata, beginning first movement Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130424 Improvised connecting prelude Pizzicato Polka - Hungarian Dance Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130353 Improvised variations in El Choclo Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130351 Improvised Connecting prelude (Destiny - El Choclo) (1) Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130349 Improvisation with score - Vocalise Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130320 Improvised sonata, fragment slow movement Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130318 Improvised sonata - beginning first movement Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130122 Ornamental patterns and instrumental technique v.4 Bert Mooiman All rights reserved
130116 Catalogue of ornamental patterns (dec 2014) Bert Mooiman All rights reserved

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